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Facebook open sources 360 Surround camera with Ikea-style instructions

ICE Graveyard 26/07/2016 Josh Constine

Facebook needs you to fill its News Feed, Oculus Rift, and Gear VR with 360 content. So today it put all the hardware and software designs of its Surround 360 camera on Github, after announcing the plan in April. Thanks to cheeky instruction manual inspired by Ikea’s manuals, you can learn how to buy the parts, assemble the camera, load the image-stitching software, and start shooting 360 content.

Essentially 17 cameras on a UFO-looking stick, the 360 Surround camera can be built for about $30,000 in parts. The 4-megapixel lenses can shoot 4K, 6K, and or 8K 360 video, and fisheye lenses on the top and bottom remove the blindspots.

“We set out to open source this and accelerate the development of this ecosystem and capturing 360 video. We believe it’s the first camera to be fully open sourced end-to-end” said Facebook’s director of engineering on the project Brian Cabral. “Build it yourself, modify it, make different versions — that’s the goal. We wanted to connect the world with rich, new media. This is how we can get there faster.”

As with Facebook’s other big open source initiatives like the Open Compute servers, React JavaScript library for building interfaces, it hopes developers customize the designs to their needs, but also contribute suggestions for improvements that it can share with the community.

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