It was three years ago that we first heard about Orbi Prime sunglasses, which use four integrated cameras to record 360-degree interactive video. Orbi has now unveiled a more robust version of the glasses, but perhaps more interestingly, it's also built the technology into a football helmet.
Currently being showcased at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the prototype Orbi football helmet features four 1080p/30fps cameras, for a combined 4K resolution (the planned production model will bump the resolution up to 4K/60fps per camera, for 8K total).
The output from all four cameras is digitally stitched together to form a single 360-degree panoramic video – viewers can pan and tilt within that video to see the gridiron action from the player's point of view, looking in any direction. Footage is streamed from the helmet via 5G.
While broadcasting might seem like the obvious application for the technology, Orbi is also looking at using it for player safety and performance analytics.
As far as safety goes, a 9-axis inertial measurement unit (an accelerometer/gyroscope combo) within the final version of the helmet will register potentially-harmful head impacts, automatically logging them in the player's health record, and also providing real-time wireless alerts to people such as coaches. Utilizing the recorded helmet video, users will subsequently be able to review those impacts, getting a better understanding of their cause and severity.
And as far as performance goes, coaches could review plays from the perspective of various players' helmets. Among other things, this would allow them to see which areas of the field (and which other players) were visible from which locations at various points in time.
The final commercial version of the helmet is currently in development – you can see footage shot with the prototype at the end of this article. Just click and drag on the picture to pan and tilt. And if you just can't wait to get your hands on the technology, the waterproof new Orbi Marinix glasses (same video resolution as the Prime model) should be available soon, priced at US$599.
Orbi is additionally showcasing a DJI Spark quadcopter that's equipped with the 360-degree video system, in hopes of enticing drone manufacturers to utilize the technology in their products.
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