Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

Google's point-and-shoot VR180 cameras from Lenovo, YI announced at CES

Google's point-and-shoot VR180 cameras from Lenovo, YI announced at CES

The Mirage Solo is a standalone Google Daydream headset, something that was initially teased at Google's I/O developer conference a year ago.

Inside-out tracking, popularized by Microsoft's HoloLens and then its Windows Mixed Reality, solves those limitations.

Lenovo has announced the first self-contained VR headset based on Google's Daydream platform, called the Lenovo Mirage Solo. The hemispherical format captures a 180-degree view in either still or video form - nearly like a living photograph that you can step back into when viewed through a VR headset (or, if you don't have one, on your Android phone).

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The Mirage Camera includes 16GB of built-in storage and can be expanded with up to 128GB of additional storage via a microSD card. Inside the headset, it's using the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor platform, which powers the most popular Android smartphones on the market.

The big benefit to the Mirage Solo is that you get six degrees of freedom - meaning that you can move up, down, forward, backward, left, or right - without being tethered to something. Lenovo, for instance, will be offering two screen sizes (8 and 10 inches) at launch.

The Mirage Solo includes a wireless Daydream controller and will start at $449.99 when it ships in the second quarter. Unlike the latter, the headset isn't front-heavy and has been created to distribute the weight evenly all throughout. Breathable, insulated, and contoured padding around the areas that touch your face is designed for comfort.

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Fancy hardware would be meaningless if it didn't have the software to utilize it. That, combined with inside-out positional tracking, not only makes Daydream apps and games that are available now even better, but it blasts away the gates that have previously kept mobile VR from being more interactive, like PC users currently enjoy with the HTC Vive. In fact, it's a 180-degree camera only. Today, Google has bumped its figure to 250, and of course name-checked its own apps: Street View, Photos, Expeditions, and YouTube VR. If it's not entirely obvious, it's a camera that's made for capturing 360-degree video, which is ideal for viewing in virtual reality.

However, if you want to ensure the camera's point of view is ideal - perhaps you want it positioned low down or up high for dramatic effect - then it can be paired with a smart Android device, such as a smartphone, to get a live-stitched preview.

Lenovo's Mirage takes advantage of Google's WorldSense inside-out tracking software, which translates your movements in the real world into the digital.

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The Mirage Solo's black-and-white design looks a little like Samsung's Gear VR, but with a headband shape that's similar to the Sony PlayStation VR or Samsung Odyssey.

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