It is not a mystery that iPhone-related projects on KickStarter are always very popular. Anyhow, the success of GoPano Micro (KickStarter page here), a lens for iPhone 4 that will let users take panoramic videos at 360 degrees, is still remarkable. With less than 48 hours left to the end of the fundraising, more than 2500 backers have pledged to the project, for a grand total of nearly $160,000: 8 times the prefixed $20,000 goal.
As usual for KickStarter projects, people pledging to the project will get some rewards; in this case, if you pledge $50 or more, you will be sent a GoPano Micro as soon as it becomes available, for less than the planned retail price of $80, according to EyeSee360, the company producing the lens and specialized in producing tools for panoramic imaging. The physical product must still be produced, so it will take a while before backers can get their hands on their lens.
As interesting and cool as the idea might seem, GoPano Micro has also its drawbacks. Once you have taken a video with your iPhone 4 equipped with the custom lens, the data must be uploaded to EyeSee360’s website for processing and sharing with the world through their 360-degree video player; a viewer app will also be available for iOS platforms. At this point, it is not clear if GoPano Micro will allow some export feature (for example, what if I want to extract a traditional single point of view video from the overall 360-degree video?). A video in the project’s page and following speculation seem to point to the fact that it will be possible to export the video in some player-independent format.
Another issue is obviously the final output resolution; since the 360-degree data must be compressed into the iPhone 4’s camera input, the single point of view video will be in lower resolution and quality than a normal video taken with an iPhone 4.