Toshiba Is Working On a Miniature Lytro Sensor For Your Smartphone

Imagine for a second that your smartphone could snap in-focus images every single time. Kind of like the Lytro camera you can buy today. While it might seem like a pipe dream, we might actually see it in the next two years thanks to Toshiba.

Reports out of Japan say the Japanese company has developed a "cube-shaped" module that houses an array of half a million lenses that can be placed in front of an image sensor to give the same light field capture technology as the hand-held Lytro camera.

Toshiba Is Working On a Miniature Lytro Sensor For Your Smartphone

According to Asahi Shimbun, an camera equipped with Toshiba's 1cm per side module will capture 500,000 tiny images pulling the best pictures together while accurately measuring the distance to each object the way two-lens 3D cameras work. Even better, the module can be used for videos and will apparently allow you to "retain the image of a figure in the foreground while replacing the background." Huh.

Toshiba Is Working On a Miniature Lytro Sensor For Your Smartphone

Stop me if you've heard this before.

As the story goes, Steve Jobs met with Lytro CEO Ren Ng to discuss the possibility of implementing the light field camera technology into the iPhone. That hasn't quite panned out just yet but it seems as though we won't have to wait around for Apple to do it.

Current plans peg the module to be released by the end of fiscal 2013, which is actually March of 2014 for Toshiba. [Asahi Shimbun via Electronista]