The new lens images everything from 180 degrees vertically – i.e. everything above it – while capturing the entire environment in the horizontal plane. Previous 360 lenses have only managed 45 degrees upwards.
The special glass used to make the optic is 3cm in diameter and Olympus are suggesting that their new creation will be used primarily for surveillance cameras. Hurray. I was getting concerned that Big Brother wasn’t able to read the labels on the inside of my underpants. Hopefully a few innovative photographers will put it to better use once it clears the R&B labs in Japan.