Fully Charged: Lytro is getting into VR, Apple hit by patent troll, and ToeJam & Earl plot return

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Lytro Camera

Lytro’s next target: virtual reality

Lytro is known for its innovative light field camera, which lets shooters (and viewers) easily adjust the focus of a photo long after the session. While its products have been pretty niche thus far, the company has raised US$50 million to explore new avenues: namely virtual reality.

Could Lytro’s tech be the key to bringing real-world environments to life in a VR headset? That’s the thought, although we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out. Despite big movements by the likes of Oculus, Samsung, and now Valve, virtual reality is still an incredibly young market that could easily be swayed by an amazing new advancement.

Lytro isn’t abandoning its core business, however. Software updates will add features to the Illum camera this year, and a next-gen model with higher-resolution results is due in 2016. Video is also planned to be a new endeavor for the company, beyond the move into virtual reality tech.

[Source: Recode]

Apple loses patent suit

iOS 8

A jury in Texas decided this week that Apple owes a company US$532.9 million for violating three patents pertaining to digital rights management, payments, and data storage, reports Bloomberg. Smartflash LLC appears to be a troll company seeking damages for patents that vaguely resemble modern technology, and it has similar suits pending against Google, Samsung, and Amazon.

“Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented,” said Apple’s Kristin Huguet. “We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system.”

Apple will surely appeal the verdict, and it has had success getting past patent-related judgments overturned, as Bloomberg points out.

[Source: Bloomberg]

ToeJam & Earl reborn on Kickstarter

If you have fond memories of the ToeJam & Earl games on Sega’s Mega Drive/Genesis, take note: the series is seeking a revival via crowdfunding, with a Kickstarter campaign going live yesterday. Sega is no longer involved, but original co-creator Greg Johnson hopes to bring the new game to PC, Mac, and Linux, with a console release also possible down the line.

ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove will see the funky aliens in a new adventure with a blend of 3D and 2D graphics, split-screen gameplay, and plenty of humour. Backing the campaign at US$15 or higher will get you a copy if the overall goal of US$400,000 is met. As of this posting, it’s raised almost 20% of the sum in less than a day, so success seems highly attainable.

[Source: Kickstarter]

Fast & Furious coming to Forza Horizon 2

Aside from the breezy arcade entries, the Fast & Furious film series has yet to produce a worthwhile game adaptation. But that seems sure to change with Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, a standalone spinoff of last year’s excellent Xbox One and Xbox 360 open-world racer.

You won’t need the original game to play this downloadable entry - although we highly recommend the game - and it’ll feature 11 cars from the film series, including the upcoming Furious 7. Film character Tej Parker portrayed by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges will appear in the game, as well. It will be a free download between 27 March and 10 April, and cost US$10 to snag thereafter.

[Source: Xbox Wire]