I’d heard about “light field cameras” when they hit the news a while back — but didn’t honestly think they’d be commercially available in the next decade.
Turns out they’ll be available by the end of the year. Here’s a CNetTV intro to the little critters (by way of Pixiq):
The idea is that the sensor in the Lytro is covered with little lenses that allow the camera to record brightness, color, and direction of light at each pixel. Apply some processing power to the data afterwards, and you wind up with a camera that lets you focus your picture after you take it.
Amazing stuff, I can’t imagine what these will do in a few more years, once they’ve learned from the original models!