The original Lytro camera captured the light field by using an 8x optical zoom lens to focus the scene on a micro-lens array adhered to a standard digital image sensor. The micro lenses allow each area of the sensor to capture the image from one view with a total capture of 11 million rays. From these rays, a two dimensional or three dimensional representation can be computed for any view and these can be recalculated based upon input from the viewer.
Last week, Lytro introduced a very unusual looking spherical camera that captures the light field in 360 degrees. By capturing all of the rays of light in a 360 degree circle, the Lytro Immerge is designed for creating virtual reality content that can be used with the upcoming Occulus Rift and other virtual reality headsets.
By capturing the entire spherical light field, the Immerge will allow software to calculate exactly what a viewer would see in the original scene as they move their head in the virtual reality headset. Even the light and shadows will be calculated correctly.
The Immerge platform, including a camera rig and custom server, is expected to ship in early 2016.
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