When Lytro announced plans for consumer-oriented light field cameras
, we were instantly smitten by the idea of being able to re-focus images after taking them. However, the quirky kaleidoscope-like form factor and low resolution of its first camera
meant it was only ever going to be a hit with the most ardent early-adopter. Now the firm is back with a second-generation light field camera, the Illum, and things have got a lot more serious.
Holography is one of the more dramatic forms of photography, in which a three-dimensional image is stored on a photographic plate in the form of interference fringes. Researchers at Purdue University in Indiana have developed a different approach, in which a 3D image is stored in a structure of thousands of V-shaped nanoantennas etched into an ultrathin gold foil. The new approach dramatically shrinks the size of a hologram, potentially enabling photonic and plasmonic devices and optical switches small enough to be integrated into computer chips.
Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab have developed a new form of holographic projector that may enable the introduction of practical color 3D holographic video displays as well as higher-resolution 2D displays with lower power consumption. The new projector is built using principles of guided wave optics to construct the spatial light modulator (SLM) that is the heart of digital holography. The MIT holographic projector, which contains an SLM costing US$10 to fabricate, provides 3D images at 30 frames per second (fps) with a resolution similar to that of a standard-definition TV.
The Lytro camera
has gained wireless capabilities and a new friend in the iPhone, thanks to a functionality-adding firmware update. Its new-found Wi-Fi capability means the light field camera can work with an equally new iPhone app, which allows users to share and view refocusing pictures while on the go.
Recently the public has become aware of the potential of light field photography through the introduction of the Lytro camera
. Light field recording allows an enormous degree of post-processing, letting you create just the image you want to print and display. A print, however, expresses only one aspect, no matter how carefully chosen, of the recorded light field. Can light field information be somehow encoded into a print, so an object can be examined from this side and that, or with different lighting conditions? A team of researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, and 3M have made the first steps toward a positive answer by developing reflectance paper.