It all sounds a bit strange, but bear with us. Lytro used a concept developed at Stanford University by Lytro CEO Ren Ng, which allows cameras to capture more information than thru conventional lenses. Of course, the details aren’t being disclosed, but you could compare the concept to computer generated 3D imagery with a Z-buffer, that allows users to shift focus after the picture has been taken.
The company compares the process of taking images on light-field cameras to audio recording, as the camera records the colour, intensity and direction of multiple rays individually, much like recording musicians in a studio separately, allowing audio producers to manipulate individual feeds.
Ng claims Lytro’s technology can deliver unprecedented images. For example, users will be able to focus on different parts of the image by clicking, or even better by touching their tablets or phones. It is a rather neat trick, provided Lytro lenses don’t end up costing an arm and a leg.
The other upshot is the ability to take images in very low light without a flash and anyone who has owned a non-DSLR camera over the past ten years knows full well that low light performance is a major issue for all of them. Lytro also hopes to incorporate support for 3D glasses, which will allow users to experience pseudo 3D thanks to depth info stored in the images.
Lytro was founded five years ago and s far it has attracted more than $50 million in funding from various investors. If it can live up to its promises, the investors will be laughing all the way to the bank.