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Nokia Ozo: the VR camera that’s come straight from Star Wars

Nokia Ozo

Nokia's new eight-lens camera captures 360-degree video and spatial audio

It might look like something Luke Skywalker swats with his lightsaber, but this is in fact the Nokia Ozo, the company’s first virtual reality camera. The spherical device is surrounded in cameras, allowing professionals to capture 360-degree footage that can be viewed through virtual reality headsets.

The Nokia Ozo captures stereoscopic 3D video through the eight different cameras mounted around the device, as well as spatial audio from eight accompanying microphones. Crucially, Nokia claims it’s possible to view footage captured using the camera in real-time, thanks to an “innovative playback solution that removes the need to pre-assemble a panoramic image”, rather than having to wait for the footage to be stitched together post-production.

We expect that virtual reality experiences will soon radically enhance the way people communicate and connect to stories, entertainment, world events and each other,” said Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies. “With Ozo, we plan to be at the heart of this new world.”

Note, the Ozo belongs to the part of Nokia Microsoft left behind when it purchased the Finnish company’s handset division in 2013. It’s entirely unrelated to Microsoft’s own virtual reality ambitions, namely its Hololens headset. Nokia says footage captured on the Ozo can be “published for commercially available VR viewing hardware”, although it doesn’t stipulate which devices. The Hololens has yet to leave Microsoft’s labs.

Nokia isn’t the first company to enter this market. Both Samsung and GoPro have also released VR cameras in recent months, catering for professionals who want to shoot films for headsets such as the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus

Nokia says the Ozo will likely go on sale at the tail end of this year. It’s yet to reveal how much it will cost. 

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