Light field imaging has captured the mind of many technology enthusiasts and imaging pioneers, and there have been rumours of light field cameras in future iPhones or Android smartphones.
Now a new patent has surfaced that shows Apple is still interested in light field cameras. The twist is, the proposed “plenoptic” (a.k.a. light field) camera system is intended to aid robots in the manufacturing process.
The patent entitled Plenoptic cameras in manufacturing systems describes how a light field camera can be used to sense geometric properties such as “distance and orientation, surface geometry and quality”, which currently requires many cameras and more time. The patent is expected to improve robotic “pick-and-place” applications by recording more information in shorter time.