Facebook's Surround 360 Promises An Immersive, Interactive VR Experience

By Grace Anilado , Apr 20, 2017 04:30 AM EDT

In 2016, Facebook unveiled Surround 360, a video camera that aimed to capture images with a 360-degree view. They released the blueprints online and made it an open-source enterprise. But this year, the social media company teamed up with hardware manufacturers to create actual products and bring them to the VR market.

That is why Facebook came up with two upgraded versions of 2016: x24 and x6.The bigger model, x24, is so named because of the 24 cameras fitted into its spherical body. It is vastly different from last year's saucer-like design that carried 17 cameras. Meanwhile, the x6 is a more portable Surround 360 with just six cameras around its orb.

The new Surround 360 models are also capable of capturing 8K quality images with six degrees of freedom (6DOF). Whereas Facebook's 17-camera array of 2016 allows a user to gaze at an image like they would at a painting, the latest Surround 360 is more immersive. Within the virtual reality, a person could move their body in different directions. It offers depth and freedom of motion like another VR camera, only with real-life imagery, The Verge writes. And a person wearing the tech could even do a variety of actions like moving their shoulders, leaning forward to objects and walk around the scenery.

A lot of thinking went into making Facebook's latest VR tech and it's likely to demand a handsome sum in the market. In fact, CNet points out that the 2016 Surround 360 set back a consumer $30,000, an eyebrow-raising amount for the ordinary user. However, Mark Zuckerberg and co. refused to reveal an estimate of their new batch of 6DOF set-up.

Though Facebook promises great things with their Surround 360 technology, they still have a lot of work to do. Compared with VR movies from the likes of Intel, their imagery was blurry and not as smooth. Nevertheless, the Menlo Park company has until the end of the year to refine their x24 and x6 orbs.

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