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Methane: the new virtual reality series camera from India

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Methane: the new virtual reality series camera from India.

Bengaluru | Red Newswire | By ET Bureau | 19 Nov, 2015 11:11 AM IST.

Methane Virtual Reality Camera
Photo: YouTube

While everyone is kicked about virtual reality headsets, few in India are making cameras that capture images and videos for immersive virtual reality experiences. Tesseract Imaging is one such.

“Almost everyone said no to us in the initial days,” said Kshitij Marwah, 27-year-old founder of the company. “It is not so easy to sell Made in India brand.”

But he persisted, and in six months with a group of seven people, Marwah has created Methane, one of the first made-in-India cameras to capture videos for virtual reality experiences.

Professional VR cameras look like a spherical web of housing over 40 cameras, nearing resolutions that breach gigapixel levels. But Tesseract’s camera is lean, vertical and can easily be mistaken for a slim wireless speaker. Fitted with a single camera that rotates around an axis, the camera takes 2-3 images across 1,600 square feet in area and 20 feet height, resulting in a resolution of upto 30 megapixels.

Methane creates automatic floor plans, walk-throughs, virtual reality showcases for adventure sports, among others.

There are three components to achieving an immersive virtual reality experience. There are cameras- which generate videos, controllers- which allow users to interact with the the video and the headsets, through which one gets immersed in another setting.

For instance, one could be sitting in an office cubicle, but with a device strapped to the head and a controller in hand, they could be shooting off aliens in a galaxy far far away.

Tesseract said the videos captured through this could be streamed to headsets such as Oculus Rift and be altered to be used for games as well. The company has sold 30 devices so far to Housing.com, Commonfloor, and other consumer-facing real estate businesses which choose to show previews to a potential customer before they visit the site. It has 160 pre-orders and expects to ship 5,000 products next year.

“The problem in VR cameras is in the software that stitches the multiple images together. It works fine for large spaces, but within smaller dimensions, this stitching process gets ruined,” said Shubham Mishra, CEO of Absentia, which makes virtual reality headsets and has software that automatically converts 2D images and videos into 3D panorama.

But the year-old firm said the fulcrum of its innovation lay in perfecting this software.

Globally, there are several competitors to Methane. There’s Tokyo-based Ricoh Theta, Nokia’s Ozo and several others, with offerings spanning professional and regular use cases as well.

More recently, LucidCam raised $83,333 of their $100,000 (Rs 66 lakh) goal as part of their Indiegogo campaign to build a consumer 3D VR camera. But Tesseract took less than $30,000 and six months to make its product.

Samir Bangara, cofounder of Qyuki Digital Media and former executive at Indiagames.com said the oppotunity for VR in gaming and video consumption was enormous.

“For us, VR massive game changer. Tesseract’s video product is interesting. The minute they do high definition videos, we will start deployments,” said Bangara, whose firm helps artists in film and music create and monetize content.

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