Ricoh Theta 360 App Contest Winners Announced

The most innovative applications for Ricoh's spherical camera

By PF Staff in Photo Industry News on Nov 9, 2016
Ricoh Theta 360 App Contest Winners Announced

On November 7th, Ricoh Imaging announced the winners of this year's official Theta 360-degree app contest.  A prize pool of approximately $50,000 (5 million Yen) will be split among the 13 winners.

The contest called upon developers to submit innovative apps (involving the Ricoh Theta) between April 1st and August 10th.  While the contest was sponsored mainly by Japanese companies, it attracted submissions from 11 different countries.

A handful of the winning apps are available to the public, such as Vanish360 on Google Play, or Theta EYE, a streaming web service.  To help facilitate the contest, Ricoh furnished an extensive API for controlling the Theta's various functions.  However, many submissions chose to instead focus on image processing— which can be very interesting yet challenging when dealing with spherical images.

The current flagship Theta S spherical camera supports live video streaming over HDMI and USB.  It can also be wirelessly controlled over Wi-Fi, with features such as live view and semi-manual exposure.  The camera has been class-leading and was recently listed as Amazon's #1 best seller within the compact camera category in a number of countries, including the US, Canada, and UK.

Theta S Review | Theta SC Press Release

In October, Ricoh Launched the Theta SC- nearly identical to the Theta S, but slightly cheaper and more compact.

Theta cameras can capture your entire surroundings at the push of a single button.  The images can be interacted with or flattened for conventional display.  Both of the current models deliver high-quality 14-megapixel stills and can capture video in full HD.

While the winning apps aren't likely to be game-changers for consumers using the Theta, this contest underscores Ricoh Imaging's commitment to innovation in today's rapidly-changing photo industry.  We are looking forward to seeing if similar developments will involve other Pentax models in the near future.

Learn more about the app contest and its winners in the press release below.

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Press Release

Ricoh Selects the Winning Works of

the RICOH THETA × IoT Developers Contest

First Prize Goes to "Shotoku Tamago"

TOKYO, November 7, 2016 Ricoh today held the awards ceremony of the RICOH THETA x IoT Developers Contest and announced the winning works at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo). The contest is part of the events marking the 80th anniversary of Ricoh's establishment. Among the 54 works of applications from 11 countries and regions, "Shotoku Tamago" by Infocom Technical Planning Office was chosen for the First Prize. "Shotoku Tamago" is a system used for remote communications combining spherical movies and omnidirectional sounds.

Capable of taking 360-degree, spherical images or movies in one shot, RICOH THETA is expected to offer many different uses in the coming IoT society. Based on RICOH THETA's concept  of creating a product through the effort of not only the manufacture alone but with the involvement of the users, the contest extensively sought entries of apps and gadgets that work in conjunction with RICOH THETA, including apps using a new platform for the IoT age, which was provided to the applicants in advance. The following are the winning works and the comments of their entries.

First Prize (1)

"Shotoku Tamago" Infocom Technical Planning Office

A communication system that displays images in the direction where a sound comes from, in real-time, by combining 360-degree, spherical movies with omnidirectional sounds.

Second Prize (3)

"THETA EYE" THETA EYE

A web service to live stream RICOH THETA's images.

"360 stream to AR app for image-based lighting and real-time reflections" grigtod *United Kingdom

The plug-in uses RICOH THETA's 360-degree movies to create IBL*1 for AR in real-time.

"360EyeToEar" StrawberrySaurs

The system converts visual information (a person's face) into audio information and communicates these images using sounds in real-time.

80th Anniversary Prize (5)

"Veaver Theta S Mobility Streamer" Team Veaver ( from IOK Company ) *South Korea

The app is designed to live stream RICOH THETA's movies on YouTubeTM and other media.

"VANISH360" ViRD

While using RICOH THETA, passersby or the photographer may be unintentionally captured in an image or a movie. This app eliminates this problem.

"Sun Light Estimator"  Masashi Baba

The app uses RICOH THETA to create HDR (high dynamic range) images for IBL.

"Next Number VR360" muteua

The game involves sequentially capturing tiles that are numbered from 1 to 32 covering a 360-degree image by positioning each tile in front of player's view, and erasing them.

"i-Ball, an underwater, fully spherical system for real-time image distribution" Tanigawa and Yamagata

Real-time image distribution system for underwater photography.

Honorable Mentions (4)

"Panomate" Magichour Corporation

A web service designed to create panoramic images for use in the real estate business from a 360-degree image taken by RICOH THETA.

"MOUTHETA" virtual dentist center

The gadget uses an insertion opening on a piece of paper, a plate, or something similar through which RICOH THETA can shoot an intraoral movie.

"THETA Monitoring System" Tsukasa Horinouchi

Surveillance system using RICOH THETA.

"World in a jar – A world in a Jam Jar" MIRO

Machine for projecting 360-degree images that have been processed into reversal film slides, onto an object, such as a spherical container.

*1. IBL (image-based lighting) is a method of lighting that uses computer graphics as a light source.

Comments

Ken Sakamura, Chief Judge of the Contest

RICOH THETA × IoT Developers Contest is now in its second year and this year called for applications and gadgets that use RICOH THETA. As the title suggests, this year's contest was held with the theme of IoT (Internet of Things), a keyword of our time. As a result, there were new types of submissions never seen before, which was especially impressive. The projects submitted included applications which showed a strong collaboration between RICOH THETA and the cloud as well as gadgets for RICOH THETA in which small computers are embedded and work with the cloud. Also, it is great to see so many entries from a diverse number of countries across the globe.

Among the many high quality submissions, the First Prize this year was awarded to "Shotoku Tamago" which made excellent use of the features of RICOH THETA, and is a highly practical solution that has been finished to a very high standard. Second Prizes were awarded to "THETA EYE" which allows you to perform 360-degree live video streaming easily via the cloud, "360 stream to AR app for image-based lighting and real-time reflections" which tackled IBL (Image Based Lighting) in AR to be used widely in applications of RICOH THETA in the future, and "360EyeToEar" which offers a creative idea of converting vision to hearing.

Taking on many challenges intensively is the only way to increase the probability of bringing about innovation. Using prizes to drive innovation by means of a competition, the most famous one being from the X prize foundation, is now widely used and has produced good results. This technique has achieved significant progress in developing automated driving and humanoid robots in the U.S. I hope a new trend for product development will be created together with users by adopting the new ideas developed in this contest.

The general quality of the works has improved markedly when compared to last year. Once again, may I repeat my belief that innovation can only be achieved by regularly repeating challenges. I look forward to a bright future for the RICOH THETA and this competition.

Contest Overview

Sponsor

Ricoh Company, Ltd.

Co-sponsor

YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory

Special Cooperation

Institute of Infrastructure Application of Ubiquitous Computing, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, Graduate School, the University of Tokyo

Cooperation

National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
DWANGO Co., Ltd.

Judging criteria

Innovative concept appropriate for IoT
Entries will be judged comprehensively based on the points below:
• Whether it is innovative (originality)
• Whether it represents a vision (promise for the future, can be developed further)
• Whether it would yield practical benefits

Judges

• Ken Sakamura, Professor of Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, the University of Tokyo
• Atsushi Ozawa, Principal Investigator(Science Communication), National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), Japan
• Ryotaro Muramatsu, CEO/Director, NAKED Inc.
• Toshihiro Shimizu, General Manager of Human Resources Department, DWANGO Co., Ltd.
• Shiro Kondo, Representative Director and Chairman of Ricoh

Awards

First Prize (one award): 1 million yen
Second Prize (three awards): 500,000 yen
80th Anniversary Prize (five awards): 300,000 yen
Honorable Mention (four awards): 100,000 yen

Detailed information

Contest overview, comments, etc.
RICOH THETA x IoT Developers Contest website
http://contest.theta360.com/index-en.html

About YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory (UNL)

UNL promotes research and development in ubiquitous computing and IoT (Internet of Things) technology, in which many objects in our surroundings are embedded with small computer nodes with sensors and actuators that communicate with each other and operate in a cooperative manner to offer sophisticated services to human users.    

www.ubin.jp/en

About National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)

Miraikan (The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation) highlights cutting-edge science and technology as "new knowledge and innovation" through various methods, such as permanent and special exhibitions, events, on the web. To arouse the interest of the general public, Miraikan is developing methods of expression and communication to present the information in an easy-to-understand manner.

http://www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en/

*One of its official partners since October 2006, Ricoh is helping the next generation get acquainted with science and technology.

About DWANGO Co., Ltd.

DWANGO Co., Ltd., is an entertainment company striving to create the next generation of network communication throughout various genres such as gaming and music.

Our products include online and packaged games, music services for mobile, and "niconico douga"— a service that has over 50 million registered users and is one of Japan's largest video sites.

http://dwango.co.jp/english/

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