Immersive video formats such as 360-degree, 180-degree and stereoscopic video are becoming more and more popular as VR hardware starts to make its way into the consumer market. Facebook and YouTube pioneered the ability to share these immersive new video formats with others, but most people don’t have access to hardware that can record in these formats, especially stereoscopic 3D video, much less if they want to broadcast the feed live. VR Favs recognized this problem and set out to create an affordable webcam that can do just that.
WebEye VR is a webcam being developed by VR Favs that will ostensibly allow you to broadcast live, stereoscopic video with proper depth perception, and a wide field of view. The webcam features dual 1920x1080 video sensors that are spaced apart to mimic natural interpupillary distance (IPD). The company said the camera provides a 160-degree FOV, which will allow you to look around a live video.
You can view the video feed recorded from the WebEye VR camera on any Google Cardboard viewer, or you can use an Oculus Rift VR player. The company also plans to support Samsung’s Gear VR in the next iteration of the developer kit, and support for HTC Vive will come later this year.
VR Favs said that there will be just 100 first-generation kits (which will ship in April, directly following the close of the campaign), and they'll be very different from the consumer product. The current iteration of the camera uses two parallel streams that chew up 8 Mbit/s and require two USB 2.0 connections. They'll feature 1.67-inch IPD spacing, but the next version will have the lenses 2.56 inches apart, which VR Favs said is the average human IPD.
The early kits will cost $250.
VR Favs is also offering 100 copies of the second-edition developer kit on Kickstarter, for $350. The company plans to ship the kits in August and expects that by then, the WebEye VR will include Gear VR Support, as well as updated stream synchronization technology. The company said the second generation, and subsequently the consumer product, will merge the two streams and effectively cut the bandwidth requirements in half, to 4 Mbit/s. The Development Kit 2 and consumer edition will also require only one USB connection.
VR Favs hopes to raise $40,000 during the Kickstarter campaign for WebEye VR, which is set to end on April 1. For more information, or to order your own, you can find the campaign page here.