The video: Sick of waiting for your digicam to auto-focus and take the silly picture already? Sick of discovering — after you've downloaded the picture — that half the photo turned out too dark and that the most important part of the shot isn't even in focus? A Silicon Valley entrepreneur has a solution. Ren Ng, a Stanford PhD candidate, has invented the Lytro, a "mind-blowing" camera (watch an explanatory video below) that uses light field technology to record far more information than your standard point-and-shoot. In editing, a Lytro user can reconstruct the image from any focal point (choosing which areas are in or out of focus), easily boost low light areas, and even indulge in 3D. Though the technology itself isn't new, average Americans haven't had access to it. Now, Lytro has secured $50 million in venture capital to bring a "competitively priced" light-field camera to an electronics store near you soonish.
The reaction: "The technology is mind-bending," says Kelly Hodgkins at Gizmodo. Indeed, says Sean Ludwig at VentureBeat, but it's surprising that Lytro didn't simply license this new technology to existing camera makers. Questionably, the company is "taking a major leap by trying to be a hardware company." If it succeeds, it will be major, says Chris Taylor at Mashable. "The very idea of focusing, or adjusting light levels, or having to wait before you click the shutter, will be a relic of the early 21st century — along, perhaps, with photos that only exist in two dimensions."