Katai BlueJay 360 camera does away with wasted space in virtual meetings

Sometimes, 360 cameras capture a view that’s impressive from every angle, but often much of that view is wasted space. That’s why the Katai BlueJay mixes artificial intelligence with a single-lens 360 camera system.

Designed for applications such as video conferencing, the A.I. inside the BlueJay looks for faces, recognizing when a new person joins the meeting. Each participant then has their own space on the screen. The BlueJay can recognize over 1,000 facial features, which helps the system recognize and track speakers. The technology allows people on opposite sides of the table to be part of the same virtual meeting without requiring multiple cameras.

The A.I. isn’t the only unusual feature on the camera, however. The 360 camera uses a single lens to capture the immersive view, rather than stitching the camera from multiple lenses and sensors. While it is not the first single-lens 360 camera, Katai uses a catadioptric lens system, a type of lens that uses mirrors as well as traditional glass lenses.

The catadioptric lens is paired with a 48-megapixel sensor and a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor for built-in edge analytics and processing. Katai says the camera creates a high-resolution video that’s four to six times higher than many 360 cameras on the market. Connectivity is available through USB-C, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LTE.

Along with video conferencing, the company, based in Boston, is working on ongoing user trials to use the camera system for smart city and smart retail applications. “Katai’s patented technology was perfected for military applications such as autonomous vehicle support,” said Katai CEO Raghu Menon. “Based on that success, we have worked closely with our commercial development partners to make our solution price-competitive with cameras that provide a fraction of our capability. Katai’s technology is a perfect solution for a number of markets such as video conferencing and is unmatched in the marketplace today.”

The BlueJay is now being sampled with distributors and video conferencing leaders, Katai says, such as Zoom, Microsoft Skype, and Blue Jeans. The company plans to add more partnerships in the future. The system also offers a platform for developing additional software features for the camera system.

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