A brand new digital camera that allows photographers to focus their pictures after taking them is set to be made available to Australians shortly.
Instead of recording a single version of an image, the Lytro which looks radically different from any other digital camera captures data about the intensity and direction of all the light entering its lenses.
That information is stored and reorganised later with the option to change which parts are blurred and which are sharp.
The “light field” technology was developed by company founder Ren Ng while he was at Stanford University.
The device records all of the light falling on its sensor without running it through processes such as colour balancing or sharpening. These can be applied later on a computer.
Similarly, by recording the light field passing through many tiny micro-lenses in the Lytro, the action of merging these to create a single flat image can be applied as a post-production effect.
The BBC said that the phrase light field was coined by Russian scientist Alexander Gershun in 1936. Work on developing capture mechanisms began to gain momentum during the 1980s and 1990s.
On its website, Lytro has published Mr Ng’s 2006 university PhD thesis outlining his approach, which ultimately led to the commercial product.
In a press statement, Mr Ng said: “Light field photography was once only possible with 100 cameras tethered to a supercomputer in a lab.