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Lytro’s hidden Wi-Fi chip – surprise free upgrade for Lytro owners!

Lytro’s hidden Wi-Fi chip – surprise free upgrade for Lytro owners!

One thing that always happens before you take a photo is the act of focusing. Whether it is a manual focus process or one that your camera or smartphone does automatically, focusing ensures that some part of the photo is sharp and clear, while the background remains slightly fuzzy.

Now, what happens if you could make any area of your photo sharply in focus AFTER you’ve taken the photo?

Well, you’ll have invented a whole new type of photography, which is something camera company “Lytro” did a year or so ago with its Lytro “Light field” camera, where photographers can easily change the focus point and do a “perspective shift” for any photo taken on a Lytro camera.

Naturally, the Lytro camera caused quite a buzz, not only for its startling change-of-focus technology, but also for its unusual rectangular shape, unlike any camera you’ve ever seen before.

Details of the Lytro camera and plenty of photos that you can change the focus of are available at the Lytro site, but what’s news is the fact that Lytro had hidden a Wi-Fi chip in its camera all this time.

Normally, sites like “iFixit” like to do “teardowns” of technologies, where they open up gadgets to see what chips and technologies are within, but Lytro certainly scored a coup when no-one figured out that a Wi-Fi chip was within, waiting for activation at the right time through a free update.

That free update has now come in the form of a free “Lytro Mobile App” for iPhones and iPod Touch devices and a free software update for the Lytro itself. Other smartphones aren’t supported yet for this new Wi-Fi sharing feature, but they’re on Lytro’s roadmap.

This app uses the Wi-Fi in your iDevice to talk to Lytro’s Wi-Fi chip, letting you share the photos you’ve taken on the Lytro direct to Facebook and Lytro.com, as well as being able to create those very popular “animated GIFs” that show some cool action being repeated over and over, which can be emailed or SMS’d to your friends.

Wi-Fi connectivity means no need for fiddly cables, just fire up your app and share away!

Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal said in a statement that: “Lytro Mobile makes it even easier to share light field pictures and lets people experience the benefits of light field technology with a device that never leaves their side. As the first to bring light field photography to consumers, we believe there is vast potential to this technology, and Lytro Mobile is the next step in building this category.”

Lytro's amazing camera

Ren Ng, Lytro’s founder, said: “Mobile sharing of photos is universal and Lytro Mobile now offers the kind of desktop-free convenience people are accustomed to having. We have taken a complex technology and made it accessible through an app that is easy to use for both sharing and viewing light field pictures.”

You can hear me talking about the Lytro camera with ABC Nth Tasmania’s Drive host, Damien Brown, here at this weekly podcast.

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