Announced during the IFA 2013 consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, the Ricoh Theta is claimed to be the first mass-produced camera that can take spherical pictures in one shot.
It houses a proprietary ultra-small twin-lens folded optical system that can capture the scene around, above and below the device in just one shot. The end results can then be viewed on an iPhone, where you can move around the image, left, right, up and down. The Theta has built-in Wi-Fi to transmit pictures.
In addition, a picture can be output as a single, circular image or shared on Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter.
As well as an iPhone application, Ricoh plans to introduce an Android version before the end of the year.
"The Theta enables people to capture, explore and share their creativity and new visions of life," said Wataru Ohtani, an associate director at Ricoh. "By encapsulating everything and everybody within a cohesive sphere in one simple shot, it will help users to perceive the interconnections that we all share. It connects users with their own cognitive and non-cognitive senses, and ultimately with other people."
The Ricoh Theta is available to pre-order from a dedicated website at theta360.com. It will start to ship in October and will cost £329.