Facebook makes good on promise to open-source its 360-degree camera

Facebook has finally released all the details on its Surround 360 camera, which the company announced at the F8 conference in April. Planned from the start to be open source, it took some time before Facebook was ready to provide everything to the public, including the necessary software that will stitch together a seamless, 360-degree video from the rig’s 17 cameras.

As of today, everything you need to build your own Surround 360 can be found on GitHub. Of course, you’ll have to source all the hardware yourself, something Facebook says will cost around $30,000 in its standard configuration, according to The Verge. It should only take about four hours to assemble, and all the parts save the metal top and bottom covers are commercially available. (The covers will need to be custom-machined, and Facebook provides the schematics for doing this.)

While building the camera is an expensive proposition, as a fully open-source project, Facebook will see no direct revenue from it. “Our mission is to connect the world,” Facebook’s Brian Cabral, who led development of the Surround 360, told The Verge. Of course, Facebook does stand to benefit by spurring the production of 360-degree content, as it looks to increase engagement among its 1.65 billion monthly active users.

Facebook believes the Surround 360 is the most full-featured solution for VR content, offering up to 8K resolution for crystal-clear video. It also incorporates two bottom cameras that see around the pole that holds the unit aloft, completely removing it from the final stitched output.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Surround 360 is that it can essentially be customized to meet the specific needs of whoever is building it. People may try to make it smaller and less expensive, or even larger and more complex to increase resolution. “That’s not only OK, but encouraged,” Cabral added.

Check out Facebook’s Surround 360 page for more information and everything you need to know about how it works and how to build it.

Photography

Photographers can now customize the layout of Lightroom Classic controls

Tired of scrolling past Lightroom tools that you don't use? Adobe Lightroom Classic now allows users to reorganize the Develop panel. The update comes along with new sharing options in Lightroom CC, and updates to the mobile Lightroom app.
Deals

The best iPhone deals for December 2018

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for December 2018.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2018, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR, and much more.
Mobile

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.
Computing

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.
Photography

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Social Media

Instagram could be making a special type of account for influencers

Instagram influencers fall somewhere between a business profile and a typical Instagram, so the company is working on developing a type of account just for creators. The new account type would give creators more access to analytical data.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Photography

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.
Photography

Canon holiday sale features the Rebel T6 2-lens kit for just $449

If you have a budding photographer in your life in need of a real camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 could make the perfect gift. Canon is currently offering the camera in a two-lens bundle for just $449 through December 29.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Social Media

Instagram’s 2018 year in review shines a light on where our hearts are

What did Instagram users share the most in 2018? A lot of heart emojis, heart face filters, and heart GIFs. The platform recently shared the year's top trends, including hashtags like #fortnite and #metoo along with a few surprises.
Deals

Want a fun, affordable instant camera? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S is just $49

Instant cameras have had a surprising resurgence of late, and no brand is better recognized in the instant photo space today than Fujifilm Instax. Walmart is currently offering the Instax Mini 7S for just $49.