by Jens Christensen -
When Tom, a co-founder, went on a trip to Zion National Park in the spring of 2013, he was in awe of the overwhelming beauty he had experienced. But as he went through the pictures on his phone, he became frustrated that there wasn’t a way to truly capture his experience on the flat, rectangular image on the screen. The impact that the national park had had on him was profound, and was simply not conveyed by the photos he took.
He sent Arthur, also a co-founder, and me an email expressing his frustration. Wouldn’t it be amazing if one could combine a high-powered camera with VR goggles to truly capture the beauty of the place and be immersed in it while viewing it? “Then I could visit the grandeur of places like Zion any time I wanted,” he wrote in his email.
It had real potential. The first Oculus Rift developer kit had just shipped to Kickstarter backers. If we could build a 360-3D camera and related software, you could take a virtual jaunt anywhere in the world at any time from anywhere, to recharge, be inspired, or just escape and gain a different frame of reference.
Imagine: you would be able to travel the world virtually. You would be able to go to exotic locations, fly on a hot air balloon, dive deep into the ocean, all without leaving your home. You would be able to sit courtside at a sporting event and experience not only the game but also the crowd and the atmosphere. You would be able to take part in a concert or opera, view the performance with amazing sound and feel the energy. Imagine being able to see your grandchildren opening their presents half way across the world on Christmas morning, see their faces, the dog by the tree in the corner and the food in the kitchen behind you. What if we could make feature films this way? It would be an entirely new type of storytelling. There are possible applications not just for entertainment, but in education, in healthcare, in job training... it’s an almost endless list.
The more we thought about the potential applications of this technology, the more excited we got. This could change and enrich the very way we experience the world. We became convinced that it was something we had to explore.
Developing the technology to a point where we could actually film 360-3D video and 3D audio and make it of a good enough quality to feel real would be a huge undertaking. This wasn’t just a matter of creating a camera that could capture everything around it, we would have to figure out the software to make the video seamless and build the 3D audio to match. We would have to build a custom camera, come up with complex computational algorithms and develop a custom VR player. It wasn’t going to be easy but we decided to dive in.
For the next few months, we pursued the idea. We put together prototypes, just trying to determine if it was possible.
After building our first prototype to prove the concept last fall, we closed our first round of financing and officially became Jaunt. We began recruiting the best people to further develop the 3D-360 video and 3D audio software, to develop the next generation camera prototype, and to start creating content.
In a little over a year, we have built an amazing team, created a camera that has already traveled the world, and are capturing sights, sounds, and experiences in ways never before possible. Today, you can put on VR goggles and have an immersive experience beyond your imagination.
The most exciting thing is that we’re just getting started. The possibilities of this technology have only continued to multiply and we come to the office every day inspired to push it forward.
In the coming weeks and months we’ll begin to share company news, tell you about what we’re working on, the concepts and ideas that drive our developments, and give you some insight into Jaunt.
If you’d like to learn more about our founders, are interested in joining the Jaunt team, or want more info about our technology, check out our website. You can sign up to receive regular email updates, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Google+ to keep current with our latest news.
Questions or feedback? We’d love to hear from you.
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