The little palm-sized egg above looks like a kitchen timer, but it's really a powerful video camera that records 360-degree video. It's rugged like an action camera, loaded with connectivity options, and designed to work out of the box without any proprietary kinks.
Giroptic has been in the 360 video game for years, but this is its first consumer camera, finally available for preorder after months of teasing. It's a Kickstarter, so if you invest early you can get the camera for $US250, half the eventual retail price. As always, Kickstarters come with risks.
The 360cam sports three 185-degree fisheye lenses, which the camera uses to capture and stitch together a sphere of HD video in real-time. The video is recorded to MicroSD. It's also got built-in Wi-Fi, so you can remotely monitor your video, as well as a GPS radio which you can use to record the spot where you shot your wonky spherical imagery.
The 360cam isn't just small enough to go anywhere; it's almost endlessly versatile and useful. It's IPX8 waterproof, and Giroptic even designed a clever mount attachment with light-bulb threads so you can hang the camera in the middle of a room — exactly where you'd want to. (The 360cam has standard tripod mount threads, in case you want to take a more traditional route.)
Giroptic claims this is the first 360 HD camera, but it's really just the first to offer such a polished self-contained package. Ricoh recently took gamble ton a 360-still camera, which was fun but also a pain to use. Giroptic's simple, feature-loaded design is much better, and we hope that Kickstarter gets some love so that we'll see it in the near future. [Kickstarter]