Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

Lytro Lets You Shoot First, Focus Later

Ng's Lytro design lens Ng's Lytro design lens

Anyone who has ever taken a photo can probably describe a perfect shot that they took — and that they later found was ruined because the camera autofocused on the wrong object.

However, with new technology developed by Ren Ng, the founder of Lytro, this focal dilemma will become relatively moot. Ng has created a light field camera, which lets the user explore and adjust focal points after the image has been taken.

Similar in size to a point-and-shoot camera, Ng's Lytro design reportedly shoots with equivalent resolution to other comparable models on the market today. Another major advantage is that there is no shutter lag delay while waiting for the autofocus device to work and the shot to be taken.

The Lytro achieves this flexibility with the use of a sensor called a microlens array, which puts the equivalent of many lenses into a small lens field. The camera’s high-end software then allows for the adjustment.

Ng first explored the concept of adjustable focal points in his PhD thesis at Stanford University, winning a worldwide competition for the best doctoral dissertation in computer science in 2006.

The Silicon Valley-based company has said it will not license the technology and will instead start producing its own line of cameras.

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