360fly Pushes Into Virtual Reality Sports And Gives A Sneak Peek At Its 360-Degree Camera Drone

The 360fly camera, a small, sturdy ball with panoramic views we first discovered at CES 2014, is back again and buddying up with sports brand BRG to bring us live or recorded, 360-degree, stitchless, 4k video for sports enthusiasts – and with all that, a plan to push into virtual reality.

GoPro has its own spherical solution, with 4k recording capabilities for those live-action shots and Kodak’s PixPro aims to do the same.

GoPro’s device sticks up on helmets and has the potential to catch on twigs and leaves during the shot. However, Giro and Bell – both BRG brands – will embed these “all seeing” 360fly cameras into their sports helmets to capture live or playback 360-degree video for use with Google Cardboard or an interactive app on an iPad or smartphone.

Imagine getting panoramic video from a snowboarder rolling down the alpine wilderness, taking a leap off a high ledge and into the fresh snow below, and bringing that continuous, all-angles view to the world, live in interactive video or virtual reality.

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360fly also gave the TechCrunch crew a sneak peek at a 360-degree-capable drone with top and bottom single lens cameras affixed for video from every angle – something the company has been hush on so far. Interestingly, GoPro recently introduced Karma, a drone rumored to be 360-degree capable and VR ready, too.

GoPro’s stock plummeted late last year with the introduction of better smartphone cameras. Some have speculated that a 360-degree drone could be the ticket to getting it back in the game – though 360fly’s drone might just beat it there.

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360fly’s head of content Andy Peacock didn’t want to say too much about the drone but did speak with TechCrunch about the new BRG partnership and camera capabilities. He also showed off an upgrade to the app that lets you adjust camera brightness and other features for better viewing.

The new advanced 360fly camera features include:

  • Front-facing mode – for when you don’t want a 360-degree view for some reason.
  • Time-lapse mode – ability to select 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60-second shutter intervals.
  • Motion and auto-detection mode – automatically records when there is movement or sound.
  • Accelerometer activated record mode – starts recording when you shake the camera.
  • Telemetry – track your location, altitude, and speed, then overlay that data on your video if you want.
  • One-push button color coding – additional color-coded lighting around the OnePush button and bottom of the mounting dock.

The camera’s 360-degree surveillance ability also includes:

  • Autopilot tracking – uses machine learning to track desired subjects/objects through the entire 360-degree field of view.
  • Collision avoidance alerts – helmet wearers will be told if something dangerous is coming up behind them.
  • A highlight reel – the camera will automatically edit and compile what it deems most interesting.

Each camera will retail for $499, up from the original $400 sold at Best Buy. Check out the video interview with Peacock above to see the new 360fly balls and get a good sense of what the camera and new helmets are capable of.

CES 2016