August 11, 2015 weblog
SpaceVR aims toward a VR camera in space
SpaceVR is a virtual reality platform set to share live 3D, 360 degree content from the International Space Station (ISS) so that anyone with virtual reality gear can feel like an astronaut. The company was founded in January this year by Ryan Holmes, CEO, and Isaac DeSouza, CTO.
The San Francisco-based company is crowdfunding for their 3D 360-degree camera into space. "Through the use of 3D, 360-degree cameras, SpaceVR technology feeds livestream footage from the International Space Station's (ISS) Cupola observatory module back to Earth so consumers can experience space travel in immersive 3D virtual reality," they said.
The Kickstarter page for their effort said, "Only 536 people have ever been to space; at SpaceVR we ask, what about the other 7 billion."
They will send a 360-degree camera to the International Space Station to collect footage that anyone can experience using virtual reality headsets. That's their dream. They would like as many people as possible to experience a VR view of space.
Their camera is called the Overview One. According to the plan, existing camera components are to be combined with parts that will be 3D-printed in space by their partner, Made in Space, they said, and will be assembled on the ISS. "The full camera will be assembled by an astronaut (following directions put together by the SpaceVR team)."
Once that is assembled, the team will collect the first virtual reality footage from space with the help of the ISS Cupola observatory module, with its large windows. (Its windows are used to conduct experiments, dockings and observations of Earth.) There will be footage for backers to view who can use a VR device, including even Google Cardboard.
The SpaceVR team have turned to Kickstarter to fund their first year of operations and the launch of Overview One into space.
In addition, they said they have partnered and are on the flight manifest with NanoRacks, a company that specializes in getting payloads to space.
They have a $500,000 goal on Kickstarter. Pledge amounts and package details are varied; you can visit the page and wade through the options if interested. That range involves posters, T-shirts, three months of access to the first footage, a SpaceVR Cardboard virtual reality kit, and other options. Prices run from $1 to $10,000.
Somehow, the words exploring space through virtual reality does little justice to a very energized message in their video about why this matters to them and to our futures. "Being in space and looking down at the Earth, astronauts are hit with an astounding reality: our planet is a tiny, fragile ball of life, 'hanging in the void', shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. Astronauts refer to this as the Overview Effect. The idea of national boundaries vanishes, the conflicts that divide people become irrelevant, and the need to come together as a civilization to protect this "pale blue dot" becomes both obvious and imperative." They want to bring that experience to everyone.
They said if they pass their funding goals, the space station is just the first step. They have interesting plans for the future. These include sending a VR camera to the moon in 2017, landing a VR camera on an asteroid in 2022, launching a remote controllable cube-sat VR camera system into orbit, where you can control where the satellite goes, and see what it sees from your headset. They also listed going to Mars as soon as 2026.
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