Apple is known to have been interested in light field technology since before Lytro released their first-generation light field camera, as Ren Ng was reportedly invited by Steve Jobs himself to discuss the technology’s potential. The company has even patented some of their own inventions in the field.
Now, it seems that the tech giant has made its next move towards light field photography: Apple has acquired Israeli camera module maker LinX, which specializes in thin camera arrays similar to Pelican Imaging’s PiCam.
LinX promises powerful camera modules with advanced image quality (“leading the way to DSLR performance in slim handsets”), but also additional information such as scene depth through its “multi-aperture” modules (read: array cameras and possibly light field technology).
Rony Abovitz, CEO of the secretive startup Magic Leap, was expected to reveal the company’s rumoured Augmented Reality headset recently at a TED talk in Vancouver, but canceled a few days before. Instead, the company released a 90 second promo video teasing an AR game that it says is “currently being played at the office”, and it looks pretty awesome.
Video description: Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to TED, but we wanted to share one of the things that we’d planned to share at the talk. This is a game we’re playing around the office right now (no robots were harmed in the making of this video).
One of the most limiting hardware factors in light field photography is the loss of image resolution by use of microlens arrays: In Lytro’s light field cameras, the effective image resolution is a factor of 10 below the sensor resolution (i.e. 4 Megapixel images from a 40 Megaray sensor in the Lytro Illum). Raytrix, on the other hand, has managed to achieve up to 25% of sensor resolution using multi-focus plenoptic arrays.
In a recent article on SPIE.org, the Society for Optics and Photonics Technology, researchers José Manuel Rodriguez-Ramos and colleagues discuss a new deconvolution approach which allows recovery of full image resolution from a raw light field picture. Continue reading →
Following two products aimed at the consumer and pro-sumer camera markets, Lytro has released the Lytro Development Kit (LDK) which opens up the technology to anybody, for a price.
The Lytro Development Kit (LDK) [...] is designed for companies that want to explore developing custom light field cameras and applications for use cases outside of photography and storytelling. Continue reading →
Calibration is an important part of light field photography: Image processing and image quality can be significantly improved when the physical properties of the camera are known. More specifically, geometric information about the microlenses in a microlens-array-based light field camera can help create more precise depth maps with fewer errors.
Yunsu Bok and colleagues from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have devised a new method for geometric calibration which – in contrast to conventional methods – does not rely on processing sub-aperture images. Instead, they extract line features and compute a light field camera’s geometric parameters directly from RAW images. Continue reading →