Tesseract is an Indian startup on track for greatness, and instead of making mythical cosmic cubes, they make 360 degree Virtual Reality cameras, which can map any room or location in 3D. Kshitij Marwah – CEO & Founder of Tesseract.
Methane: The First 360 degree 3D mapping camera by Tesseract
Methane creates automatic floor plans, walkthroughs, virtual reality showcases for adventure sports, among others.
There are three components to achieving an immersive virtual reality experience. There are cameras- which generate videos, controllers- which allow users to interact with the the video and the headsets, through which one gets immersed in another setting.
Tesseract said the videos captured through this could be streamed to headsets such as Oculus Rift and be altered to be used for games as well. The company has sold 30 devices so far to Housing.com, Commonfloor, and other consumer-facing real estate businesses which choose to show previews to a potential customer before they visit the site. It has 160+ pre-orders and expects to ship 5,000 products this year.
“The problem in VR cameras is in the software that stitches the multiple images together. It works fine for large spaces, but within smaller dimensions, this stitching process gets ruined,” said Shubham Mishra, CEO of Absentia, which makes virtual reality headsets and has software that automatically converts 2D images and videos into 3D panorama.
“If VR headsets are the future of seeing media, we are going to invent the future of capturing media.” With that one statement, Kshitij kicked off his presentation of the Methane 360 VR camera. Mounted atop a cylindrical base, the Methane has a 360 degree revolving head that houses the camera unit.
The purpose of Methane is to map any room or location in 3D and 360, ensuring multiple use cases for the likes of real estate companies, hotel booking websites, travel portals and more. Imagine looking for rental properties without actually enduring the pain and hassle of visiting hundreds of houses in a day.
The Methane can shoot in three different modes:
9 MP Full Spherical 360 x 340 (2-Cam Mode)
12 MP Full Spherical 360 x 340 (3-Cam Mode)
Auto Exposure and 3 High Dynamic Range (HDR) Capture Modes
Methane houses a single camera setup, rotating on a particular axis, which is assisted by onboard High Dynamic Range (HDR), stitching, blending and compression of 360 VR images and walkthroughs. Powering the camera for all the computations, the Tesseract team packed in a dual-core 1 GHz processor with 1GB of RAM into an Anodized Aluminium body. Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n along with a 3D unit for mapping dimensions were placed on board and the whole body of the camera was made to act as an antenna.
The result – a 360 VR camera that can click 200 360 VR shots in a single day. Methane takes 2 minutes to scan a single room in 360 VR with dimensions and 20 minutes to scan a full 2 BHK house, with real-time upload. The whole package is powered by a 6500 mAh battery. The Methane can be bought in two variants, with or without a 3D sensor and the price ranges between Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.
Tesseract also has another 360 VR cam in the pipeline called the ViCam. While the Methane captured 360 VR images using a single cam, the ViCam houses 2 cameras that sit inside of an aerospace grade Aluminium body. “You can drop it off from the third floor and nothing will happen to the body,” claims Marwah.
The ViCam features a 5MP sensor from Sony and a 2GHz quad-core processor for undistorting, stitching and blending videos and images. The Vicam is powered by a 3000mAh battery which can last for 1 hour for continuous recording. Marwah says that his team is working on optimizing the battery before the market launch of the ViCam and their plan is to enter the market.
“All the manufacturing is taking place in Mumbai, Pune and Gurgaon. All the electronics are being manufactured in Ahmedabad, Surat and Bangalore. We actually spent 6-7 months discovering the manufacturing processes and whether it is possible to do it in India. We took a bet that most people go to China, but we’re going to make a product that has been made end-to-end in India,” boasted Marwah.