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Cardboard Camera is the 360-degree photos app from Google that lets users turn in a circle to capture a panoramic 3D photo that is best viewed in VR.
The app debuted on Android in December but today it was released for iPhone.
The app also received an update recently on Android. You should definitely give it a try as it’s essentially one of the easiest and most available methods by which you can capture a photo to view in a VR headset. The app captures photos in 3D and can also record audio, so if you open up the image in a Cardboard viewer you can enjoy the ambiance of whatever environmental sounds were happening during the capture.
There’s a major effort by Google and others to make the creation of content you can view in VR more accessible to a larger group of people. While Samsung released the Gear 360 camera and the Ricoh Theta S is a tiny little panoramic capture device, the markets for specialized cameras is relatively small. Virtually everyone on the planet can use a smartphone, so there’s no place to make a bigger impact on how everybody everywhere captures reality than when a new piece of software is released for a phone. We’ve been watching the development of iPhone closely, for instance, because Apple has been making mixed reality-related acquisitions for years. That said, none of those purchases have become visible parts of the company’s phones. The latest iPhone 7 is said to be capable of extracting depth information from traditional photos, though, which could potentially enable capture apps that are even better than Cardboard Camera.
We have yet to take the iOS version of the app for a spin — if you’ve tried it please share in the comments your thoughts. The app is said to also be compatible with iPad, but is spinning in a circle holding a big tablet really the person you want to be?
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Ian Hamilton is a journalist based in Arkansas and managing editor at UploadVR. He’s covered VR full-time since 2015 as well as Oculus VR since 2012. He is interested in the people creating VR and AR hardware and software, their motivations, and how that work affects the people who spend significant time in simulations. If you have information to pass along you can send him a direct message on Twitter, Facebook or via email.
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