Usually when you take a photograph, you have to select the focal distance and commit to it.
Either the foreground is in focus, or the background is sharp. When you click the shutter, you get one focal setting, and you can’t change it later.
A Silicon Valley start-up company called Lytro has developed a new technology called a “light field camera.” According to the company’s website, it has a completely different lens and capture system, allowing you to take a photograph of a scene and then fiddle with the focus afterward.
Try clicking on different parts of the image below and see the focus change.
Unlike a regular camera, which captures only the light quantities that intersect a single focal plane inside the camera, the light field camera captures the intensity, color, and vector direction of all the rays of light. It replaces many of the internal components of a traditional camera with special software.
The video below gives the pitch:
A website promoting the new technology gives a gallery of images where you can rack the focus to any distance.
If you combined these image interfaces in stereoscopic 3D with eyetracking technology to input the focus changes, I believe you'd get a very powerful 3D illusion.
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Thanks, Carl James Holley and Dorian Iten