According to a new report on Technology Review, Bell Labs (a research organization within Alcatel-Lucent) has developed a new type of camera which makes lenses unnecessary. Instead, the new camera prototype sees the world through a “series of transparent openings” (aperture assembly). The camera compares the individual images coming through each aperture (think “coded mask“), and uses the differences between them to reconstruct the final image.
Today’s LightField technology uses either of two methods to record a LightField: it either reconstructs a single low-resolution LightField image (e.g. using microlens arrays or coded masks), or requires several individual pictures to be taken and combined for a high-resolution LightField (e.g. using camera gantries or coded apertures).
In a recent publication, Kshitij Marwah and colleagues introduced a new LightField camera prototype that combines the advantages of these two methods, to reconstruct higher-resolution LightFields from a single, coded image. To do so, they have co-designed the prototype camera to incorporate both of the main aspects of LightField technology: camera optics and computational processing.
3D displays are slowly moving into mainstream, but most of the technologies used today require the viewers to wear special 3D glasses, or watch from a very defined, small optimum viewpoint. More advanced 3D displays use eye tracking, and create a stereoscopic effect by specifically sending different images to either eye.
David Fattal and colleagues from HP Laboratories in Palo Alto, California developed a new approach to glasses-free 3D displays, which comes with a number of improvements: Their prototype displays use multi-directional diffractive backlight technology, which makes them particularly well-suited for mobile devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, or watches). They’re high-resolution, very thin (<1 mm), don’t require eye tracking, and feature a very wide view zone (up to 180 degrees) at an observation distance of up to a metre. Their work was recently published in Nature.
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 Camera is the first consumer product of an entirely new category of camera, so it’s no wonder that technology enthusiasts are attracted by its new features. It is that same tech-excited target audience that likes to play around with things to see what they can use them for.
In this article, we’ll show you some interesting DIY inventions and modifications for the Lytro camera, that we’ve recently come across: