With just two eyes smack dab in the middle of your head, you're actually missing out on about half the world. You know, the stuff going on behind you. The Kogeto dot, a $79 lens that snaps onto your iPhone, remedies that error of evolution, shooting 360-degree panoramic videos. Better yet, the videos are interactive, letting you explore the world around you from all angles.
Design and Setup
The plastic Kogeto dot isn't exactly industrial-grade material, but its cross-body clamp secures tightly onto the iPhone and lays a somewhat funky cone-shaped lens above the phone's camera. That's it for installation. Then, simply download the corresponding free app, Given the shape and camera placement, the Dot only works for the iPhone 4 and 4S, and you have to remove any case you have protecting the phone.
To use the dot, just set the iPhone on a flat surface, and tap the Record button in the app. Once you've shot the video, or as the Dot community calls it, a ‘DotSpot,' the app will process the information and save a clip onto your phone. Processing time varies by the length of your video, and the longest crunching time we experienced was about two minutes and 45 seconds for a three-minute-long clip. Once your video has saved, the app provides options to quickly email it or share it to Facebook, Twitter or to Kogeto's website. At the latter location, you can also view videos shot by other dot owners.
Unlike a traditional video, recordings shot with the dot can be navigated during playback to rotate the viewing angle. This of course is the whole appeal of the gadget; it's an experience similar to browsing around a ‘virtual' apartment online, where clicking and dragging changes the angle.
The video is by no means high-definition. In general, movies were dimly lit with dull colors, and objects at a distance are blurred; it feels like you're peeking through a keyhole. However, being able to interactively watch a scene from all viewpoints opens up a lot of possibilities (think meetings around a table, vehicle stunts or secretly recording a roommate's unknown reaction to a prank). And because the Dot doesn't use stitched frames, the continuity and clarity is actually pretty good. The audio was clear and fairly precise, considering that it literally comes from every direction.
Complete 360-degree views are no longer reserved for owls and demon-possessed children. Though the video quality isn't the best, the Kogeto dot's novelty makes it very cool. While $79 is a lot to pay for less-than-stellar image quality, shooting your own Matrix-like rotating videos and catching more than you can with your eyes is something you'll get addicted to.