While smartphones have decimated the point-and-shoot camera market, the emergence of GoPro as a $1 billion company has shown that there’s still an audience willing to pay for a device that can take great footage at big events or during outdoor activities like hiking or snowboarding. But for most people, a $200+ camera is overkill when smartphones are increasingly capable of taking great low-light photos and image-stabilized video.
For GoPro to be worth it, you have to regularly put yourself into situations where you wouldn’t want to have your iPhone out and exposed. CENTR Cam, a startup founded by former members of the iPhone camera team, hopes that it’s built a camera that can make headway in the consumer market by letting anyone capture everything happening in a 360-degree radius.
By combining footage from four 1080p cameras into an interactive, enveloping panorama, CENTR hopes to stand out from a field of competitors that still do what cameras have done for more than a century: capture imagery of whatever’s directly in front of you.
The technology has gotten interest from big players interested in experimenting with the next generation of video. FOX Sports, National Geographic, and DARPA have all partnered with the startup, developing cameras that enable more dynamic views of soccer matches or 360-degree night-vision footage of combat scenarios filmed directly from a soldier’s helmet.
In recent weeks, CENTR has even started a dialogue with Oculus VR, which wants to use the camera to capture footage for use in 3D environments. There’s no consumer model available now, but those interested can pitch in on the company’s Kickstarter, which has raised approximately $560,000 as of the time of this article’s writing. They’re hoping to raise another ~$300,000 in the next two days to bring the camera to market, so if you’re interested, now’s the time to get the word out.