To win our Innovation of the Year award, the Lytro had to captivate us enough for us to pass over significant medical diagnostic breakthroughs and a complete reinvention of the internal combustion engine--and it did. So we're naturally excited about the opportunity to spend a little QT with the Light-Field camera. The Lytro, which is culmination of over a decade of work by CEO Ren Ng in the world of light-field photography, is the first camera that allows its user to refocus an image after it’s taken. It sounds unbelievable, but after taking our own pics with the Lytro (below), we’re happy to report that it’s reality.
Click to launch a gallery of Lytro-taken shots, as well as a tour of the camera's hardware.
Well, 2011 is almost over. And it's been a great year in science and tech, as our annual Best of What's New awards have shown--from portable destroyers to portable 3-D TVs, from revolutions in private aerospace to revolutions in digital photography, this year's awards are chock full of amazing stuff. So, thoughtful folk that we are, we've combined all the winners into an easy-to-navigate roundup. This is...the Best of What's New.
How can a digital mastermind take his ideas to the physical world?
By Mark Jannot
Posted 11.28.2011 at 11:10 am 1 Comment
Joi Ito was an early investor in some of the most influential and successful internet properties of the past half-decade, including Flickr, Last.fm, Twitter, and Kickstarter. Now, as the new director of the MIT Media Lab, he's applying his digital savvy to innovating in the material world. PopSci's editor-in-chief, Mark Jannot, sat down with Ito--well, Skyped, at least--to find out more about how Ito plans to foster innovation and make gadgets great.
This year, for the first time, a camera has been awarded PopSci's Innovation of the Year. The Lytro Light-Field Camera, a $400 gadget that allows photographers to re-focus pictures after they're taken, is the product of a decade of work from Ren Ng. As a computer-science grad student at Stanford University, Ng saw potential for a consumer camera in a light-field setup, which then necessitated a room-filling array of lenses--already the product of a century of light-based physics research. About 10 years later, his company has introduced a personal shooter that could be the biggest change in photography since the digital-image sensor.
What we love most about selecting the Best of What's New every year is that each of these 100 innovations really exists. For 24 years now, we have seen physical dispatches from the future, held them in our hands, and marveled. They felt impossible a year ago and even today seem almost magical. And yet, here they are.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.