Lytro, a Silicon Valley startup, has produced a camera that lets you focus a picture after you take it–over and over again. The camera relies on innovative new technologies that use light fields to create photographs that are manipulable post-shot.
A light field is all the light traveling in every direction in through every part of space present in a scene. Using a light field sensor, the Lytro camera can capture the color, intensity and direction of the light in a photo. That means that users can refocus, and relight a picture after its been taken, using the light information gathered, changing the focal point of the image from foreground to background, and more.
Imagine a photo where you’ve accidentally blurred out the people and instead highlighted a row of flowers behind their heads. With Lytro, you can fix your mistake days later, with the click of a button. Lytro calls the new pictures “living photos,” and uses Flash software to let users click around and adjust the picture to their satisfaction.
The photos can also be viewed in 3D, and unlike conventional cameras, will be much speedier, since users won’t have to wait for the autofocus to work before snapping the shot. Founder Ren Ng told The New York Times that he could see people using the site to see pictures in different perspectives on a site like Facebook, for which they are developing an app.
Though Lytro hasn’t yet released any price on the phone, or the date when it will be available, it’s made for consumers rather than professionals. Ng told TechCrunch it would be available “sometime this year” and that it would cost more than a dollar and less than $10,000.