This will be your next camera

Lytro is a new camera that can make photos where you don’t have to focus anymore.

With a combination of software and hardware, you can play around with the image after you’ve taken it, determining the right focus. It can also seamlessly switch between 2D and 3D. The technology is based on the Stanford dissertation of the CEO Ren Ng. They explain how it works:

The light field is a core concept in imaging science, representing fundamentally more powerful data than in regular photographs. The light field fully defines how a scene appears. It is the amount of light traveling in every direction through every point in space – it’s all the light rays in a scene. Conventional cameras cannot record the light field.

Recording light fields requires an innovative, entirely new kind of sensor called a light field sensor. The light field sensor captures the color, intensity and vector direction of the rays of light. This directional information is completely lost with traditional camera sensors, which simply add up all the light rays and record them as a single amount of light.

I just reserved a camera on the site! You can play around with the technology on the site. I wonder what light field technology will mean for (3D) motion pictures.