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Ricoh unveils omnidirectional camera concept

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Ricoh unveils omnidirectional camera concept

An omnidirectional camera which can take 360-degree panorama photos has been revealed by Ricoh at CP+ 2013.

Ricoh used the perfect occasion to reveal an omnidirectional camera capable of taking panoramic shots, at the CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2013. Although it is still under development, the company says that the product may be launched soon if consumers react well to the idea of having a dedicated 360-degree panorama camera.

"True" 360-degree can become real thanks to Ricoh's omnidirectonal camera
Ricoh omnidirectional camera can shoot 360-degree panoramic images and then upload them on smartphones via WiFi

Ricoh omnidirectional camera is currently under development

The concept was welcomed by CP+ 2013 visitors who were curious to see how the camera works and why it is better than panorama modes or applications already available in smartphones and digital cameras.

A panoramic shot requires smartphone or camera users to move the device around and take several pictures which are eventually stitched together by custom software. However, the idea behind the omnidirectional camera is to take a 360-degree panoramic image in a single shot, which is quicker and easier to capture.

It consists of two fisheye lenses, both covering 180 degrees. The lenses will take a shot at the same time and the image is stitched together instantly, without having to move the camera around. Additionally, the device comes packed with WiFi support, meaning that the final photos can be sent to a smartphone or tablet for viewing, editing and sharing.

The images can be set to automatically upload on mobile devices, allowing users to share them on social networking websites in an instant.

Endless possibilities

This technology goes even further thanks to fisheye lenses. Because they are taken with such lenses, the final image will look more like a sphere photo, rather than a regular panorama shot.

Users can scroll up and down and if they zoom out, the photo will look like a sphere. The best part about this is that the image can be printed on a sphere using 3D printing technology. The so-called “panorama ball”, which consists of photos stitched on a sphere, may become a reality soon thanks to art college employees and students.

Ricoh believes that spherical panoramic photos can lead to “fun” results, therefore it is waiting to see how the public will react to the technology. If people like the omnidirectional camera, then the company will make it smaller, add panoramic video recording, and will commercialize it as soon as possible.

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Ricoh unveils omnidirectional camera concept