Toshiba has revealed a new camera module which could bring Lytro-like refocusing to future smartphones.
Lytro’s camera uses an array of microlenses between the lens and a traditional sensor to capture a four-dimensional light field, but Toshiba’s gracefully-titled TCM9518MD module works a little differently.
It uses two separate 5MP sensors, combined with a dedicated image processor to capture images along with their depth data.
When this information is combined you can pull of a some refocusing magic after your shots have been taken.
You can, for example, change the focus of a shot to a different subject entirely, or keep the background in focus while shooting on a macro object, or blur different subjects and backgrounds independently.
Toshiba is showing off the new sensor to manufacturers as we speak, so here’s to hoping it’ll land in a few smartphones by the end of the year.