Steve Jobs’ vision of using Lytro camera technology in the iPhone may eventually come to fruition years after the fact. That’s because Apple was recently awarded a patent for a camera system that would allow a user to refocus an image after it has been snapped.
The patent specifically describes the use of a plenoptic, or light field, system. Such a camera would obviously make it easier for users to capture just the right shot as focusing wouldn’t be an issue. This could be especially useful in low-light situations where focusing can be problematic even when using the LED flash.
Additionally, the patent also describes a system that would allow the camera to capture low resolution images that could be refocused as well as a fixed high resolution copy. Said patent could even be used in the standalone digital camera market, we’re told. It’ll be interesting to see exactly what Apple does with the patent moving forward.
Earlier this month, Lytro announced they recently completed a $40 million round of funding that will allow them to apply their camera technology to other markets. Their shoot now, focus later camera was a big hit on paper when it was first unveiled but the resulting product left a lot to be desired.
While the technology did work as advertised and was very impressive, there were some limitations. Furthermore, the camera design itself was little more than a novelty and the image quality was severely lacking for a $399 digital camera in this day and age.