Hands up who’s ever heard of a plenoptic camera? No, me neither. A group at Stanford University have created a plenoptic camera that takes a single still image but uses software to allow the focus to be set after the picture is taken. Yes you heard right, the focus can be set and indeed changed after the picture is taken. According to the Stanford team this wizardry is achieved by â€œinserting a microlens array between the sensor and main lens, creating a plenoptic camera. Each microlens measures not just the total amount of light deposited at that location, but how much light arrives along each ray. By re-sorting the measured rays of light to where they would have terminated in slightly different, synthetic cameras, we can compute sharp photographs focused at different depths.â€ So that’s clear then.
Check out the gallery of images that show how pictures can be refocussed after the event. Amazing.