(Phys.org)—A novel panoramic camera from Ricoh is under development and it is described as a step beyond compact and single-lens reflex (SLRs) cameras. Takaharu Asahina of the New Business Development Center, Ricoh, told DigInfo TV about the company's concept of an omnidirectional camera prototype. The camera shoots entire 360-degree panorama images with just one pass, just one click, and can then send them over to the user's mobile device, such as tablet or phone, via Wi-Fi. The camera has two fish-eye lenses, each covering 180 degrees.
Asahina said the Ricoh device can only take still photos, but its creators are interested in continuing the project to enable it to take video too. "We'd like to commercialize it, and make it a bit smaller. We want to keep developing it, so we can offer a version for consumers," he said. Outside Ricoh, viewers seeing the design have used words like "wacky" and "curious" but are nonetheless impressed with its abilities.
"When viewing it like a regular panoramic image, you can also see up and down. When you pull out from the image, it finally becomes a circle, and you can also look at it as a sphere," he commented.
The fun elements of such spherical panoramic photos and their easy integration within creative displays are not lost on Ricoh's creators. The camera is still in design phase; Asahina said not all of its features have been finalized. Although "the specs have not been decided yet," the Ricoh team is discussing the project "with staff at art colleges," he said. The technology, he added, could be presented as a "panorama ball" where the pictures are stuck onto the sphere.
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