Sony Grabs a Lytro-Esque Patent for Light Field Sensor Technology

Sony's New Patent

Lytro’s one of the few companies out there that are pioneering in what’s called “light field” technology; their light field sensors basically take in massive amounts of data and process them into a small picture that you can interact with. The final result helps achieve a sort of post-focusing effect you’d find in Google Camera’s Lens Blur or the HTC One M8’s double-sensor camera. Back about two months ago, Lytro announced a camera called the Illum – one of the first major steps in making a camera like that reality while keeping the specs a bit up to date.

But right now, the technology’s still in its growing stages. The Illum is a first, but at the same time it’s retaining a hefty price tag of around $1500. It’s needless to say that there’s still a lot left to be done with this technology before it can actually be that profitable. Just recently, Sony took a big step for the future of light field sensors by grabbing their own patent for light field sensors. According to the patent [warning, geeky read], apparently Sony has a way to get past some of the limitations that light field sensors bring to the rest of the technology implemented in. Put that together with the fact that this is Sony we’re talking about, which both has the tech power and the market interest, and you’ve got a pretty promising look at what the future might hold for these new sensors.

Many patents are starting to appear these days that aim for some pretty ambitious jumps forward in photographic technology. With how much improvement Sony’s been making concerning photography – from the Xperia line to the A7s, it seems like they’re looking to push forward as well. As long as they’re ready to deliver on the patents they’ve got in store, we might be looking at some exciting new developments in how we take our pictures pretty soon.

If you’re willing to read a lot more technical information surrounding the patent, you can check out the full release here. Either way, drop by to tell us what you think. How soon do you expect to see this kind of technology to become mainstream?

[Via SLR Lounge]

P.S. If you wanna see what this technology is about, here is an interactive photo from Lytro:

  • Rahat Iram

    Does it mean I should wait to grab a lytro :( Sony hurry up!!!

    • 7of9

      Sony will still be limited by Lytro’s core patents around the technology, and they will have to develop some serious software to boot. I wouldn’t wait for Sony to bring this to market anytime soon. This is potentially a good thing for Lytro in that they’d be able to have Sony manufacture light field sensors exclusively for them.