Monday, April 30, 2012

The Camera With a Thousand Lenses – and Fits in Your Pocket

The first commercially available light field camera, the Lytro was introduced last year and officially hit the market this past February. Its creator, Ren Ng, was a computer science graduate student at Stanford. He spent 2006 to 2011 secretly developing the diminutive gadget, after becoming smitten by photography. He and his rock climbing friends would take photos of one another on their climbing trips, but the blurry images led him to come up with a better option. Hence, the Lytro came to be.

The camera's lens contains thousands of even smaller lenses, allowing shutterbugs to snap pictures that record so much information that they can readjust the photo after it's been shot. According to Ng, the light coming into the Lytro's lens “can form any picture.”

Ng, who specialized in light field photography, received Stanford's award for best Ph.D. dissertation for his research on the subject. After the Lytro was unveiled, he was invited by the late Steve Jobs, whom  he looks up to, to demonstrate the device at Jobs's home.

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