Toshiba to make Lytrostyle camera for smartphones

first_imgSince the release of the incredibly cool Lytro camera, the big question has been when we will see this kind of technology in our existing mobile devices. According to Toshiba, we need only wait until the end of 2013 to see this tech in smartphones and tablets.The way we take photos with smartphones, it stands to reason that most of us could benefit from a camera that allowed us to adjust focus after the image was captured. That’s the power of the Lytro camera, being able to shift focus even after the photo has been taken. Some have even used this to create images that reveal more when you shift focus, placing some items out of view intentionally for fun. Lytro cameras, however, are roughly the size of a can of Red Bull. It can’t be easy to shrink that experience down and maintain even close to the same quality. Toshiba seems convinced that they can fit the technology into a 1cm cube to replace the rear camera on smartphones being released late next year.It’s difficult to imagine 500,000 lenses in a 1cm space, but that is exactly what Toshiba claims will happen with their camera. The camera will be able to measure the distance between you and the objects in the shot, and allow you to apply focus after the shot has been taken between those objects. Toshiba says that the sensor for this camera is still a work in progress, so we have no idea what the quality of the image will be. A lower quality sensor will mean a lesser quality image to adjust focus in, which may ruin the feature altogether. Over the last year there have been tremendous strides in the quality of smartphone cameras and the software that drives it, and moving backwards in either of those places for the sake of a new feature will not go over well with consumers.There’s also the thickness of the phone to consider. Much like the massive bulge on the back of the Nokia PureView, the camera unit Toshiba is proposing is in and of itself nearly 2.5mm thicker than the current generation iPhone. After you wrap that lens in plastic and stick it on the other side of a smartphone, you wind up with a phone that will be noticeably thicker than most current generation smartphones.If smartphone manufacturers pick up the technology from Toshiba, we’ll see a return to the camera bulge that had finally gone away in the second half of 2012, but we’ll also see some very impressive images.Asahi via Engadgetlast_img read more