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Firmware Friday: Lytro’s plenoptic camera becomes a connected device
posted Friday, June 21, 2013 at 9:04 PM EDT
It's that time again -- Firmware Friday, where we round up the week's happenings on the firmware front. After last week's remarkable 21 updates, normalcy prevails this week, and we have only one update on which to report.
The Lytro is unusual plenoptic camera, or in its manufacturer's parlance, a "light field" camera. It's very low-resolution, but allows image refocusing after capture, as well as limited 3D viewing, thanks to a sensor design that determines not only what light is being received at each pixel location, but also the direction it's coming from.
It turns out that all along, the Lytro has had another hardware capability that wasn't enabled in firmware, though. Inside the 8GB and 16GB Lytro models is a Wi-Fi wireless networking radio, and with the new version 1.2 firmware it's enabled, more than a year after the cameras went on sale. Wi-Fi communication is thus far possible only with Apple iOS devices, and specifically the iPhone 4, 4s, or 5, as well as the fourth-generation iPod Touch via a Wi-Fi network.
Lytro's light-field camera will be available in three colors.
Photo provided by Lytro Inc.
Sadly, there's no support for the iPad, and nor can you connect to Android devices, or to a Wi-Fi network directly. Still, if you use the Lytro and have a recent iPhone or iPod Touch, the ability to upload your Lytro images via Wi-Fi is pretty cool. (And even if you don't have one of these devices, the new firmware is said to bring various performance and stability enhancements.)