Imagine taking a holiday portrait where the focus is all wrong; your friend's face is all blurry while the background is sharp - and because you were on vacation you can't go back and retake the photo. If only there were a way to change the focus back on your computer. Wishing thinking? Perhaps not.
Camera startup Lytro is bringing light field technology into consumer cameras, which lets you change the point of focus of a picture, after it's already been taken. This also means that you no longer have to wait for the auto-focus to lock before taking a picture, potentially making cameras even faster at getting a shot.
Light field technology was developed back in the 1990s, but initially required 100 cameras attached to a supercomputer. During his graduate studies at Stanford in the mid-2000s, Ng looked at how the technology could be both miniaturized and commercialized. After graduating, he founded the company now known as Lytro, which got seed funding back in 2007 and has been quietly working to get the technology mature enough for the consumer market.
Lytro says that it's bringing a point-and-shoot model to market later this year, and if it pulls it off, it will very well change the face of digital cameras as we know it. Go to All Things D for more on Lytro and photo demos of the technology.