A Start-Up’s Camera Lets You Take Shots First and Focus Later New York Times (06/22/11) Steve Lohr

Later this year Lytro will release a camera that enables users to adjust the focus after a photo has been shot. What makes that possible is the device’s ability to capture more light data, from many angles, than a conventional camera can. The key to this breakthrough is a microlens array that packs the equivalent of numerous lenses into a small space. Meanwhile, the viewer can switch points of focus through sophisticated software. In addition, Lytro’s camera eliminates shutter lag and can capture an abundance of data for three-dimensional (3D) images, which can be viewed on a computer screen with 3D eyewear. Lytro was founded by Ren Ng, based on research he did at Stanford University for his Ph.D. thesis that won an ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award in 2007. Ng says that being able to shift an image’s point of focus will enable users to explore photographs in ways that have previously not been possible. “They become interactive, living pictures,” he says. Columbia University professor Shree Nayar calls the camera’s ability to eliminate any loss of resolution a real innovation. “If they have been able to recover most of the lost resolution, then their image refocusing application is a very cool feature,” Nayar says.


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