Cell Phone Accessories Imaging Virtual Reality

Shot iPhone accessory takes a shot at virtual reality market

Virtual reality has become one of the hottest new technologies. But at least some of the devices using the technology are costly. Others –- like the AirVR mount that just straps a mobile device to the user’s head –- look even less comfortable and more awkward than the bulkiest of virtual reality headsets.

Shot is an affordable lens attachment for iPhones that, combined with an accompanying app, creates virtual reality videos and photos that can be shared. The attachment easily slides onto the smartphone and is made up of its own two lenses that increase the field of view of the smartphone’s camera.

Each Shot lens kit comes with a compatible Google Cardboard virtual reality headset that the iPhone slides into. To capture a 360-degrees image, the app takes one photo with the iPhone’s front and rear cameras and merges them into a high resolution panorama. Shot is expected to cost $90 when it ships in April, but Kickstarter backers can get one at reduced pricing starting at $55. Its makers set a goal of raising $100,619 by Oct. 28.

Shot is a decent concept and its photo functionality is appealing. But one drawback is that –- as its Kickstarter campaign points out — an iPhone can’t record video using the two cameras at the same time, so it’s impossible to create a 360-degree video the same way that Shot does so with photos.

The immersive video created with Shot instead covers 235 degrees using just one of the cameras. As a result, the total available field of view for videos is the equivalent of looking around while the user is sitting in a chair. That’s a far cry from what you get with an Oculus Rift VR headset. Shot’s potential market is also limited by the fact that it initially only works with the iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus and 6s Plus. But Shot’s makers are planning an Android version of the app and a compatible lens attachment.


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