Canon wants to redefine VR with its 5K headset

Not content with building a bonkers 250-megapixel camera, Canon is teasing an entry into the virtual-reality game with a 5K prototype headset, shown off at its annual Canon Expo in New York City.

Canon wants to redefine VR with its 5K headset

Instead of being a games-focused head-mounted display like the HTC Vive, Sony’s Project Morpheus or Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Canon’s VR display is held in the hands and is primarily aimed at immersive video and photography. Pitched as a “360-degree flexible video experience”, Canon’s device is equipped with two 5.5in 2560 x 1440 pixel screens and offers a 120-degree field of vision. According to Popular Science, who had hands-on with the device, Canon recorded all video footage at an absurd 56,000 x 28,000 resolution.

Interestingly, Canon’s VR viewer used video footage instead of a computer-generated image to show what it’s capable of. Not only does this show Canon’s interest in VR as a new medium for video and photography, but it also indicates an interest in developing devices capable of capturing VR-ready scenes – a little bit like Nokia’s Ozo.

Canon wants to redefine VR with its 5K headset  - camera array

Canon built two ways to capture the scenes in its demo. One used a 24-camera array of its VIXIA mini X camcorders to capture the scenes and audio, while another used an arrangement of seven 6D cameras to capture the scene.

The finished product, both in terms of the capturing rigs and the headset itself, is still a long way off from commercial release. A finished version could end up being head-mounted, but as Canon sees its headset working best in education and military situations before mass-market consumer adoption, it’s likely they’ll cater to what works best for those markets first.

While it’s always great to see another entrant into the VR industry, Canon’s appearance in the space is tantalisingly different to what we’ve seen before. Perhaps, in time, VR movies and trailers like Warcraft’s will become far more commonplace than before. After all, you can’t have a VR revolution if all it’s capable of doing is playing some games.

Images – Popular Science, Twitter

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