April 27, 2012

The coolest thing you will play with today

Ok, so this isn’t necessarily 3D, but it could be: the light field camera. I mentioned this before in a couple of round ups of new technology on the horizon, but I had never actually seen one in action. Now I have. 

Many, many thanks to Dennis Hirota, one of our greatest SPAR supporters and a passionate photography enthusiast, for not only bringing a Lytro light field camera to SPAR, but also using it to grab some images of the event and providing them to us. 

If you’re not familiar with the concept, essentially the camera grabs all the rays of light from all angles and encodes them in the digital image at once. This allows you to refocus an image after you’ve taken it. Check it out:


You think the focus is on the little antenna here in the front? Try clicking on Dennis’ son Dan’s face. Kapow! Right?

Currently, the only way to get this effect is to either have special software on your desktop or to upload the photos to Lytro’s site, where they host them for you and you can embed them in your own site (like I’m doing now). You can’t just attach them to an email or something. 

Here are a couple more:



Don’t even ask questions like, “what’s the resolution?,” because it’s just not the same type of digital photography technology you’re used to. The pixels aren’t arranged like that. I’m not sure you can even call them pixels. Start here if you want to deep dive into the technology. You can spend quite a bit of time there, though, I’ll warn you.

So, the question is, what can we do with this light field technology? How could it change photogrammetry? How do we mine the data that’s being collected and use it for purposes other than just imaging? 

That’s for someone else to answer, but it seems clear the possibilities are pretty endless.

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