Photography enthusiasts would surely know of a nifty little camera called Lytro, which is able to shift its focus to a different point in the photo after the picture has been taken. Although announced in October last year and commercially available in February this year, the Lytro remains a niche device due to its starting price of $399 (roughly RM1230).
However, Toshiba plans to introduce this technology into smartphones and tablets as early as the next year, with the development of its new camera sensor. The 1cm thick sensor houses an array of 500000 tiny lenses that are layered over the camera sensor, resulting in slightly varying shots captured from each lens. By utilising Toshiba’s own software, the shots can then be combined into one image that retains the measure of distance between objects in the image – resulting in the ability to shift the focus of the image. With this sensor, Toshiba is also moving ahead of Lytro, as this focus change will also be available during video recording which the Lytro camera is not able to do.
Toshiba plans to rope in some OEM partners to use its new sensor when it eventually becomes ready before the end of 2013, but unfortunately it appears that devices using the sensor might only be available in Japan in the early stages.