Pi-softtech is launching Pilot Era, an 8K resolution 360º imaging and publishing appliance for $1999 on May 7. This is the world’s first true all-in-one 360º VR camera. This camera showcases a number of “world’s first” breakthroughs that promise to change the world of VR, bringing it closer to the mainstream.
“This is a 360 Appliance, not a 360 Camera. You don’t need a computer – we’ve built the world’s only live streaming 360 and streetview camera that doesn’t require any training or extra equipment” says Adler Shen, CEO and cofounder of Pi-softtech. “Since founding this company 7 years ago and building the brains inside many other 360 cameras, we have built our own, having learned first-hand what is missing from everything else on the market.”
Broken Promises of VR, solved
The VR industry has made many promises over the years, but cameras have lagged behind in functionality and ease-of-use. As a result, the adoption of VR photography into the mainstream has fallen short of expectations. The Pilot Era camera aims to solve many of these issues on the content creation side.
The Pain Points of 360º Content Creation, Solved
Until today, no 360º cameras on the market have been capable of live streaming without deep technical knowledge and complicated, time-consuming setup; additionally, no cameras have been capable of shooting and publishing Google Streetview™, or capturing 8K-resolution video and stitching it, all without the use of a PC for processing and publishing.
Existing pro-level 360º VR cameras are big, clunky, hard to use, and require a tethered mobile phone or computer for even basic operation; additionally, such cameras require a high performance PC to create 8K panoramic videos, which is complex and time-consuming. The Pilot Era solves all of these problems.
The Pilot Era is like a smartphone with 4 cameras: it has a touchscreen and runs the Android OS, allowing complete real-time camera control: configuring, monitoring, livestreaming, stitching, and publishing. The Pilot OS supports over-the-air upgrades. Designed with a fully functional USB-C interface, the Pilot Era adapts to many different peripherals.
Unlike every other 360º camera in the world, it doesn’t need a tethered smartphone or PC for basic operation – it’s ready to go and does everything by itself.
Livestreaming VR, rebooted
Why aren’t there any 360º livestreams on Facebook and Youtube? Because it’s nearly impossible to do: Those who have tried, usually give up. It’s not a casual activity, typically requiring a lot of auxilliary equipment beyond the camera itself.
The Pilot Era changes the game completely, allowing 4K livestreaming via Wifi, Ethernet or even via the built-in SIM card slot on the camera base. True mobile untethered 360 / VR live streaming has never been possible until now. A number of use cases are now possible that were simply unrealistic before:
Concerts, Festivals, Conferences, Trade Shows
Large-scale public events are perfect subjects for streaming in 360º to VR headsets but it has been too cumbersome for casual attendees or organizers to do so. No more. Expect your favorite concerts, festivals, and other large events to offer a more immersive side online.
Journalism, Breaking News, Demonstrations, Disasters
Despite a few false starts a few years ago, VR and 360º imaging remains one of the most potent ways for journalists to convey a place to the public. For any event where the photographer isn’t sure where the action might be happening next, including demonstrations, disasters, and other types of breaking news, 360 cameras should be an indispensible tool for any journalist publishing images to the Web. Like other 360º imaging use cases though, it has simply been too difficult and cumbersome, with too much post production required before publishing the content to the internet – until now.
Construction, Remote Monitoring, Search & Rescue
A number of industrial activities including Mining, Construction, and Search & Rescue, have a need for constant and realtime monitoring from the field. For these types of industries, which do not have the resources to have a full time video technician on staff, 360 live monitoring has remained out of reach. The Pilot Era is designed in a way that people who need this functionality, but are not trained in the technicalities required by other equipment, can finally take advantage of this exciting technology.
Google Streetview™ Ready
Pilot Era is the world’s only camera that can shoot, stitch, and publish Google Streetview all by itself, without any post production or additional computer. It supports creating “blue lines on the map” with Street View video mode and one-click upload to Google Maps servers.
Launching May 7
Pilot Era is launching May 7 on Indiegogo with the special price of $1999 – $600 lower than the MSRP of $2599. Early signups get a chance to get up to $800 super early bird discount from the MSRP! Cameras pre-ordered from Indiegogo will start shipping one month later. You can sign-up for the updates on the official website.
About Pi-Soft Tech
Pi-softtech was founded in 2012 by Alumni of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. As one of the earliest groups innovating in embedded panoramic stitching algorithms, Pi-Soft Tech has spent many years focusing on research and development of image processing and graphics fusion algorithms. They are the only panoramic algorithms team provided with low-level technical support by ARM and the only panoramic DSP algorithm provider of CEVA – the world’s leading DSP company.
As the largest panoramic algorithm solution provider in the domestic market, we were invested by international chip industry funds including SummitView Capital and ARM China Early Investment Fund, and by industry funds including China Resources and Leaguer.
Pilot Era is carefully designed to create stunning 8K content. Equipped with a high-performance AI processor for graphics processing, the four fisheye lenses and Sony sensors can capture great detail; Optical flow stitching modes allow you to shoot high-quality images in all conditions. HDR, ISO, EV, WB and other settings meet all the needs of professionals.
Equipped with wifi, ethernet, and 4G cellular (5G upgrade coming soon), Pilot Era can live-stream stream 4K panoramic content through its built-in server without a computer; recording while live-streaming is also supported.
Pilot Era fits in one hand, weighing only 690g/24oz.. Loaded with 512GB high-speed storage, Pilot Era stores over 6.5 hours of 8K videos or 26,000 panoramic photos. With a removable 7,200mAh high capacity battery, Pilot Era can shoot up to 3.5 hours of 8K video, by far the longest battery life in any professional 360º camera.
|Sensor||4x 12MP 1 / 2.3” Sony CMOS image sensor|
|Lens||4x F2.28 aspherical fisheye lens|
|Touch Screen||3.1 inches 800×480 LCD multi-touch display|
|Operating System||Android-based Pilot OS|
|Memory & Storage||4GB RAM + 512GB UFS storage|
|Video Resolution||Real-time stitching:
|Photo Resolution||Real-time stitching / Optical flow In-camera stitching
8192×4096, 6144×3072, 4096×2048
|File Format||Video: HEVC (h.265) in MP4 container
|Audio||Stereo audio recording|
|Live Streaming||Youtube, Facebook, Custom server
4K@30fps / 2K@30fps
Live streaming protocol: RTMP
|Settings||HDR / ISO / EV / WB / stitch focus|
|Gyroscope / IMU||9-axis high precision IMU|
|GPS||Built-in high precision GPS|
|Battery||7200mAh removable battery
Approx 3.5 hours recording time
5V/3A power adapter
|Interfaces||100M / 1000M RJ45 (Ethernet)
Full function USB-C for file transfer or charging
|Wireless||802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual-band WiFi
4G cellular network (with SIM card)
|App||Pilot Go mobile App (iOS and Android)|
|Dimensions||Height / Width / Depth
6.3 x 2.4 x 2.4 inches (16 x 6 x 6 cm)
|Weight||24.3 ounces (690 grams)|