What Is This?

Illustration for article titled What Is This?

When I first saw this picture, I thought that the guy had gotten frustrated with some kind of weird do-it-yourself exercise equipment and was about to toss it into the woods. I was only right about the DIY part.

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This strange contraption is a DIY plenoptic camera.

Still don't know what that is? I didn't either, but Make explained that "instead of capturing a flat, 2D array of pixels, a plenoptic camera uses an array of microlenses to capture 4D lightfield data. This data can then be processed to create a final image that is focused on any part of the scene." Basically, this means that it takes a lot of little images from different viewpoints and those can then be transformed into your ideal picture. If you want to get dreamy about describing this process, you could say that it lets you travel back in time and fix bad focusing mistakes of the past.

It looks crazy in action, too:

You can follow the links to Futurepicture and actually read all about how to make one of these camera rigs yourself. And if you do that: Please send along some images. I have a fascination with these trippy, crazy things. [Futurepicture via Team Droid via Make]

DISCUSSION

Aperture56

i don't get it, why don't you just take the picture right the first time? cause if i understand correctly the point of these types of cameras is that you can change stuff, specifically the focus after you have taken the picture.

if the point of this camera is the little animations, then i don't really see what's so special about the animations, from an art point of view or a scientific point of view. why not get a tripod and take a series of photos with varying focuses and then animated, or better yet, use a video camera and do a rack focus. i really don't understand why you would make or use this camera.