Smartphone makers around the world are racing release the world’s first light field enabled smartphone. According to some reports, manufacturers such as Apple, HTC, Nokia, and also the MIT are working on further miniaturizing the technology to fit into mobile devices. Meanwhile, companies like Pelican and Toshiba are finalizing their camera designs for third-party licensing.
Now, The US Patent and Trademark has granted Apple a new patent describing a “digital camera including refocusable imaging mode adaptor”, and it comes with an interesting addition to the existing light field solutions by Lytro or Raytrix. Continue reading
With the introduction of interactive refocus to the (camera enthusiast) mainstream, Lytro opened a new, compelling way to tell stories with images. The software refocus feature is fundamentally embedded in light field technology, but it can be recreated with a bit more user effort, using an ordinary camera. We’ve seen methods using a video with moving focus as well as camera apps that use multiple exposures at different focal lengths, such as Refocus (Windows Phone) tap2focus (iOS) or FocusTwist (iOS). Advances in the (conventional) camera world, such as the super-fast MEMS technology, are adding to the “refocus hype” – both by making the creation process faster and easier, and by promoting refocus as one of the new products.
Nokia, one of the major investors around Pelican Imaging and their Array Camera, has just announced a new smartphone app for their Lumia series that uses the “multiple exposure” refocus workaround: Continue reading
Recent rumours that the upcoming Nexus 5 is to become the first smartphone with MEMS camera technology have brought general attention back to DigitalOptics’ super-fast camera module.
The company’s latest press announcement states that indeed, a first MEMS|cam powered smartphone is in development. However, it called earlier rumours concerning LG and the Nexus line “inaccurate”. The world’s first mems|cam smartphone will instead be made by DigitalOptics’ new exclusive launch partner OPPO Electronics, an electronics manufacturer based in Dongguan, China. The good news for Android fans: all of OPPO’s recent smartphones are running Android or an Android fork.
The full press release is included after the break: Continue reading
Google’s Nexus line of smartphones and tablets represents not only a family of mobile devices with a pure, unadulterated Android experience, but also important flagship devices with the newest OS version and features.
Recent rumors have outfitted the next Nexus phone generation, dubbed Nexus 5, with the innovative MEMS camera technology. The first ever camera with MEMS technology, short for micro-electro-mechanical silicone system, was presented to the world about 6 months ago and offers ultra-fast focus (up to 7x faster than current cameras) while minimizing both size and energy consumption. The product has been marketed as bringing Lytro-like software refocus to smartphones, without the need for light field technology.
Tech-Giant Toshiba first appeared in the “refocus market” several months ago, when news got out about a tiny light field camera module for smartphones and tablets in development. According to the original report, the prototype was scheduled for mass production “by the end of fiscal 2013″.
Last week, Toshiba officially announced a smartphone camera module with refocus capability, but it’s quite different from the products that were described earlier this year: Instead of a single 1 cm2 camera module with 8-13 megapixel sensor, 500,000 microlenses and effective resolutions of 2 megapixels (6 MP in the second prototype), the new prototype dubbed TCM9518MD consists of two 5 megapixel cameras, a Large Scale Integrated (LSI) chip and no microlenses at all.
In an official press release, Toshiba announced that the dual-camera module will offer software refocus and other features, but not 3D functionality. The module is priced at 5000 Yen (approx. 52 USD, 38 EUR). Working samples will be available in January 2014, and mass production is set for April 2014.