The first generation Lytro camera, released in 2012.
The Lytro Illum, a second-generation light field camera with a more traditional form factor.
With the VR pivot, crazy camera configurations like this, the "Lytro Immerge 2.0". It captures 3D VR video.
The Lytro Cinema is a very large lightfield camera for filmmaking.
A report from TechCrunch claims that Google will buy the Lytro camera company for "about $ 40 million". Lytro is best known for creating an innovative "bright field camera", but the company has recently adopted professional camera technology for film making and VR video capture.
You may remember the first Lytro camera that appeared in a crazy "tube" form factor with a lens at one end and a 1.5-inch touch screen of the camera. 39; another. The tube was filled with lenses and a special "bright field sensor" that captured the images as bright field data rather than a grid of pixels. The advantage was that you could just take a picture without worrying about the focus, and you could then selectively focus the image as you wanted. The disadvantage is that you need a much denser CMOS sensor to capture a high megapixel image. In 2012, when the camera was released, Lytro could calculate all of this bright field data up to a 1MP image only.
Lytro followed the first-generation tube camera with the "Lytro Illum" in 2014. This camera used more of a traditional form factor and increased resolution. None of these cameras sold very well, and the company eventually moved away from mainstream cameras and began making more professional cameras for virtual reality and cinema.
TechCrunch says Google's plans for Lytro "are not clear yet." The report suggests that the purchase would help Google's VR efforts, by showing Google's work with bright field cameras and a recently released immersive image viewer for Stream VR called " Light Fields. "In addition to having competing bright field camera designs and engineers, Lytro also owns 59 patents related to bright field imaging that Google could wish for. Lytro is already closely linked to Google: Rick Osterloh, vice president of Google hardware, sits on the Lytro board of directors.
The report is a bit murky about the exact details of the deal. "One source described the operation as a" sale of assets, "Lytro not exceeding $ 40 million," the report said. "Another source said the price was even lower: $ 25 million and that it was bought – on Facebook, according to a source and perhaps to Apple, according to another person. have already received severance pay and separated from the company, others have just left. "
All of these possibilities seem to be an approximate result for Lytro. In 2017, the company was valued at $ 360 million and the company raised more than $ 200 million in total funding from various investors. In the absence of a product or service to be successful over the 12 years of Lytro 's existence, it seems like the money is drying up, and Google' s money is running out. take hold of the company at a good price.