As neat as they are, the Lytro camera’s re-focusing tricks aren’t going to convince most of us to replace our highly pocketable cameraphones. So a California company called DigitalOptics has found a way to give us the best of both worlds with a new ultra-thin sensor that promises Lytro-like tricks.
Instead of employing clever ‘light field technology’ like the Lytro, the Mems|Cam simply snaps a series of photos with varying depth of fields in quick succession, and then combines them all into a single image that allows you to change the focal point afterwards. It’s not only a less complicated approach, but the images from the new sensor could be as large as 13 megapixels in size, compared to the Lytro’s measly one-megapixel.
It sounds like a win-win development that surprisingly gets even better because the Mems|Cam sensor is created with ‘micro-electro-mechanical systems’ technology that results in ultra-thin electronics with incredibly low energy consumption. To the point where this new sensor uses about one per cent of the energy of a traditional cameraphone sensor, and facilitates handset form factors as thin as five millimetres. At the moment there are no official announcements as to what hardware manufacturer will be adopting the Mems|Cam sensor, but it’s already ready to ship and should be appearing in phones later this year. [Digital Trends via PetaPixel]