French researchers at INRIA have come up with a vision system that provides a 360 degree vision to a user wearing the Sony HMZ-T2 which takes a video feed input coming from a camera paired with a hyperbolic mirror which provides a panoramic (cylindrical) 360 degrees vision. The 360 degrees view is compressed into the regular human field of view, so things can appear distorted (preferably on the sides and back), but are clear enough for the user to get a real sense of what’s going on in the surroundings.
The project is lead by Jerôme Ardouin who says that “it takes a little bit of practice because I need to adjust my normal moves in relation to what my eyes now see”. He adds that after using the system for a while, going back to normal vision wasn’t a problem at all. The main downside of this type of setup at the moment, is the weight, he says.
He’s right about the weight, but we also need to keep in mind that this is a prototype and that there is a lot of potential for reducing the size of such a setup once the parameters are known and ready for production. Such a 360 degree vision has plenty of applications according to the research team, but security, defense, entertainment and of course research, could use such that kind of augmented human sense. What would you do with this?
More photos at Maxisciences (in French)