Just two years ago, betting on VR / AR was considered visionary, with scattered remnants of an ill-fated attempt to immerse us in a three dimensional world with quite frankly, a sub-par experience. 3D glasses would work if every household bought a 70-85″ TV, but the reality saw 32″ TVs being sold with 3D glasses.
Virtual Reality transplants you from one world to another and the real money lies in finding the next YouTube, a website that redefined Internet as we know today. Numerous companies rode the coattails of small Silicon Valley startup that got swallowed up by Google. Red Bull and GoPro both based their marketing / business model around video content on YouTube, and the new revolution might be at the gates.
One such competitor is HumanEyes Technologies, a American company from Denver, Colorado – developers behind VUZE, a turn-key platform for stereoscopic 360 degree video with a combination of hardware (camera, VR glasses and studio software). The company just unveiled final specifications of their Vuze Virtual Reality Kit (VRK). Packing no less than eight Full HD Cameras (up from four seen in the prototype), this will probably one of most hardware specc’ed out products on the market.
Vuze Virtual Reality Kit packs in a compact camera (see the gallery above), while the software suite enables seamless stitching and uploading your VR content to popular social media platforms.
“We are excited to be taking orders of VUZE and believe it will help fuel the creation of immersive content, something all VR platforms are trying to encourage,” said Shahar Bin-Nun, CEO HumanEyes Technologies. “Current VR cameras either require advanced editing skills or in the case of other 3D solutions, demand Hollywood type budgets. With VUZE, we are democratizing VR content creation and putting it in reach of everyday consumers.”
What separates HumanEyes Technologies from a lot of other players on the market is their engineering background. The company created more than 70 patents in the field of human vision. Starting its way from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel – the company received venture capital backing and moved to Colorado, US. Their leadership and engineering team includes people such as Benny Landa, inventor of digital printing, and Prof. Shmuel Peleg, one of main drivers that made Israeli startup scene so dynamic.
Now, potentially the best part of the whole deal is the price. HumanEyes claims that in terms of quality, they can compete against OZO from Nokia, Facebook Surround 360 or Google Jump. Given the massive difference in pricing, this is a very, very bold claim.
- $60,000 – Nokia OZO
- $30,000 – Facebook Surround 360
- $15,000 – GoPro Odyssey
- $799 – Vuze Camera
- $399 – 360fly
- $360 – Samsung Gear 360
As you can see, the spread could not be more different. Nokia has the most expensive VR product on the market but also offers significant discounts and a pilot program for content creators. Facebook is more of a sandbox experience, but offers a unified camera (like Nokia), with up to 8K per eye output. GoPro is the biggest ‘hack’ of the bunch, with 16 GoPro Hero4 Black Edition cameras designed to work in sync. This is also probably the most difficult product to work with (16 memory cards, 16 USB cables?). 360fly 4K camera gathered a lot of funding from investors, but there is a dilemma how can a single camera with a lens achieve better results than a multi-camera setup with high-quality lenses.
As such, market for the middle-of-the-road companies such as HumanEyes Technologies might be open. Deploying eight HD cameras delivers 16.6 million pixel resolution, which is then developed using Vuze Studio application and final output is a 4K stereoscopic video. For a first generation product, this might be a very interesting and not too expensive way to tap into creation of stereoscopic, virtual reality videos.