Facebook just unveiled their new 360-degree camera with 17 individual lenses. We’ve all seen these videos—the ones that allow the viewer to rotate a scene in order to see the entire 360-degree perspective. Sounds awesome, right?
Well, there’s a catch.
You can’t buy the camera anywhere. That’s because Facebook doesn’t plan to mass produce the product or make it commercially available. At all. Instead, the company is open-sourcing the camera’s specs and design.
So, essentially if you have the time, money, and technical know-how, you can make your own. In addition to the hardware, users can also take advantage of a software program Facebook built that is capable of seamlessly stitching together all the video shot by the camera.
Is it surprising that Facebook is handing over the plans to their fancy 360-degree camera for free? Not really.
Facebook is finally shipping its new Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which means they need quality 360-degree video content for users to enjoy. Giving out the plans for free almost guarantees the public will begin tinkering with the tech and experimenting with content creation.
Despite the “free” label, Facebook is still making money off of the open-source plans in the long run. 360-degree video paired with Facebook’s new push for live video means more real estate for video ads, which are more lucrative than static or banner ads.
If you’re up for the challenge, keep an eye on the news that comes out of the F8 developer conference. Until we see the plans, there’s no way of estimating how much building the home-made version of this camera will cost.
Our guess: Not cheap.