Arqball Spin is a curious mix of hardware and software, with a very niche but very cool purpose: to create interactive 3-D photos. By combining an iOS app with a hardware turntable, Arqball is able to “film” a spinning object and then render it as a touchable 3-D model which can be spun using your fingers.
[The app](http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/arqball-spin/id507266964?ls=1&mt=8), for iPhone and iPad, is free, and you can use it to download and use other people’s “spins.” To make your own models, you’ll need to put an object onto a turntable which is capable of spinning once in exactly 20.02 seconds, or just under 3rpm. Not coincidentally, the app is partnered with a [Kickstarter project](http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/860917639/arqball-spin-3d-for-everyone) which will sell you just such a turntable for $60.
This would all be great, especially for gadget bloggers — imagine if we could show you 360˚ images of reviewed items that you could spin around with your own fingers. But things start to go downhill pretty fast.
First, you can only upload 5 spins before you have to start paying. This is cool, as the app is free, but if I have just dropped $60 on the hardware, I want more than that (you can delete spins to free up space for new ones, if you like).
That I could live with, though. The real problem is lock-in. You can view the spins on the Arqball website of in the app, and that’s it. There seems to be no way to export them, nor embed them. So while you can create great interactive 3-D models of real objects (or messy, jerky video clips of yourself spinning around in your living room like I did), those clips are stuck in a data silo.
So, if you want to spend $60, plus $10 per month for 100 “shared spins,” go ahead. Just don’t expect to be able to do much with them.
- Via [TUAW