Facebook Releases Open Source Software For Its Surround 360 Camera

But the catch is you'll have to build your own hardware to use it

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Facebook's Surround 360 camera
Facebook’s Surround 360 camera Facebook

From the day that Facebook announced its 360-degree camera, the Surround 360, it promised that the project would be open source. Today, they delivered — sort of.

The Surround 360 camera, which was announced in April, is not and will not be commercially available. Facebook engineers estimate that building the camera–which contains 17 high-resolution cameras–on your own costs $30,000.

If you have that kind of cash, time, and energy, you can head over to GitHub to learn how to put the camera together, install the software program, and fix either if they don’t work properly. Chris Cox, the Chief Product Officer of Facebook, posted this video to help walk you through that process. “Piece of cake,” he says.

Facebook is a huge hub for this kind of content, and they are doing 360-video and virtual reality better than most right now. Facebook’s motive in this project seems to be improving upon the high resolution 360-degree and VR content it is already very capable of making, especially since they’re now seeing some competition from Google in the VR world.

Although Surround 360 is a mighty expensive DIY project, the availability of the software opens the door for the savvy inventors in the world to develop more economical versions of the camera and figure out how to make the best 360-degree and VR content.