The D3-U is the World’s First Physical Camera for Virtual Worlds

Virtual reality cameras just got real. Literally. The D3-U is the world’s first physical “camera” device that’s designed to take photos in virtual worlds.

The HTC VIVE virtual reality headset recently added a new accessory called the VIVE Tracker. It’s a small device you can attach to real-world objects to bring them into virtual reality games.

The VIVE Tracker attached to the front of the D3-U VR camera.

In conjunction with the VIVE Tracker being announced at CES 2017, the design studio dotdotdash announced the D3-U, which it describes as, “an advanced image capture device that features a holographic viewfinder, physical controls at the user’s fingertips, and a lightweight, balanced body beautifully finished in matte black.”

Wearing the VIVE virtual reality headset, users can hold and use their D3-U camera like they would a real-world camera. To show off the D3-U’s capabilities, dotdotdash created a VR experience called Exoplanet. Players are given a photo assignment of shooting a mysterious life form called Arche on the extrasolar planet Kepler 22-b.

Virtual photographers can capture images of Arche using full-spectrum, X-Ray, subatomic, and thermal camera filters.

What’s neat is that the virtual photos captured in-game are then printed out as physical prints, allowing the photographer to hold their work (similar to what the game “Firewatch” does).

Here’s a short video that introduces the D3-U and shows it in action:

No word yet on whether the D3-U is something that will arrive on the market or how much it would cost, but it’s likely the first of many similar products that will bring photography into the VR space.

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