When Mark Zuckerberg took his first steps, his parents marked the date in a good old fashioned baby book. Years later, when one of his cousins walked for the first time, mom and dad captured the moment with a photo. And just recently, when Zuckerberg’s niece learned to walk, his sister caught it on video.
But with his own daughter, Max, the Facebook founder and CEO aims to go one level higher. He wants to capture all 360 degrees of the moment using the 17 lenses of a stereoscopic 3D camera. “When Max takes her first step, we’ll be able to capture that whole scene, not just write down the date or take a photo or take a little 2-D video,” he says. “The people we want to share this with…can go there. They can experience that moment.”
Today at Facebook’s F8 conference in San Francisco, the centerpiece of its year, Zuckerberg and company revealed that they’ve spent the past year building such a camera, a device they call the Facebook Surround360. Zuckerberg plans on putting one in his home as Max, now four months old, reaches walking age. But he doesn’t just want one for himself. Facebook plans on freely sharing the camera’s designs with the world at large, including not only the hardware schematics but the rather complex software needed to stitch the camera’s images into a sweeping, 360-degree whole.