With a holographic viewfinder, this camera shows anything is possible in virtual reality

Can’t get enough photography in real life? Just shoot photos in virtual reality. Earlier this month, Dotdotdash unveiled the first virtual reality camera — no, the D3-U is not a 360 camera that actually takes photos, but a camera that you can physically take with you into a virtual world.

The Vive Tracker, introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, attaches to objects, allowing the computer to recognize the item within that virtual space, opening up possibilities for developers to design objects for the virtual world, from hoses to train firefighters to weapons for video games. The D3-U from Dotdotdash is one of the first accessories designed to be used specifically with that Tracker.

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Connecting to the “camera” via a USB port, the Tracker allows all the camera’s controls to work inside the virtual world — so VR players can shoot and even zoom with the camera. The D3-U doesn’t actually take pictures in the real world — though players can actually bring those photos out and print them in real life — think of it as a video game controller designed to look, feel, and operate like a camera inside that game.

If the D3-U’s concept isn’t cool enough on its own, the virtual reality camera also uses a holographic viewfinder to preview the shot. The camera even has its own filters inside that virtual world, with an x-ray, subatomic, and thermal option to go along with the plain visual light, since virtually anything is possible in a made-up world.

To really showcase the camera, Dotdotdash developed a virtual world to go with it. Exoplanet is a VR game with one mission — explore life on the planet Kepler 22-b. And, of course, take pictures of that life form.

While the VR camera isn’t slated to head to store shelves any time soon, the concept design from Dotdotdash is a pretty intriguing one and offers a glimpse of the possibilities for taking physical devices into virtual worlds. Anyone up for a virtual reality selfie?

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