Google is getting ready to expand its virtual reality (VR) hardware partnerships. The company announced at its Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California Thursday that it is partnering with IMAX as well as the Chinese digital camera maker YI Technology on building cameras that can capture 360-degree video content, which is then automatically uploaded to Google’s JUMP VR video editing platform.
Google first announced JUMP a year ago, when it struck a similar partnership with GoPro to build camera rig dubbed Odyssey that’s made up of 16 individual GoPro cameras. It took some time for Odyssey to actually off the ground, but GoPro and Google recently announced that they are now shipping the rig to select partners. Google also said Thursday that it now has Odyssey at its disposal in its YouTube Space production facilities in Los Angeles and New York.
Some other partners that have used Odyssey include Los Angeles-based VR startup Wevr and the New York Times. “We have tried other products and no other solution on the market is even close to what Odyssey has right now,” said Wevr co-founder Anthony Batt. “We feel lucky to have the rig and would like to include more into our workflow.”
There’s no word yet on when the newly-announced cameras from YI Technology and IMAX are going to be available, how much they will cost or which features they will offer beyond a JUMP integration.
Google made the announcement as it laid out its vision for this new medium, which include an Android-based VR platform called Daydream. On Wednesday, Google announced that a number of phone makers, including Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi, are going to build Daydream-optimized phones. Google will release a reference design for a Daydream headset and an accompanying hand controller later this year.