The Orbit 360
Panoramas have the ability to capture the beauty of our surroundings in a way the traditional photo cannot. With the swipe of a finger on most smartphones, you can suddenly capture that wide-angle view with a panorama photo. With virtual reality (VR) headsets transforming panoramas into 360 degree photographs, you can now fully immerse yourself in your captured surroundings. The everyday photographer is eagerly seeking their spot in this space.
The other day I came across the Orbit 360. The Orbit 360 is a product launching on Kickstarter. It allows you to take 360-degree panoramas and lets them be viewed on the spot with an accompanying VR viewer. However, what struck me about this product is that it is relatively affordable. Similar products on the market can cost hundreds of dollars.
Orbit 360 refers to a spherical base that rotates with Bluetooth technology through a handheld remote. Attached to the base is a clamp that will hold your smartphone in portrait mode. Additionally, a rotating base allows you to capture a perfect panorama with the DSCVR smartphone app. The DSCVR app creates a wider panorama and optimizes it for 360-degree viewing. The clamp that holds your smartphone is designed for any phone with up to a 6-inch display. Fortunately, that means it is compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones.
Of all these features, I particularly like the integration of a remote. It allows you to keep yourself in the frame of a photo, creating the opportunity to take amazing selfies. Consequently, it eliminates the hassle of holding a smartphone in your hand and trying to rotate 360 degrees on your own, all while trying to keep the phone on a level plain to prevent distorting the picture.
The Orbit 360 clamp allows you to take panoramas at three different angles. You can do this easily by tilting your phone 45-degrees up or down. The third angle is 90-degrees, the default placement. Tripod mount threads are located at the bottom. This will allow you to easily mount it to most tripods to capture panoramas at different more steadily. Fortunately, the Orbit 360 is compact and lightweight, making it easy to travel with and toss in a backpack so it’s available wherever you are. The remote fits into a clamp for easy storage.
Interestingly, the real technology behind the Orbit comes from the DSCVR smartphone application, which does all the work behind turning your panorama into a 360-degree picture. The app allows you to capture, edit, view and share virtual reality anytime, anywhere. However, it is still in development. It will be available via the App Store and Google Play.
But what good is a 360-degree panorama if you cannot view it on the spot? You can view pictures captured with the Orbit 360 with one of two accompanying VR viewers. Fortunately, both are available for purchase, the Flip 360 and the Pocket 360. Of course, any VR headset will ultimately allow you to view these 360-degree photos.
However, I am a particular fan of the Flip 360 viewer. It functions as a smartphone case with a builtin VR headset. You simply press a button and the spring-loaded viewer flips out from behind the phone. The Pocket 360 is a smaller version of a VR viewer. Additionally, it uses folding panels to compact down so it fits in your pocket. It comes with a handy protective slipcase for safe storage.
How do I get one?
As mentioned, the Orbit 360 is available on Kickstarter here. The campaign has already exceeded its $20,000 funding goal. You can buy each item (Orbit 360, Flip 360 and Pocket 360) individually or through a bundled package. The Mega Bundle, which includes the Orbit 360 and both VR viewers, can be yours with a $110 pledge. The Pocket Bundle, which comes with just the Orbit 360 and Pocket 360, can be purchased for just $90. Fortunately, all three products will ship in November 2016, just in time for the holiday season.
What do you think of the Orbit 360 and virtual reality technology in general? Would this product be of interest to you? Can you see yourself using it in your life? Let us know in the comments.