But most 360-degree cameras on the market require a little bit of tech knowhow, whether it’s pairing with your phone successfully, or figuring out how to get the media onto the internet.
The LyfieEye is a new, tiny plug-in camera from Santa Clara startup eCapture, that promises to lower the barrier as far as possible.
For one, it plugs straight into your phone. This means no batteries to charge, and no finicky Bluetooth pairing.
At around $150, it’s also one of the more affordable options.
During a hands-on demo, we were impressed that the stitching between the two front and back cameras appeared reasonably seamless. Its HD picture quality isn’t as sharp as some of the higher-end competitors, however, but will be sufficient for a Facebook Live.
The LyfieEye app shows a live view of what the camera’s filming, and allows you to compress and post your creations directly to your social network of choice when you’re done.
The app also allows you to trim your videos, but a future update may allow you to limit the scope of filming from the current 360-degrees to a narrower view, said Sherwayn Tan, eCapture’s vice president. “Sometimes you want to film everything but yourself if you’re camera shy,” he said.
The only disappointment? The LyfieEye is Android-only. Tan explained that Apple has more stringent requirements for third party hardware, especially for those that draw power from the device. It would be several more hoops to jump through for the camera to be compliant with iPhones, so eCapture decided to just focus on Android.
The first batch of LyfieEyes are boxed and ready to ship to its Kickstarter backers. The company’s crowdfunded campaign raised $53,957 — twice of its $25,000 goal.
The camera is also available for order online, and eCapture is considering eventually putting it on retail shelves in cities in Asia and North America.
The LyfieEye represents the first commercialised product for eCapture, which also has offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Tan said it’s interested in developing 3D depth-sensing photo technology in future. While the scene is still nascent, there could be early demand from the design industry for cameras that allow you to digitally model an object, so you can 3D print a replica instantly.