Exactly 365 days ago, Lytro sent the very first devices of the world’s first consumer LightField camera out on their way to the first customers. These very early adopters had been the first to pre-order the camera after the public presentation in mid-October of 2011.
The exact shipping date was February 29th, but we don’t think it’s fair to just celebrate every four years. ;)
The following video, brought to our attention by reader Alejandro, shows how LightField technology can significantly augment traditional microscopy:
The advantages are numerous, and represent the “ordinary” LightField Features but applied to microscopy: Instead of just a single “head-on” orthographic view, a plenoptic microscope setup allows for software refocus, increased depth of field, focal stacks, oblique orthographic views and perspective, 3D reconstruction and volume rendering.
LightField technology is not just interesting for scientific use and as a gimmick for early-adopters. Plenoptic imaging has been shown to have a great potential in manufacturing processes and quality assurance, 3D modeling, and more.
But there’s more: LightField video is probably one of the most exciting things to come in the near future. The ability to choose the point of focus (or focus gradients) after the fact, slightly move perspective, or get single-lens 3D footage, makes it interesting enough for television producers to look into.
Lytro’s LightField Sensor consists of an ordinary CMOS imaging sensor, and a so-called microlens array mounted on top of it. Using this combination, it becomes possible to not only record a flat representation of a scene, but also the direction of individual light rays (using complex algorithms).
But what does that really mean, and what exactly does the sensor see?
So you’ve built your own LightField Camera? Taken your first LightField pictures? What’s next?
The next step is finding software that will allow you to process the captured LightField information. There are countless factors in which LightField setups can differ, so unfortunately processing your pictures is not just a matter of click and refocus. There is some software available, though, that will help you work with your very own LightField photographs.
Originally developed for , LFDisplay will also work with LightField pictures taken with other setups (including a DIY LightField camera). The Open-Source tool for Mac and Windows provides the following LightField features…
software refocus: two refocus sliders (coarse and fine) for adjustment along the virtual z-axis
synthetic aperture controls: pinhole, full and custom aperture