Toshiba's new mobile camera tech allows focus after the fact
27th Dec 2012 | 17:12
Take first, focus later
Toshiba is working on a new camera sensor module, which will allow smartphone and tablet users the opportunity to change the focus of photos and videos after they're shot.
Reports from Japan on Thursday revealed the tiny module, which measures up at about 1mm on each side and houses a 5mm x 7mm sensor with 500,000 0.03mm lenses layered on top.
Each of these lenses captures a slightly different image and, using Toshiba's homegrown software, will allow users to alter the focus of the image if the background proves more interesting than the foreground.
The sensor has the ability to accurately measure the distance between the objects (a la 3D cameras) and can focus on near and far elements of the image by combining the best results from the different lenses.
If a user so desires, they could use the tech to create an image that is perfectly focused and blur-free throughout the frame.
Toshiba also says the technology is capable of working with videos shot on a smartphone or camera.
The new technology is similar to the Lytro Light Field camera, introduced last year.
However, whereas the Lytro was housed in a four-inch box, the Toshiba module is small enough to fit into a smartphone or tablet.
The tech is still a work in progress, but according to Japanese site Asahi Shimbun, Toshbia plans to commercialise it in 2013 and is currently pitching it to smartphone and tablet manufacturers.