Friday, July 8, 2011

Cool Technology of the Week

When I was 10 years old in 1972, I mentioned to my father that some day the analog world we live in would be digitized and if the sampling rate were fine enough, we would not be able to distinguish an analog picture from a digital one.    Thereafter, sights and sounds could not be trusted because all media could be easily manipulated by rearranging the data.

The manipulation of digital photo data,  considered science fiction in 1972, is something every teenager can do on their smartphone today.

What's next?

How about photos with an infinitely variable focus that can manipulated after you take them?   Lytro,  a spin out from Stanford University, enables you to readjust the focus to any point in the picture after the fact.    I recommend you test drive the technology on their website

Lytro has built a new kind of camera sensor which captures every ray of light hitting it. Lytro also has software to turn that data into the shifting-focus images.

With this new camera, you can take photos of major life events, hard to capture objects in motion, or even the Loch Ness monster  and not worry about focusing - just do it later.

That's cool


Biomedical Informatics Professional said...

You prophesied the digital manipulation of images in 1972 when it must have been mere science fiction. I wasn't even born then. Lytro - click now, focus later, what will they come up with next - take a picture of something that isn't even there....

Lily Kim said...

Very cool! Could this be used for scientific imaging as well, so that researchers could examine different focal planes after-the-fact? (maybe make new discoveries?)

Anonymous said...

Very interesting indeed. I don't know if the method can be extended to wavelengths longer or shorter than that of light, but imagine if it could work on those that penetrate the human body [or any solid object]. Theoretically someday you could take one picture (x-ray / radio wave ?) of a person, and shift to different planes of focus, another method of non-invasive inspection of the body. True, today we have MRIs, f-MRIs and cat scans, but it is interesting to consider.