Two years ago, Google introduced Jump, a VR platform that uses cloud-based software and smart stitching algorithms to make 360-video creation easier than ever before. It also partnered with GoPro to make the Odyssey, a 16-camera rig that was the first-ever camera to have the Jump software built right in. Now, Google is preparing for the next generation of Jump, and for that, it’s partnered with a new company and made a brand new camera. The $16,999 device is called the Yi Halo, and Google is touting it as the “next generation Jump camera.”
Google is working with the Yi technology to make this happen. The halo is using total 17 different high quality Cams: 16 along the perimeter and one placed in middle facing up, which will stream the seamless stitching of upward-facing views. The camera can generate 8kX8k content at 30 fps, as well as, 6kX6k at 60 fps. The camera will also give you control of various settings like ISO, white balance and flat color mode. The whole assembly weighs only 7.7 pounds. On the base of camera a small touch screen panel is provided where you can monitor the rigs various components. Like, you can see remaining battery and SD card status of each camera.
Jump software, which is really what makes the Halo special. The Jump Assembler combines Google’s computer vision technology and cloud infrastructure to take the inputs from the 17 distinct sensors and return one seamless 360-degree video. Thanks to Google’s algorithms, the stitching is completely automated. It’s a job that used to take weeks, but can now be done in just a few hours. There’s also a built-in battery that promises around 100 minutes of continuous footage, or you can plug it into the wall with an AC adapter. Da says that the Yi Halo can also accommodate batteries from third parties, which would allow for greater flexibility when you’re in the field.
“The camera was designed with the software in mind,” says Emily Price, a Jump product manager. An example of this is the position of that upwards-facing camera. It’s not actually on top of the rig; it’s actually located in a slightly sunken position in the middle. “We made this geometric decision because it leads to much better results in automatic stitching,” Price said. “The upward-facing camera’s view of the world is pretty different from the cameras on the main ring,” she added.