Apple’s latest light field patent describes the use of a camera array for immersive augmented reality (AR), live display walls, head mounted displays, video conferencing, and similar applications based on a user’s point of view. The patent application, simply titled “Light field capture”, talks about AR video conferencing where the user’s background can be replaced with other information (e.g. their own view of a scene, or live sports).
The invention also includes concepts including pixel culling (i.e. following the user’s movements and cropping to the interesting parts of the entire camera view), conversion of 3D data to 2D views for the left and right eyes of the second party,
Interestingly, the authors also mention the possibility for a hybrid display/camera-array that would integrate both devices into a single, light-field sensing screen.
For more information, check out Patently Apple and Patent US9681096 – Light field capture on Google Patents.
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. Continue reading
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).
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 Office 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
There are more big news from Lytro today: The company just announced that three models of the Lytro Light Field Camera are now available for order at the Apple Online Store. More exciting for us is the introduction of two beautiful new colour versions, Cobalt Blue (16 GB, 499.95 USD) and Champagne (8 GB, 399.95 USD).