Lytro camera lets you focus AFTER you take a picture

June 24, 2011
Mountain View, CA--A new camera due out later this year from Lytro allows the focus of a picture to be adjusted after the picture is taken.

Mountain View, CA--A new digital camera due out later this year from Lytro allows the focus of a picture to be adjusted after the picture is taken. Any picture taken with a Lytro camera, when viewed on a computer screen, can have the focus adjusted to bring objects in the background in sharp relief, or clarify objects in the foreground. The Silicon Valley startup has won praise from computer scientists and raves from early users of its prototype imaging system, and has $50 million in investment money to commercialize the technology. New camera architectures and micro cameras are also making news, but this camera has uses for both the scientific community and the camera novice.

The Lytro camera captures light data from many angles using a special microlens array in front of the sensor. The raw data then comes to life with sophisticated software that lets a viewer switch points of focus. Still photographs can be explored as never before. "They become interactive, living pictures," Ng said. He thinks a popular use may be families and friends roaming through different perspectives on pictures of, say, vacations and parties posted on Facebook.

"We see technology companies all the time, but it’s rare that someone comes along with something that is this much of a breakthrough," said Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, a major investor in Lytro.

Lytro’s founder and chief executive is Ren Ng, 31. Ng explained the concept in 2006 in his Ph.D. thesis at Stanford University, which won the worldwide competition for the best doctoral dissertation in computer science that year from the Association for Computing Machinery. Since then Ng has been trying to translate the idea into a product that can be brought to market--and building a team of people to do it.

For a photographer, whether amateur or professional, the Lytro technology means that the headaches of focusing a shot go away. Richard Koci Hernandez, a photojournalist, said that when he tried out a prototype earlier this year, he immediately recognized the potential impact.

SOURCE:The New York Times; www.nytimes.com/2011/06/22/technology/22camera.html

Posted by:Gail OvertonSubscribe now to Laser Focus World magazine; It’s free! Follow us on TwitterFollow OptoIQ on your iPhone. Download the free App here

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