This camera is amazing – no need to focus!

I saw a few tweets yesterday and I retweeted @JimMacMillan about a camera that does not need to focus. It is called Lytro, shoot now focus later It uses a technology called lightfield. I have only an inkling of how it works, but I need to read up on it now!. There are some simple explanations over at the Lytro site and for the more scientifically minded the CEO’s dissertation is there too

However it works though it is fascinating. A few of us back at the old firm I worked for had tried to work out how to take a photo using a regular digital camera but provide extra layer information so that the photo was in fact made of photoshop layers. It was not a great success, but we did try a few tricks to separate foreground and background. This however really does that with every point or beam of light in a scene. The ability to explore a photo zoom in on things that were not maybe the original intention of the photo is very Blade Runner.
I am guessing this has some significant implications for the 3d capture of scenes both from a photographic point of view but also that data will have some way to be processed in the future to create our 3d models. Combine Lytro style image capture with Kinect depth sensing, without the need for the multiple points of infrared light the kinect has to fire out. It would seem we have a leap in precision?
I am looking forward to finding out more and in the meantime check out their example photos and play spot the predator in one of them.

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