BARCELONA—A 360-degree camera isn’t a new idea. There’s the Samsung Gear 360, Moto 360, even the Essential 360. The commonality here is that pretty much all of them require the use of at least one of your hands or a mount. The FITT 360 does not. It’s a neckband, similar to the some of the sports-style Bluetooth neckbands that fit around your collar and stay out of your way while you exercise.
The FITT 360 I tried was just a prototype, but it provided a good idea of what the final version will look like. The body is a band of flexible molded plastic that comes in three different size adjusters, which should fit comfortably around most people’s necks.
The device is IP6X water resistant and can withstand reasonable drops and shocks, as well as sweat and heat. The one I tried was pretty loose and the plastic adjustment band not particularly comfortable, but a booth representative assured me that later models will have padding to ensure a more comfortable fit.
That said, the band was lightweight and wearing it around my neck, it was easy to see the advantages of that placement; it seemed especially useful for travelers and live bloggers. Press a button to start recording and view video playback via a smartphone app. The built-in rechargeable battery supports 90 minutes of video recording, which seems to be on par with other 4K 360-degree cameras.
With two cameras on the back and one on the front, the FITT records 4K 360-degree video without your hands or fleshy body getting in the way of the shot. I watched a really cool, immersive first-person recording of a person walking through the convention floor of Mobile World Congress. In the smartphone app, swiping around showed you a view of everything happening in the general area. The footage was clear and optical image stabilization kept the video from jittering.
That said, I did notice some seams and distortion in places where the image was stitched together, though a FITT rep said that could be fixed by software; they’re still tweaking many aspects of the device.
Other useful features are support for livestreaming and an embedded GPS that supports location tracking and mapping of videos you take. Potentially, you can even create your own personal street views of places you’ve visited. And finally, when you’re not recording, you’re able to use the FITT 360 as a Bluetooth headset to take phone calls or listen to recordings.
The FITT 360 will cost about $699, which seems reasonable for what you get. It’s expected to start shipping in October 2018, first to Kickstarter backers and then to the general public.