Ricoh, the company behind the camera line being called the iPod of 360 shooters is now working on a live-streaming camera. During the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday, the company announced the Ricoh R Development Kit, a 360-degree camera capable of live streaming for up to 24 hours (plugged into an outlet of course).
As a development kit, the R is currently expected to launch sometime during the second quarter of 2017 only to developers looking to incorporate the camera into their product or business.
Like earlier Ricoh Theta cameras, the 360 device uses two lenses and real-time stitching software to shoot immersive videos. Still wrapped in a small body that doesn’t look much like a traditional camera, the Ricoh R is expected to offer live-stream capabilities with a simple setup, unlike the Ricoh Theta S that requires a USB connection to use the feature. The R can use either USB or HDMI connections for the feature.
Ricoh is releasing the source code with the camera, which will allow third-party developers to design software to control the camera through a connected computer.
With an internet connection and a power outlet, the camera can shoot stitch and broadcast continuously for up to 24 hours, or record to an SD card. The camera shoots 2K video stretched around a 360 perspective at a 30 fps frame rate.
The Developer’s Kit launch means the camera likely won’t be available to consumers anytime soon — and live-streaming in 360 degrees is still a young concept. While the other Theta cameras are popular among everyday users, the potential for live-streaming in 360 for 24 hours is less of a consumer perk and more of a business or broadcast one.
During CES, Ricoh representatives told us that the camera could technically operate longer than 24 hours, but as of now, one day is the official spec. The Ricoh R looks similar in shape to the Theta S, however, the prototype has an aluminum body and while it essentially uses similar components, it uses a different circuit board. Ricoh was live-streaming successfully from the Ricoh R booth to YouTube, which users could manipulate the 360-degree onscreen view.
While the Ricoh R won’t be widely available yet, the company used the new concept camera to live-stream from the CES show floor. A price and exact release date have not been released.