News

Today we are excited to share the details of a major improvement that has been made to the Bublcam. We’ve been hard at work making adjustments to various aspects of the Bublcam including hardware and workflow, to improve your experience and spherical media capture results. Many of you are aware that the calibration and stitching together of images is one of the most challenging aspects in the creation of spherical media.

You may remember the video we shared on Kickstarter in update #35 when we walked you through our process of auto-calibration of the Bublcam. This process has been completely redone and we are ecstatic to share the implications for you.

The out of the box experience has been vastly improved because we’ve completely removed the need for you to calibrate your Bublcam! You will simply need to turn it on and, thanks to adjustments to the design and assembly process, begin capturing. The Bublcam is now in constant communication with the software and apps so that as you continue to upload images to the cloud, the quality of the lens alignment and stitch will improve.

In some cases, the possibility still exists that your stitch will not come out perfect. If this were to happen we’ve implemented a new feature within the mobile application that allows you to realign your lenses if you ever do feel that you are seeing imperfections in your bubls.

Here’s a quick demo of the image realignment workflow within the app:

You’ll notice the realigning takes about 1 minute.

So yes, we think this is magical and we can’t wait for you to share your experience on how well this works for you when you have your Bublcam.

Hi everyone,

As you know the road to shipping has been a long one, filled with discoveries and unexpected turns of events. Slowly we are getting closer and closer to a complete and revolutionary product.

We are looking forward to getting you your Bublcams and are still planning to begin sending batch shipments out near the end of June. You will be the first “beta” testers of this revolutionary camera and we are looking forward to getting into feedback collection mode soon of what is primarily the Bubl Developer Kit. When we are given details from the manufacturer regarding the shipments schedule we’ll pass that on to you so please stay tuned for more details on this.

At this time we are actively finalizing manufacturing details before we go to China to monitor the assembly line. We’re working hard on getting image focus and quality from a lens perspective to be more consistent. A few different solutions have been implemented to help with this. We’ve also finalized materials for the manufacturing design including new matte panels and a new bubl button. We’ve built some  in house to ensure it’s everything we would all want and here’s a picture of what you’ll be receiving:

#NoFilter, it is a thing of beauty

Further, we have submitted our mobile app update to the stores. Once approved this update to your existing Xplor mobile application will incorporate Bublcam remote control and media management all within one app.

We are in the process of creating a very important demo for you on a critical new element that has been incorporated in the Bublcam and will have that ready by next week. Stay tuned and thanks for sticking with us!

 

We recently posted to our blog about the role of spherical media in broadcasting. Hope you had a chance to check that out and if not, here’s the link.

In our last update we mentioned we had submitted our Bubl Xplor App for approval and we’re now happy to announce its availability in the app stores!

Bubl Xplor App: Download on Android or iOS.

This build gives you access to a stream of curated editorial content including spherical images and videos we call bubls, from the Bubl team. You’re able to view bubls using touch, gyroscope or VR mode and toggle simply between these views by tapping the view icon in the bottom left corner of the screen in the media player:

Launched on mobile in the Xplor app is 3AM, an experimental style piece from Ian Tuason of DimensionGate Studio that looks at the potential for horror based VR video. The 3AM video was also launched on YouTube 360 and was picked up on social channels from Ashton Kutcher and Lil Wayne.

Even as you read this, we are still working on improving the Bublcam and mobile app in order to improve capture. We are aware of discussions in the community regarding the challenges associated with achieving consistent colour and clear detail in spherical media. We are testing with the Bublcam everyday in an effort to improve this and provide you with the appropriate settings to capture the best possible media. Remember to continually visit your Xplor app on your mobile device or Bubl.io online for the latest content from the Bubl team.

We hope you are getting excited about receiving your Bublcams, we are definitely getting excited about being able to ship them.

Some very important updates are coming your way in the next few weeks so until then thanks so much for staying with us and being a part of our community and we hope you enjoy xploring the beginnings of our world of bubls.

The broadcasting industry has more avenues today to build and communicate with viewers than ever before. Broadcasting is no longer just about the TV show or movie you’re watching on the big screen or in the comforts of home. It’s about the culture of engagement created around the content by media networks in the digital world. How can you extend the programming experience to viewers’ devices and social communities? To gain their loyalty and turn them into advocates?

We are starting to get a glimpse at the amazing work contributors are doing with this type of engaging content. MTV, for example has endless options for viewers to engage with them digitally. Tumblr,YouTube,Instagram and other accounts exploit digital to provide viewers with unlimited entertainment and clever ways to keep fans in the loop with what’s happening. Creation of this engagement content takes massive teams of bright minded and creative individuals who also need to consider what is new and hot in digital trends.

MTV shared one of our bubl videos converted to a gif on their Tumblr feed from the recent MTV Woodies Awards show.

Here is the gif file of the bubl from the awards show.

The more we speak to members of this vast industry the more we understand the place of spherical media in its realm. VR, 360-degree and spherical media have seen a huge amount of attention so far this year and are positioned to skyrocket in popularity throughout 2015. There is still a long road ahead but this will be an integral part of any digital strategy in the broadcasting world very soon.

Do you agree? What do you think about how spherical media fits into broadcasting?

 

 

Earlier this month we were selected to participate as a contributing artist in an amazing upcoming educational event here in Toronto called the TIFF Kids digiPlaySpace. This event runs through the March Break and is put together as a fun learning opportunity for kids, families and educators. Installations from Canadian and international media artists feature learning-centric video games, robotics, mobile apps, hands-on activities and workshops.

Something we’ve noticed about our technology is that it seems to be shockingly intuitive for younger generations when compared to adults. As soon as we put a spherical image in front of a child their immediate reaction is to begin exploring the content. Whereas, adults seem to stare right at the image, waiting for an indicator that encourages them to touch and play.

Our contribution to the TIFF event was quite simple; we loaded some spherical content into our pilot mobile app for iOS (provided by TIFF). An iPad was projected onto a larger screen and iPhones were inserted into two head-mounted devices for a virtual reality immersive experience.

This event has sparked some thinking for us around the applications of spherical technology in the education sector. I spoke briefly about the topic with Dallas Kachan, VP Marketing at Edsby, a software company creating next generation learning management systems. A very interesting point he made was that education seems to be the last sector on the planet to adopt new technology although it is perhaps one that could most benefit from it. Technology could have a much larger role than it currently does in facilitating the learning process.

And while this generation of children, coined as “digital natives,” are most receptive to this format of learning the applications span a much broader user base.

Spherical technology for the creation of virtual content can enable a long list of educational use cases. Not the least of those including vocational experiences for teenagers learning about career paths, young drivers, simulation training in aviation and military, just to name a few.

Even more significant are the applications in industrial use. Providing new hires with immersive experiences with environments and tools in a virtual way can save time and money in the onboarding process compared to traditional methods. This is likewise applicable in continued education and training of a workforce.

Accessibility of this technology will enable increasing adoption and we are very excited to see progress in this sector. If you happen to be in the city of Toronto over the coming weeks we encourage you to go and check out the TIFF Kids digiPlaySpace event. It runs from March 7th to April 19th and don’t miss our Bubl installation at the entrance to the artists section.

Virtual reality is a hot topic in technology today and it seems like it is only just the beginning. Up until very recently the content that was generated for virtual environments was entirely digital, created through computer programs for the purpose of gaming or training / simulation. The dawn of spherical camera devices such as the Bublcam has created new opportunities for virtual reality content creation. This has propelled the development of affordable virtual reality head-mounted devices to visualize real world spherical and 360-degree content.

Virtual reality is typically described as an immersive, visual, 3D environment. The truth is – what makes the experience 3D has nothing to do with the head-mounted device you are using to view the content, it is all based on the content you are visualizing itself. While through computer programming we are able to create 3D environments, real world content that is captured in 360-degrees or in a sphere is almost always, 2D.

 

At Bubl, we look at it as upstream and downstream-based VR. Downstream VR is what most of the VR world waits for to download. Incredibly visual and complex digital stereoscopic 3D environments, for gaming and storytelling that can take quite a long time to create. Upstream VR is primarily about real world content that is captured utilizing spherical and 360-degree video cameras or camera rigs that capture content and upload it to a device for VR-based consumption.

There are a number of complexities associated with capturing 3D content from the real world, most importantly, capturing all the data required from the environment in order for it to be stereoscopic can be a hugely expensive and time consuming process. In the interest of enablement, real life footage captured in a sphere is projected in a viewer, providing the perception of a virtual environment even though you are simply immersed in a 2D projection.

Another important consideration regarding the evolution of virtual reality today is the head-mounted displays. The Oculus Rift is a display itself, therefore the content has to be fed to the device through a program, application or a web browser. This is different from headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR, Google Cardboard and others that insert a mobile device to visualize content via a split screen hosted in a mobile application.

At Bubl we see virtual reality as a major component of our business. Spherical content captured with the Bublcam is compatible with any head-mounted device. Our mobile applications enable the split screen format by allowing you to simply toggle between content views such as gyroscope, tactile and VR.

Bublcam Content in Split Screen

 

We are certain that 2015 will be an amazing year for virtual reality and we are excited to be contributing to the advancement of this industry. We have not made any adjustments to the current production schedule, meaning we anticipate the first shipments of Bublcams for spring of this year. While we understand that this is a less specific timeframe than many of you would want, it is necessary in order to not disappoint with missed deadlines.

Pertaining to the Bublcam’s enabling of virtual reality, you can expect to see the toggle functionality within our mobile applications for content visualization in a head-mounted display when you receive your cams. In addition to this, we will make a Bubl branded head-mounted display to be paired with all mobile devices available for purchase as an accessory by the summer.

While glitz and glamour continues to help spherical camera technology make its mark in the entertainment and gaming domains, other diverse applications emerge and are helping to shape the Bublcam’s future today.

We are attending Distributech Conference & Exhibition in San Diego, California this week. This is the premier event for decision makers in a variety of utilities domains. We wanted to provide some context regarding why we are attending this event and what place spherical photo & video technology has in this market. From usage on drones to construction sites and documentation of underground infrastructure we have found that the applications are extremely vast.

In better understanding some of these amazing applications, we are developing accessories to support the workflow needs of players in this market. One such partnership with a major North American utility authority fueled the development of this hot stick lamp attachment for the Bublcam:

With an 18V Lithium Ion battery pack, this clever lighting system simultaneously charges the Bublcam allowing spherical capture of dark and hard to see places.

Major considerations for our team in this sector include enabling asset documentation and management and, of high importance, education of the next generation of skilled workers.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use the Bublcam to fuel your utilities business, contact us at sales@bublcam.com.

There have been a number of questions regarding the power capabilities of the Bublcam over the past months. Until now we have indicated that the Bublcam “out-consumes” itself in terms of power. Meaning, you could not have the Bublcam running while connected to an external power source without it inevitably draining the battery at some point. The reason for this had to do with previous technology limitations and USB2 compliance.
We are so happy to be able to share with all of you that by utilizing a new configuration and a newly available power switch we made the power consumption and charging of the device much smarter. The Bublcam is now able to run indefinitely when plugged in. Alternatively, using an external USB power source you are able to greatly extend battery life.

 

While there are a number of factors that will impact the overall power consumption of the device, we determined the current battery capabilities to be roughly 45 minutes off a full charge if continuously capturing video. With this advancement, you’ll have much more flexibility considering where you are able to capture video and for how long.
The new configuration allows you to continuously capture spherical content without ever worrying about running out of battery.
As we continue on our way towards full scale production, look forward to more exciting updates from our fabulous team here at Bubl Technology.
This improvement has not impacted our production schedule. We still intend to reach full scale production by spring of this year.

One of the exciting announcements made this week at CES 2015 was YouTube’s soon to be support of 360-degree enabled content. Considering Google’s Street View technology already supports this feature, it does not come as a surprise that Google would roll this out with their video player, YouTube.

The important thing to know is what device(s) will enable you to upload your 360-degree (or in our case, spherical) content to take advantage of this new feature?

Bubl Technology Inc. has already been collaborating with Google to allow anyone to create their own Street View by uploading photo spheres and sharing them on Google Maps and Google+.

We wanted to take this opportunity to confirm with you that any spherical content captured with the Bublcam will be viewable with Google products including YouTube when support is enabled.

For further coverage on this topic please refer to the following articles:

NDTV: YouTube Confirms 360-Degree Video Support Rolling Out in ‘Coming Week’s

GMA News: YouTube to support 360-degree videos soon

TechSpot: YouTube to add support for 360-degree videos in the coming weeks

KollyTalk: YouTube to launch 360 degree video support in next few weeks

Gizmodo Australia: YouTube Will Soon Support 360-Degree Video Uploads

Gizmodo: YouTube Will Soon Support 360-Degree Video Uploads

Engadget: YouTube is almost ready to take your 360-degree videos

PRESS RELEASE

 

Bubl, a leading technology firm based in Toronto, was recognized at the 4th annual Vision to Reality Awards event held by PWC Canada.

Toronto, Ontario (PRWEB), Thursday November 6, 2014 – Bubl awarded as one of the Top 10 Up-and-Coming Technology Companies.

The 4th annual Vision to Reality Awards were held by PWC Canada on Thursday November 6th, 2014. The Vision to Reality program celebrates dynamic start-up companies that have demonstrated notable growth and hit impressive benchmarks, making them Canadian companies to watch.

The elite group of press, industry enthusiasts and finalists gathered over dinner with Guest Speaker, Michael Hyatt, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Bluecat Networks.

Bubl was selected from a list of 20 finalists ranging from mobile application and communications developers, to wearable tech designers, cloud service developers and more. All respected leaders in their area of expertise.
This award comes at a great time for the company. Its invention, the Bublcam, a 360⁰ panoramic camera that comes with a proprietary software, is just about ready to hit the market.

“It has been a great year for the Bublcam. We are excited to be a part of this select group of Canadian technology innovators.”

- Sean Ramsay, CEO, Bubl Technology

About Bubl: Bubl developed the first market ready spherical camera, the Bublcam, which captures 100% of the spherical range through photos and videos. The camera sells with a proprietary Bubl software that allows users to look up, down and in every direction to fully interact with the content they and others have created.

Joanna Taccone
Marketing Communications Manager, Bubl Technology Inc.
joanna@bublcam.com