The world of action cameras has become a crowded place, with the likes of GoPro making waves by offering up an array of products that do much more than simply capture imagery of what’s directly in front of you. And now, a startup founded by former members of the iPhone camera team is looking to do the same with its CENTR Cam, a palm-sized halo-shaped device that shoots full 360-degree video panoramas in real time.
Designed to do everything a normal webcam can do and more, the CENTR Cam features four independent 5.0-megapixel outward-facing HD cameras that are stitched together in real time using the company’s proprietary software. The result is a seamless and enveloping panoramic capture that can be streamed over WiFi straight to desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. And it can also record a traditional 1080p HD video and 20MP stills, with users able to turn off individual cameras for times when only one or two are needed.
The centr camera is powered by an internal battery that provides two hours of shooting time and six hours of standby, with the camera weighing just nine ounces. The camera has three microphones, intrinsic Wi-Fi capabilities that allow users to watch footage previews, and a USB 3.0 port for a fast data transfer. The camera can be attached to standard tripods and GoPro mounts, with the CENTR app letting users control the camera’s output from any mobile device.
When plugged into a monitor, the CENTR Cam is meant to be used as an HD webcam for video calls and conferencing apps. The camera’s lens is manually focused, requiring users to twist it to adjust its focal point, which can be helpful when speaking to people who are far away. The company says that the CENTR Cam is easy to set up and should work automatically once it’s plugged in, though you may need to install pending updates before your computer or video conferencing app will recognize the device.
The CENTR Cam is available on Kickstarter now for $399, with early birds receiving the camera at an even lower cost. The campaign has already passed the half-million-dollar mark, so it’s clear that there is considerable interest in a small panoramic camera with plenty of potential. Whether it can carve out a niche in the crowded world of action cameras remains to be seen, but with an impressive pedigree to back up its claims—including the endorsement of Red Bull, National Geographic, and FOX Sports—the CENTR Cam is certainly worth watching.