Lytro: The Camera as Hypersensor
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This article examines the Lytro Illum, a ‘plenoptic’ or ‘light-field’ camera. This device captures information on the colour, intensity and angle of incidence of each incoming photon and uses that to reconstruct the three-dimensional environment of the scene in the frame. The output file is an image that is quite easy to navigate and refocus. This type of image derives from the hybridization of digital photography, computer vision and computer-generated imaging within the fast-growing broader field of computational photography. This article starts by addressing the Lytro’s theoretical and technological bases; more precisely, it highlights the Lytro’s place in the wider quest to develop a device that can completely recreate reality in digitalised form. The spotlight then shifts to two aspects of computational photography that are significant for visual theory: its relationship with the interactive effort of the human imagination (following PietroMontani’s idea) and its importance in the context of a broader theory of the sensors as basic apparatuses of enunciation.
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