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VR fans rejoice as Facebook unveils interactive 360-degree videos

Although this is not the first time we are introduced to 360-degree video, to which Google-owned social media giant YouTube are largely to credit, Facebook have joined the hype by releasing a handful of 360-degree supported vids on Wednesday 23rd, 2015.  

Star wars 360-image

-A snap of the 360 Star wars clip-

The minute long Star Wars video allows you to speed along a post-war wasteland on a planet far far away- with annoyed Trekkies, still waiting impatiently, to be zoomed around their beloved enterprise in the same manner.

For a more realistic thrill-ride; the popular camera manufacturer GoPro takes you on a dirt bike thrash-up through the Idaho desert.

To counter your pedal-to-metal session, Saturday Night Live allows you to join the live audience of its 40th anniversary show from the comfort of your own sofa.

The futuristic feature works on a desktop computer or laptop by clicking on the screen to ‘grab’ the video and simultaneously moving the mouse in the opposite direction to the way you wish to ‘turn your head’. On a smartphone you will be able to tilt the device to move around in-video.

However, as of now the feature is only reliably up-and running on desktop PCs and Laptops. Although Facebook insists 360 video works on Android devices; trying to access the video on a smartphone will almost invariably result in the message “360 video not yet available for this device.” Furthermore a quick test done by CNNMoney, a subdivision of media giant CNN, resulted in failure to render on an Android device. Facebook says it plans to add support for IOS device-users in the next few months as well as smooth out the process for all smartphone users.

Facebook’s top product executive Chris Cox, has said on his Facebook page that this addition is “a really cool experience that takes you somewhere else,” and that he expects anyone will be able to upload 360 Video “very soon.” Which will undoubtedly re-invent the average selfie.

With such a wonderfully different way to experience and create media; some have commented as to how major a step this is toward virtual reality becoming the norm in our lives.

However, as of now only a handful of 360-degree cameras are capable of shooting these vivid VR vids. Namely the Giroptic 360cam, Ricoh Theta, IC Real Tech Allie, and Kodak SP360. All of which cost the odd $400 and higher!

But fear not! as Facebook seems to have it’s heart set on bringing virtual reality to the world in the near future after buying virtual reality pioneers Oculus for a whopping two billion dollars last year. However this is Facebook’s first, but probably not last, time unveiling a development in VR to its end-users.

Whatever the future for visual media holds, one thing is certain, it promises an ever-increasing interactivity  and immersion for us all.





About Kyran Wilson

Kyran Wilson
Based in London, Kyran Wilson maintains a strong interest in scientific and technological news. In his free time, he enjoys political/philosophical discussion, cinema, mathematics and gaming.