Spy vs Spy Week, Startup

Startup: The Lytro

While it isn’t marketed as a spy cam, this thing has huge potential. The Lytro camera was introduced earlier this year touting a new approach to photography making it ultimate point-and-shoot. Rather than a traditional single big lens to focus on a CCD to capture a snapshot with the digital version of film, the Lytro uses a series of lenses and refractors to capture what they call the “light field”, adding not only a much greater depth of field, but includes the ability to change it in software. In layman’s terms: just push the button to take the picture, then focus it on your computer after.

Now tuck that bad boy in a briefcase or purse, and you’ve just revolutionized the spy cam. The unit is about the size of an empty toilet paper roll – apparently the size and shape were somewhat necessitated by the optics and science involved, so we won’t be seeing this on our cell phones too soon. Still, I’m waiting for the marketing demons to cut a nice product placement deal in the next JJ Abrams franchise and have one of those rare, glorious moments when science transcends science-fiction.