Not too long ago, Pelican Imaging announced their own solution to bring light field technology to mobile devices. In the Lytro Light Field Camera and similar setups, the optical elements take up too much space for integration in smartphones (or other small devices). Pelican chose a different path, using an array of 16 tiny cameras and creating a camera module that is only 3 mm thick (i.e. 50 % of today’s high-end smartphone camera modules), costs 20 $ in production, and creates pictures at 8 Megapixel effective resolution.
Ever since their first appearance in the News, Lytro’s most prominent LightField feature was software refocus. The ability to take a picture, and set and change focus after the fact has inspired many of us.
While Toshiba is working hard on commercializing that same LightField technology for use in smartphones, California-based company DigitalOptics is taking a shortcut with similar results:
Instead of taking a single photo through a microlens array, DigitalOptics’ Mems|Cam takes a series of pictures at different focus distances. After stitching the photo sequence together, the resulting pictures can be refocused just like Lytro’s LightField pictures. Continue reading
Following their surprising press release at the turn of the year, Toshiba has now given some more details regarding its new tiny LightField module, which may bring Lytro-like LightField capabilities to Smartphones within a year.
The company even showed off a test unit and exciting features at its research lab in Kawasaki, Japan.
IDG News Service reports that the current version of the module, which is scheduled for production “at the end of this year or shortly after”, is a little cube that measures just 8 mm on its sides. Toshiba uses a traditional 8 Megapixel CMOS sensor to create still images with 2 Megapixels effective resolution, as well as LightField video at 30 frames per second (no word specifically about video resolution, though). A future version will use a 13 MP sensor and produce 5 to 6 MP LightField images.
Interacting with a Living Pictures on a small screen just doesn’t do the technology justice: Reviewing the images directly on the camera’s 1.52 inch display gives you an idea of whether the image is refocusable, but the effect is obviously much better on a computer screen. But is a standard 27 inch screen enough?
Lytro-Fan Axel Schuch shows us what it’s like to view and interact with Lytro Living Pictures on a very big touch screen: Continue reading
The report notes that Dr. Lennart Wietzke (Raytrix co-founder and CEO) and his team presented “the current version of the LightField camera”, and showed off live 3D LightField data processing, as well as software refocus. Continue reading