Get 3D Videos from a Smartphone for $35, Maybe

Eye-Plug is a new, tiny external camera device that plugs into your Android phone's reversible USB-C port to produce 3D video and photo content in conjunction with your phone's built-in camera. Previewed by Engadget at Computex 2016, which kicked off today in Taipei, the Eye-Plug promises to be useful for a variety of applications and will supposedly cost only $35, which Engadget is unsure about.

The price did come from the company's spokesperson, but even with the cost of mass-produced, small cameras used in mobile devices coming down so much because of the scale at which they're being produced, $35 seems a bit light for the features this device will offer. Then again, if a healthy profit can be made at that price, all the better for us, right?

Eye-Plug uses the reversible connection of USB-C to offer three-dimensional content both for selfies as well as for the rear-facing camera. If your phone's camera isn't set perfectly in the center of the top portion of the phone, Eye-Plug's software promises to compensate (somewhat). But regardless, the applications for the extra camera seem pretty neat with plenty of potential for growth.

This image from their website (and others with this orange design) seem to depict a micro-USB version of the Eye-Plug with a swiveling feature that does away with the need for a reversible connector such as USB-C or the Lightning connector Apple uses in its iPhones. The lack of mention of this is a bit confusing in light of other news surrounding the device's debut.

While you can shoot 3D videos with Eye-Plug, you can also take photographs with 3D information that allow you to do things like change the background behind a portrait of a person, "refocus" after the shot (which isn't really refocusing, but instead blurs areas of the image at other depths), and apply general effects to areas of varying depths.

In the future, perhaps we could see Eye-Plug expanding to enable 3D mapping applications such as those provided by devices that are currently much more expensive, such as the Structure Sensor or Geomatic Capture.

For now, Eye-Plug is only working in an Android version, but another version for iPhone is supposedly in the works. Whether or not that (or any of the model) comes out in time before it's potentially made obsolete by in-phone 3D-camera capabilities, rumored to be in future devices such as the iPhone 7 Plus, is another question that might be an additional factor in the price of the product.

[via Engadget]

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