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TourWrist's 360-degree panoramas add another dimension

April 19, 2012 | Hogan Keyser
TourWrist.jpgApril 18, 2012 by Heather Kelly via ISPR -- Remember virtual reality tours, those 360-degree panoramic photos you could navigate with your mouse? They were hot for a while, popping up on every real estate agent and hotel site, but the low quality and jerky navigation made them feel antiquated and oh-so Web 1.0. TourWrist began reviving the art form last year by taking it mobile and adding a slick user interface.

Now the company is taking the images further with an update to its iPhone and iPad app, new APIs and SDKs, and neat interactivity features, which the company presented today at the DEMO Spring 2012 conference in Santa Clara, Calif.

TourWrist gave a sneak peek of two new features due out in May. First are PanoSpots, which link multiple panoramas together Google Street View-style, and give them more depth by linking to photos, videos, brands, audio, websites, and Facebook profiles. The real fun demonstration was of the trippy planar acceleration controls, which will allow you to physically step forward or back while holding up an iOS device to move between panoramas, go through doors, and check out other linked panoramas or information.

Smartphones and tablets have a few key features that are making these types of immersive photos relevant again: GPS, built-in cameras, touch screens, and accelerometers. Using the free iPhone and iPad app, you can view panoramas by categories or location, and navigate by touch or the neat motion-based gryo mode. You can make a panorama of your own surroundings by just moving the device around and capturing the scene with its back-facing camera. The new app update (v2.3.2) adds image preview, editing, and offline shooting options, as well as improved stitching, shooting support for the new iPad, and Retina display support.

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