The Samsung Gear 360 camera was announced recently in Barcelona, and will be available this spring.
(The Samsung Gear 360 Camera video)
The Gear 360 is a tiny, double-lensed sphere of a camera that's supposed to make shooting and sharing 360-degree photos and videos easy and approachable. (Let's just say it — it looks like an eyeball.) The bottom of the camera is flat, so it can rest on most surfaces, and it also features a standard tripod mount. The Gear 360 is mostly featureless on the outside, with just menu, record, and power buttons and a tiny monochrome PMOLED screen dotting the white plastic finish. There's also a slot for the microSD card (up to 128GB supported) and a swappable battery, both of which are hidden behind a small door. The camera is only splash-proof and dust resistant, though, so don't expect it to take a beating.
In his excellent 1969 novel The Man in the Maze, Robert Silverberg writes about recording eyes which were a lot tougher than the Samsung Gear 360 camera - you could drop them (by the thousands) from space onto a planet you wanted to know about. Here's what the output looked like:
Muller saw a cloud-wrapped planet... it could have been Venus... The recording eye pierced the cloud layer and revealed an unfamiliar, not very Earthlike planet. The soil looked moist and spongy, and rubbery trees that looked like giant toadstools thrust upward from it...
...three alien figures came strolling through the somber grove. They were elongated, almost spidery, with clusters of eight or ten jointed limbs depending from their narrow shoulders...
One of them paused, bent peered closely at the ground. It scooped up the eye that had been witnessing its activities.
(Read more about Silverberg's recording eyes)