Immersive Video for All

surround-360-insideYou wouldn’t happen to be in the market for a video camera that films in 360-degrees and produces video that can be viewed in VR headsets and on any number of other screens you might have handy? You are? Well, good news. At the F8 conference for Facebook developers, the company announced the Surround360. Wired Magazine describes it:

Built from off-the-shelf hardware worth roughly $30,000, this black circular camera—with its 17 evenly spaced lenses—looks kinda like the flying droid that descends onto the ice planet at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back (though it lacks those insect-like dangly legs). Drawing images from all 17 of those lenses, it produces 360-degree spherical video

$30,000 a bit out of reach? No worries. The company is giving away both the hardware designs and the software. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg looks at the Surround360 as a tool for community building noting, “the best way to advance the technology is to work on it as a community.”

Facebook plans to share the plans for the technology this summer on GitHub.

Read more at Wired Magazine

 

Making Public Data Accessible

We’re living in an age of open data. Every day, new swaths of information are made available to us in any number of ways from crime statistics to marriage rates. And while it’s important that this information is available, what does it really mean for the public? If the available data then requires a trained eye to decipher and then tell the stories behind the numbers, is that data really public? It’s available, yes, but available and accessible are wildly different things.

Enter DataUSA.

DataUSA, a project housed at the M.I.T. Media Lab, is providing the public with comprehensive state data and accompanying visualizations on an open-source platform:

Cesar A. Hidalgo, an assistant professor of media arts and sciences at the M.I.T. Media Lab who led the development of Data USA, said the website was devised to “transform data into stories.”

Continuing reading at New York Times