The curvy Tamaggo 360-imager will allow people to produce fully navigable HD 360 degree images, winning an honoree for digital imaging at the 2012 CES Innovations Awards.
If you have ever visited a hotel website you may have ‘looked around’ a room using your mouse, or gone on a ‘virtual tour’. This new camera will make such imaging possible without specialist skills.
“The Tamaggo experience is so new that it goes beyond what consumers conceive of as photography today,” said former Polaroid executive and now Tamaggo CEO James Ionson. “It’s so new that we came up with a term to describe the process of producing images with the Tamaggo, and that’s Tamaggraphy,” he continued.
“With patented 'ImmerVision Enables' panomorph technology, the ergonomically designed 14-megapixel Tamaggo 360-imager goes well beyond the 360° options in today’s consumer marketplace,” said Tamaggo Founder and President Jean-Claude Artonne.
“When viewing a Tamaggraph on a computer, tablet, smartphone or other compatible device,” said Artonne, “you can move around and look at different details within the image – seeing what was above, below or even behind you as the shot was taken."
The Tamaggo will offer four modes – Sky 360°, Ground 360°, horizontal panoramic/vertical panoramic and internal position sensors will “know” if the user is holding it to capture 360º or horizontal/vertical panoramic images.
Like traditional cameras, the Tamaggo features a timer function. Combined with the integrated stand, users can take a 360 degree image of themselves. Users can also extract individual pictures from the data to create traditional snaps.
The Tamaggo takes the image in one click unlike the process of using a stitching tool like Microsoft Photosynth where moving objects between each shot can cause problems. Instead of using mirrors and fisheye lenses, the Tamaggo camera uses a patented optic technology that combines 360° panomorph lenses and immersive software algorithms to enable 360° playback online via the freely downloadable Panomorph Player. The camera’s files are highly compatible with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
It features a 14MP sensor to allow for zooming as well as a 2” diagonal LCD touch screen.
The Tamaggo is scheduled to be available in the second quarter of 2012, priced at under $200.
Interestingly, it includes WiFi suggesting it could be used for remote 360 degree surveillance via the Internet. Another possible application is Google Earth Streetview interiors. Google are already offering 360 degree building interiors as part of its StreetView project but currently limit the service to Google approved photographers (businesses can apply here). In a similar way to how user generated Panoramio images and 3D Sketch Ups highlight areas on Google Earth, it would be interesting if Google were to open up the service to user generated 360 degree StreetView interiors.
Now the megapixel race appears to have slowed down, camera companies appear to be looking towards other innovations to excite the public. Despite the public’s apparent lack of interest in user generated 3D, several 3D cameras have been launched such as the Fuji W3, Sony Bloggie 3D, Aiptek 3D i2/iS2, the Sony NEX-5 with its 3D sweep mode and the SVP DC-3D-80. This year Panasonic will be launching a Lumix twin lens 3D compact camera.
Start up company Lytro has recently launched a camera that captures the entire light field, which is all the light traveling in every direction in every point in space. That allows people to adjust the focus after an image has been taken (Visit the website for interactive samples).
Of course, consumer digital cameras are losing the battle to smartphones, so perhaps one day 360 degree photography will be licensed to handset manufacturers.
Whether any of these innovations will evolve out of ‘gimmick’ status remains to be discovered but things have certainly moved on from the first digital camera invented by Kodak in 1975….
The LOMO Panoramic 360 degree camera is available from Firebox
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