I was introduce to this new innovative technology by my son who was working in the Silicon Valley then. The latest I heard was Steve Jobs met with up with Ren Ng, CEO of Lytro before he died. That has created a lot of interests in this new technology. What is this technology all about? It is a camera that has the ability to focus after you have taken the picture.
The very first light fields were captured at Stanford University over 15 years ago. The most advanced light field research required a roomful of cameras tethered to a supercomputer. Today, Lytro completes the job of taking light fields out of the research lab and making them available for everyone, in the form of the world’s first Lytro Light Field Camera.
The Light Field
Defining the Light Field
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. Conventional cameras cannot record the light field.
Capturing 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.
Processing the Light Field
How do light field cameras make use of the additional information? By substituting powerful software for many of the internal parts of regular cameras, light field processing introduces new capabilities that were never before possible. Sophisticated algorithms use the full light field to unleash new ways to make and view pictures.
Relying on software rather than components can improve performance, from increased speed of picture taking to the potential for capturing better pictures in low light. It also creates new opportunities to innovate on camera lenses, controls and design.
About Living Pictures
The way we communicate visually is evolving rapidly, and people’s expectations are changing in lockstep. Light field cameras offer astonishing capabilities. They allow both the picture taker and the viewer to focus pictures after they’re snapped, shift their perspective of the scene, and even switch seamlessly between 2D and 3D views. With these amazing capabilities, pictures become immersive, interactive visual stories that were never before possible – they become living pictures.
Take a Deeper Dive
Want to learn more? Check out the Lytro Blog. Want to learn a lot more?Read our CEO’s dissertation