Owl Labs launches robotic video conference camera

A startup backed by Andy Rubin’s Playground incubator and venture capital firm has rolled out a new hardware product, one that addresses the pain points of an unexciting but crucial area of business technology: video conferencing systems. 

Owl Labs’ new camera, called Owl, is a thermos-shaped, robotic video camera that captures a 360-degree view of a meeting space and automatically shifts its point of focus to show whoever is talking in the meeting. This robotic shifting is supposed to replace the remote controls or awkward manual turning of cameras that happens sometimes during video conference meetings.

The Owl is a 2.6-pound, fabric-covered Wi-Fi device with two round LED indicator lights and a custom-designed fish-eye lens at its crown. All of the imagery is captured in 720p HD from the fish-eye lens. It has an eight-microphone array at the top, built-in speakers, and connects to a computer or monitor via USB. It runs on a forked version of Android, and is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 processor.