Events such as concerts, public performances or weddings have two things in common: Virtually everybody’s taking pictures, and it can be quite unsatisfying to be in the wrong spot. What if you could just switch your perspective to someone’s in the first row in order to get the perfect view, or even move around a scene as you like?
CrowdCam is a smartphone app concept by Aydin Arpa (MIT) and colleagues, designed to do that and more, using everybody’s smartphone cameras: The app, which is currently in development, compares photos taken at the event and estimates the different angles between camera views. It then arranges these pictures according to their relative location in the scene, giving users the ability to swipe between different points of view, while stabilizing the image and transition and keeping the image centered on the main object of interest.
In other words, the app creates a collaborative network of cameras and views, allowing you to find the best view and virtually move around in any scene.
Light field photography is very exciting, but so far, the options for consumers are very limited. You can either get an affordable dedicated light field camera (coming with its own set of drawbacks), or go for a custom DSLR modification that is pointed at the professional and industrial market and basically out of reach for typical enthusiasts.
Recent news of a new Olympus patent for a Micro Four-Thirds plenoptic adapter have already shown that it might not be so long until we can upgrade interchangeable-lens cameras on a flexible basis. At this year’s SIGGRAPH conference, set to take place next week in Anaheim, California, Researchers Alkhazur Manakov and colleagues from Saarland University (Germany) will be presenting a new, addon for ordinary DSLR cameras, that will achieve even more than “just” light field capabilities.
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.
The newest feature to be added to the LightField capabilities of Lytro’s Destkop Software is Perspective Shift: Viewers can physically move the point of view a few centimeters in every direction, within the limitations of the lens system.
In order to create this stunning effect – remember, these are pictures taken with a single lens! – Lytro uses a combination of parallax information and an infinite depth of field version of the picture in regard.
With these two sets of data at hand, it is just a small step to create 3D pictures, and Lytro has already confirmed working on a 3D Export feature. But why wait? Using Perspective Shift, it is already possible to create stereoscopic cross-view 3D pictures.