Apple awarded Lytro-like shoot now, focus later camera patent

By on November 27, 2013, 9:30 AM

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.

User Comments: 5

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2 people like this | Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So, Apple got a patent granted that exactly describes a product that another company has already been producing and selling for years... And people say our patent system needs work? Ridiculous!

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

The only reason Apple applied for the patent is to sue anybody who tries to improve on the technology to make it worthwhile and more cost effective, and to charge more for their already heavily over inflated priced devices.

Guest said:

What a hit to innovation! But worry not, once manufactured, Samsung will steal the idea and make a same-priced cheaper version.

1 person liked this | OneSpeed said:

Apple will sue Lytro first. Somebody down at the USPTO must be on Apple's payroll. Pathetic. I don't think the folks down at the USPTO have the foggiest idea for granting these patents.

wastedkill said:

This is great a company makes good tech then the government gives the right to that technology to another company good old america!

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