Toshiba Develops Refocusing Lens

Toshiba Corp. will soon be introducing a new camera module that enables users to refocus the lens after an image was shot, according to a report in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. This is a radical shift from most cameras today, which focus prior to pressing the shutter button.


It would be recalled that the Lytro Light Field Camera, which was launched last June, offers a similar feature of focusing after the fact. However, said device, which looks like a metal box encasing a lens, is quite bulky, with dimensions of 4.4 inches in length by 1.6 inch in width. Said Lytro camera technology is still not used on mobile devices.

By comparison, the Toshiba camera module is a cube with dimensions of around 1 cm. It packs no less than 500,000 lenses, each measuring only 0.03 millimeter in diameter. Said lenses work with an image sensor span 5 mm by 7 mm. The camera module is supposedly comparable to how insects’ compound eyes are organized.

Takashi Kamiguri, writing for Asahi Shimbun explains, “Each lens captures a slightly different image from one another, and the camera produces a large, complete picture by using original software to combine the 500,000 tiny images. The new camera accurately measures the distance to an object based on the differences among the small images, as do cameras with two lenses that are used to create 3-D images. It can set the focus on objects both far and nearby magnifying and superimposing only well-captured parts of the small images. Unlike traditional cameras, the new camera can create pictures that are focused on every single part of the image.” Said camera is not only capable of capturing still photographs; it also record videos.

Toshiba is reportedly working to develop the technology, and eventually invite electronics manufacturer to use the lens in their mobile devices.

via asahi shimbun