The PJ Tatler

Next gen camera: no focus, no light levels

This should be for the forthcoming PJ Lifestyle blog (under the guidance of Maestro Ed Driscoll), but since it’s not yet online (buzz, buzz), I will post here that a Silicon Valley wizard named Ren Ng (pronounce that) is working on a camera that will require neither focus nor light levels. In other words – the ultimate point and shoot. It’s called Lytro. Via USA Today’s TechnologyLive:

Lytro is the brainchild of Ren Ng, a Stanford Ph.D. whose dissertation on light-field technology five years ago was showered with awards. Now, with the help of $50 million in funding, most of it from Andreessen Horowitz, Ng has built a company that’s preparing to launch a focus-free digital camera later this year.

The basic premise of Lytro’s technology is pretty simple: The camera captures all the information it possibly can about the field of light in front of it. You then get a digital photo that is adjustable in an almost infinite number of ways. You can focus anywhere in the picture, change the light levels — and presuming you’re using a device with a 3-D ready screen — even create a picture you can tilt and shift in three dimensions. (I got a demonstration of the camera’s 3-D photos on a laptop and was blown away.)