Berkeley, Stanford grads develop pocket-sized virtual reality camera

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KGO) -- Virtual reality could soon be coming to a pocket or purse near you.

Some Stanford University and University of California Berkeley graduates are building a tiny virtual reality camera with just one button.

It's called the LucidCam and when it's finished the company's CEO Han Jin said "you can take a picture now, holding it like a mobile phone."

The camera has two beady eyes because it's built to see the world just like people do.

"Even the distance between the lenses is exactly the average eye distance," said Sheldon Fernandes, LucidCam virtual reality engineer.

It's a big departure from other virtual reality cameras hitting the market that are designed for professionals, some have up to 16 lenses.

Jin wanted a simpler way to share experiences with his family halfway around the world.

"And I need like 15 minutes or 20 minutes of setup, or they're extremely expensive and I can't afford to do it," Jin said. "And feeling like I'm there with my parent or with my grandma at that special event."

Compared to those big budget virtual reality cameras, the LucidCam is something you would use just for fun. People won't always view the images on a big budget virtual reality headset. More likely, they'll use something made of cardboard.

It was Google that first introduced the cardboard virtual reality viewer a year and a half ago. It's meant for short trips into the virtual world.

The New York Times is giving the carbroard viewers away to subscribers and you can use them with Lucid's free app to preview what the camera can do.

"You feel like you are walking and that's a special part about it," Jin said.

Of course, you can get a whole stack of these if you pre-order the $300 camera on Indiegogo. They say the fundraising's going well and they plan to ship early next year.
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