Toshiba Unveils Lytro-Style Camera Module for Smartphones and Tablets

December 28, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Toshiba is playing with a Lytro-style camera that could be used on smartphones and tablets. With this module on a mobile device, the images captured can be refocused and perfected after snapping them.

The system is a complex assembly of lenses that can create data-dense adjustable images, and the device reportedly snaps up around 500,000 pictures in one take. There are apparently identical number of lenses placed in front of the sensor, and each one would take a shot under a slightly different focus setting.

The image that is captured can be refocused and worked on through each of the 500,000 focal settings. So in the end, you can decide which portion to have a sharp figure and which one to blur.


According to the company, the module can be employed to capture videos with similar focal flexibility. Another big advantage of this device is regarding the editing part.

Since there are technically 500,000 different images at different focus points, editing an image would be relatively easier. The module can judge quite accurately the distance between the objects in a frame, which makes chromakey-style editing easy to accomplish.

The lenses are tiny, measuring at 0.03mm in diameter, and they are placed in the front of a sensor of size 5 x 7 mm. On a whole, the camera module would scale around 1cm square.

Toshiba plans to release it sometime in 2013, and it would be a pretty useful feature to have on some of those smartphones and tablets that sport sharp cameras. They haven’t disclosed at what resolution the images would be snapped in, but considering the current trend in the camera universe, I am hoping to see something nice.

The price too is unknown, although the finer details might hop out soon.

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