New Toshiba camera sensor lets you refocus after the shot, plans 2013 launch in smartphones and tablets

New Toshiba camera sensor lets you refocus after you take the shot, plans to launch in smartphones and tablets next year

Hoping for some after-the-fact focusing in your next smartphone camera? Well, you'll have to wait around a year, but Toshiba's planning exactly that with a new module that houses an array of 500,000 tiny lenses. Within a 1cm-thick unit, these lenses are layered in front of the camera sensor, which can capture slightly different images from each lens arrangement. Those picture can then be combined in a "complete" picture using Toshiba's own software. Apparently, the camera will also be able to measure the distance between objects in the shot -- similar to how 3D images are captured -- with the user then able to shift focus between close and distant detail, or even create images that are in-focus throughout. Toshiba says the module will also be able to capture video with a similar degree of focus management -- something that Lytro hasn't got around to just yet. The sensor is still a work in progress, but the manufacturer plans to commercialize the module before the end of 2013. Toshiba is looking to ally itself with multiple smartphone (and tablet) makers -- and here's hoping that it finds its way into a device outside of Japan.

[Thanks Franck]