Jun 08

Lytro Illum: Review after Three Weeks of Testing

Lytro Illum: Review after Three Weeks of TestingIt looks sexy, but does it hold true to its promises? We tested the Lytro Illum light field camera for three weeks, and would like to give you a better idea of the camera and its features with this review.

Basics

Lytro Illum is the name of the second light field camera released by Lytro – and with that, the second consumer light field camera in the world. Compared to the first generation, which is sometimes referred to as a “proof of concept”, Lytro has upped its game to a camera targeted to “creative pioneers”: Its big 30-250 mm lens with constant f/2.0 aperture, the 40 megaray sensor and the integrated Snapdragon processor, the SD-card slot and the SLR-like appearance all indicate that the target audience is no longer just technology enthusiasts, but also semi-professional photographers. However, all that comes at a price, which is currently 1.299 US-Dollars or 1.299 Euro.

Unboxing

The Illum is unique, and that’s obvious even when just looking at the box: Remove the mantlepiece and you’ll see a black cardboard-cube which unfolds to reveal the light field camera. Continue reading

Nov 05

Light-field powered Virtual Reality: Magic Leap secures 542 Million Dollars in Funding from Google and others

Light-field powered Virtual Reality: Magic Leap secures 542 Million Dollars in Funding from Google and others (image: Magic Leap) A rather secretive startup from Hollywood, Florida, recently made headlines for raising a spectacular investment for their vision of the next generation of Virtual Reality. Big names like Google, Qualcomm Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and others have put together the sum of 540 million US-Dollars for a company called Magic Leap, but the public isn’t even sure what the company is working on.

The official press release reads: “Magic Leap is going beyond the current perception of mobile computing, augmented reality, and virtual reality. We are transcending all three, and will revolutionize the way people communicate, purchase, learn, share and play.”
…and Magic Leap’s website doesn’t provide many details either.

The company is reportedly working on Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signals” (Digital Lightfield, in short), a “biomimetic” technology that “respects how we function naturally as humans”. What that means precisely, the company doesn’t explain. However, Technology Review has dug up some interesting patent applications by Magic Leap which may give us a glimpse into what convinced their investors: Continue reading

Oct 13

Researchers Develop Geometric Calibration Method for MLA-based Light Field Cameras using Line Features in RAW Images

^Researchers Develop Geometric Calibration Method for MLA-based Light Field Cameras using Line Features in RAW Images (picture: Bok et al. 2014) 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

Aug 09

Lytro Meltdown: Updates to Lytro Compatible Viewer, Communicator, and Library

Lytro Meltdown: Updates to Lytro Compatible Viewer, Communicator, and Library Jan Kučera has recently released a suite of software updates for his Lytro Meltdown tools, the Lytro Compatible Viewer (updated to version 3.0.0.0), the Lytro Compatible Communicator (new version: 1.0.1.2), and the Lytro Compatible Library (new version: 2.1.0.0).

Updates include a 3D mesh view from depth maps for the Viewer, improved demosaicing, and user manuals. The library has received accessors for well-known components in light field packages, dedicated classes and methods for easier access to sub-aperture and individual microlens images.

Continue reading

Jul 06

Pinlight Display: Light Field Glasses for Augmented-Reality Applications

Nvidia Pinlight Display: Light Field Glasses for Augmented-Reality Applications (picture: Siggraph 2014 website) Earlier this year at Augmented World Expo, Nvidia researcher Douglas Lanman gave a talk about Near-Eye Light Field displays, i.e. electronic glasses which allow users to experience both 3D and depth. When asked about Augmented Reality (AR) applications during the discussion, Lanman noted that creating a set of transparent glasses that would also include microlenses (or something equivalent) but still allow “normal” see-through vision, was a real challenge. He very briefly teased “pinlight displays”, which were to be presented at the same conference, but no further information could be found online.

In the Emerging Technologies section of the Siggraph 2014 conference (10-14 August 2014), Adam Maimone and colleagues from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Nvidia will be presenting their new invention in a talk entitled “Pinlight Displays: Wide-Field-of-View Augmented-Reality Eyeglasses Using Defocused Point-Light Sources”. Continue reading