Insta360 installed a 4K webcam on a three-axis gimbal

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The pandemic has changed technology in a number of unexpected ways, not the least of which is showing much-needed love for one of the most neglected categories of consumer hardware. Opal has become one of the most interesting young hardware companies in recent times, while Apple finally stopped procrastinating and updated its Mac webcams. And when it didn’t quite shake out as planned, the company gave us a plan b.

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In the world of webcams, there is still plenty of room to shake things up. The truth is that we have been doing this for 2.5 years and virtual meetings will probably become the norm from now on. Shenzhen Insta360 – best known for its action and 360 cameras – has just unveiled an extremely new approach to space.

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Image credits: Insta360

The $300 Link is a 4K webcam with a ½-inch sensor mounted on a triaxial gimbal. The system uses artificial intelligence to automatically adjust its positioning and keep the user in the center of the frame. Think of it a bit like Apple Center Stage software paired with hardware that bears more than a passing resemblance to DJI Pocket Gimbal Imaging System.

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The system only does digital zoom (up to 4x), which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity, but given that most of what you’re shooting at the moment likely won’t require 4K resolution, it should be able to cut tighter. without losing clarity. The system will also quickly autofocus on subjects up to four inches away.

The system can be controlled using gestures, which allows, among other things, automatic switching between different modes. The list includes:

  • Whiteboard View: Enhance a dedicated whiteboard area to give students or meeting attendees a clearer view.
  • Portrait Mode: Live streaming with a fully uncropped 9:16 image for optimal viewing on mobile devices and the best image quality.
  • Top mode. Capture accurate top-down views with Link mounted on a desktop stand, perfect for product unpacking or design sketching.

Image credits: Insta360

The swivel mount allows for a number of different features, including a privacy mode that points it downwards to stop capturing video about 10 seconds after a call ends.

The system is designed to work with Windows and macOS systems, as well as with various popular video conferencing platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and Google Meet. Sound is recorded through a pair of built-in noise-cancelling microphones.

So, is this all redundant? Yes, probably for 95% of users. Link is actually a consumer-facing version of those extremely expensive videoconferencing systems you see in corporate boardrooms. I have to imagine that most people spend most of their time sitting still during video conferences, but there might be some smart apps here for Twitch and other video streamers that want to shake things up a bit.


Credit: techcrunch.com /

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