I used to be at a meet and greet thrown by a outstanding VC agency this week and it was fairly fulfilling. There have been pleasant faces, conversations and a few people huddled round a desk within the nook. Wait. That’s so not “social.” I went over to discover and what have been they doing? Testing digital actuality, in fact. Prepared or not, right here it comes.
Making an attempt to wade by means of the noise and hype that surrounds VR may be overwhelming, however there are clear actual-world makes use of that make the way forward for the know-how thrilling. Lucid flew by means of that noise for me. The factor that’s going to deliver the “future” to the “now” is a killer app that buyers can perceive and extra importantly afford.
That’s the place Lucid is available in.
The firm has prototyped some extent and shoot VR camera that’s ridiculously straightforward to make use of, seems to be nice, requires no publish-manufacturing by the consumer and can value $ 299. Sounds type of loopy, doesn’t it? I assumed so, and so does their staff…which makes issues much more fascinating. I met with Lucid’s CEO, Han Jin, and we chatted about the way forward for VR as he sees it.
Is Lucid simply one other wannabe “crowdfunded” firm? Regardless that you’ll discover the LucidCam on Indiegogo, I say “not even shut.”
Digital actuality continues to get a number of momentum inside tech circles (together with entrepreneurs and buyers), however the struggle continues to get mainstream audiences enthusiastic about what’s to return. Google’s making an attempt to vary that with its Cardboard undertaking and The New York Occasions shipped stated Cardboard out to its readers together with the paper this week. YouTube’s additionally getting in on the act in an enormous approach.
I watched an NBA recreation in VR and it was fairly cool. Plenty of people are playing games in a means that they dreamt about their whole lives. However what’s going to grip “center America?” How’s mother going to get into VR?
That’s what me probably the most about Lucid.
Robots and prototypes
Jin and Lucid have raised an undisclosed sum of money from unnamed buyers, however is driving curiosity with its LucidCam with an Indiegogo marketing campaign that’s virtually midway to $ 100,000 with about 48 days left to go.
When Han and his his group have been working on outfitting robots with cameras, they copied designs from safety cameras. The robots did nevertheless get the workforce fascinated with the thought of experiencing issues somewhere else the place they weren’t bodily. Utilizing an Oculus headset to drive it round in several workplaces outdoors of theirs. They prototyped and prototyped, then realized that the camera itself, capturing in VR, can be far more possible than a robotic…in order that they ripped its “eyes” out to work on the LucidCam. You’ll be able to’t slide a robotic into your pocket, you’ll be able to’t take it to a Taylor Swift live performance.
Plus, capturing 360 diploma video in 2D strapped to a robotic induced points and may trigger you to stroll the factor proper by means of a wall.
Once I requested how he felt after he noticed the primary video with the robotic’s VR eyes hooked up to an precise breadboard, Jin stated:
It was a low-res video, shot and examined with a (Oculus) DK1. We took a video with our pal’s child and the infant begins crawling in the direction of you. The expertise was immense. At the moment, it was 1 1/2 years in the past, everybody was into Oculus for gaming, principally. We knew the place we needed to take this, after that first video.
I sat via the demo and the mother tends to look over at you (the device, truly) and it’s not an enormous deal. After which the infant catches a glimpse and the device should have been on the good eye degree, as a result of it felt prefer it was crawling proper at me whereas we made eye contact. I can think about that this demo will get Lucid many followup conferences within the Valley.
Lucid is constructing the Flip camera, however for VR. The Flip camera was scorching method earlier than Apple packed its mega camera right into a tiny phone and took over the purpose and shoot photo and video market. Need to present it to somebody? They download the Lucid app, drop their iPhone or Android phone right into a Cardboard and take a look at the footage. No want to purchase an costly developer headset and even the Samsung Gear VR.
We did a fast stroll round of the TechCrunch workplace in VR, utilizing the LucidCam, and it was out there to view inside 10 minutes.
“I needed to construct this for me” Jin advised me.
Lucid’s industrial designer took his inspiration from a device a variety of use on a every day foundation, the Apple Mouse.
It’s a stunning device because it stands, it shoots in one hundred eighty levels to avoid the stitching points that 360 diploma video has. Once more, we’re speaking about shopper purposes, taking the camera out of your pocket and capturing a second at your child’s soccer recreation. You don’t need to have to make use of a tripod, or flip round in circles whereas your child is playing. It’s unnatural and actually doesn’t make a distinction when you see the ultimate product out of Lucid’s know-how. It’s slick and high-res. Going with one hundred eighty additionally helps maintain file-measurement down. A few minute out of certainly one of their cameras is just 35 megabytes…which is spectacular and might be despatched to individuals in a snap.
Maintaining it small was necessary, as a result of capturing in VR, with rigs just like the upcoming Lucid package, shouldn’t be solely costly however takes up a ridiculous period of time. Submit processing takes 5 to 6 hours for some demos and Jin calls that ‘insanely painful.”
The Lucid has the whole lot an enormous VR rig wants although, huge Sony sensors that take up all the mild and mics on both aspect to select up stereo sound. What you’re lacking are bells and whistles, although. Bells and whistles, like aperture management, that you simply in all probability don’t need anyhow.
You run round with this factor such as you would your phone. That’s essential for capturing superior moments.
Need to shoot in 360 and assume the Lucid isn’t for you? Nicely, they considered that too. Because the device itself is rounded on the sides, you should purchase three of them and purchase a particular tripod that retains them in a triangle formation:
I love my job.
The Lucid staff exists of 12 individuals complete, 3 of them being founders, 2 hardware individuals and solely 1 industrial designer. Primarily, they’re constructed round software, optics and 3d graphics.
One of many issues that Lucid says is a bonus for them is their capability to iterate shortly. They’re not part of an enormous mothership of an organization, they will actually change issues 15-20 occasions a day and that’s how the method has been going. Proper now the staff is playing round with WiFi connectivity for the device for livestreaming. Whereas it won’t make it into the primary iteration, which hopes to ship someday early in 2016, it exhibits that Lucid is listening to early suggestions.
Jin likes sending his workforce out to shoot issues like an Elton John live performance, somebody even took on the task of capturing their skydiving adventure. “Yep, R&D,” Jin stated.
“I love my job.” he continued.
One other workforce member goes to a Miami Warmth recreation subsequent week. Armed with courtside seats, she’s going to not shoot the entire recreation, however attempt to get these nice moments, like a dunk from Chris Bosh. Moments are the place VR video consumption will take off. A film…a documentary…an extended expertise shouldn’t be the place the plenty will come. We don’t understand how lengthy we should always put on headsets or look by means of these lenses at a time, however it could actually’t be hours at a time…I’ll inform you that from expertise.
30 seconds of a basketball recreation? On loop? Like I’m truly there? Good.
Mothers and the longer term
I requested Jin if his mother, who lives in Germany, understood what it was he was working on. She didn’t till he helped her use the app with Cardboard and despatched her a message from right here within the States.
“If what you’re working on makes you are feeling nearer to me, then it’s OK.” she informed Jin.
On the all-necessary manufacturing aspect, Jin says that China is a possible location the place it’ll happen. They’re nonetheless making tweaks although, however not too many, as a result of they need to keep across the $ 299 price level, which is a candy spot for any sort of level and shoot camera, not to mention one which was constructed to shoot digital actuality. Issues like waterproofing are going to attend.
Jin additionally tells me that a greater spherical of funding is on the best way, however he’s not in a rush, telling me “I do know it’s going to take time, however shopper adoption will probably be sluggish.” Establishing the manufacturing goes to be “costly” he additionally contends, which is the place that spherical of funding is available in. Indiegogo isn’t going to be the top-all-be-all for the corporate, which is sweet to listen to. Those that rely on the spiky buzz from campaigns like that are likely to die quick.
One fascinating shopper for this product is manufacturing homes which have costly rigs for VR. They will use the LucidCam to expire and get some check photographs. No want to tug round 8 GoPros (or the six-determine futuristic Lytro Immerge), 8 Micro SD playing cards, or anything that if one thing glitches, you get nothing. The Lucid is nice for experimentation, too, in that method. Manufacturers are additionally , questioning how they will shortly shoot VR content material for people who find themselves slowly ramping up into the digital world.
The future is vibrant for Lucid, and so long as they hold having enjoyable, the top product will mirror that.
It’s going to be an uphill battle, particularly attending to the purpose of placing the primary models in shopper’s arms. Know-how is just nearly as good because the variety of people who’ve it at their disposal. If Lucid takes issues sluggish and straightforward, much less on the sluggish aspect, they will construct that Flip cam for VR. However can it efficiently fend off a deathblow by Apple, which Flip didn’t? Early days, however fascinating ones as soon as you narrow by way of the noise.
Source : TechCrunch