Not your grandpa's digital camera! (He uses a disposable one that he gets developed at CVS.)
Behold, The Future! This crazy-looking camera is even crazier than it seems: It captures the entire light field, so everything is in focus. At least, that's what we think it does, but the technology behind this camera is a little beyond our pay grade, so we asked a real scientist to answer some question about it:
WOOT: Dr. Phillston, how does the Lytro Camera work, exactly?
SCIENTIST: I want to clarify that I have a PhD in biology, and am not particularly qualified to answer questions about optics --
WOOT: Right, you're a scientist who uses words like 'optics.' So how does it work?
SCIENTIST: OK well I'm just looking at the product features here… No, that doesn't explain much. Let me go to the Wikipedia page. All right, it looks like light-field cameras actually use an array of microlenses rather than one lens.
WOOT: Dumb it down a bit for us, doctor, all this jargon is difficult for the layperson to understand.
SCIENTIST: Again, I'm effectively a layperson here but I'm just learning as I read this. Oh that's cool! It captures four-dimensional images…
WOOT: Whoa, whoa whoa, you lost us there. Dimensions?
SCIENTIST: Listen, you can create cool interactive photos that can be re-focused after they have been taken, create 3D images, and other cool stuff that will impress your friends.
WOOT: Great! Thanks doctor!