Nokia Hints At Lytro-Style Camera Tech In Future Smartphones

The Nokia line of smartphones could soon add a 16-lens camera that provides for “computational photography.” That particular tech known as light field photography was recently implemented in the Lytro camera. The technology allows users to take a general photo and then focus the depth of field via software.

While Nokia has not officially proclaimed its support for Lytro technology, Nokia executive vice president for smartphones Jo Harlow made the following statement:

“If you look at where imaging is going, computational imaging is an area of exploration. Being able to capture even more data – data you cannot even see with the human eye that you can only see by going back to the picture and being able to do things with them.”

The announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise. Last month, Nokia invested in Pelican Imaging, a start up that focuses on computational photography through the use of a 16 lens setup. Known as “plenoptic cameras,” the setup takes multiple shots from various focal points. After a photograph is taken, the user chooses where to focus the shot.

The biggest problem with computational photography is that it currently takes an intensive amount of computational programming, which requires a dedicated device or included computer software.

According to Harlow:

“While the technology exists to create such a camera module, the issue is that it is computationally intensive to perform, and previously only allowing for images to be adjusted on a dedicated device or through a computer. That was one of the limitations in bringing that kind of experience on a smartphone. Changes in the processing capabilities of smartphones opens it up as an area of exploration.”

Pelican Cam

Interest in computational photography is really heating up. Toshiba is also working on a type of light field photography that uses an array of 500,000 lenses that sit in front of an image sensor. Toshiba’s technology aims to keep all parts of a shot in focus regardless of distance from the lens.

Would you like to see computational photography arrive on Nokia smartphones?