Capturing that (light field) moment

Yes, your eyes do not lie, that is 12 cameras rigged to take a picture at the exact same moment. The idea is a single camera loses data (namely depth) when it takes a 3D image and transposes it onto a 2D medium. FuturePicture somewhat circumvents this loss by taking several pictures with different focus distances. In short, the camera array allows you to focus on multiple items within a scene. The project’s hardware and software have yet to be released (we do know it’s at least Arduino), but they plan to make it entirely open source so everyone can experiment. Of course, we’ll keep you up to date.
[via Make]


  1. Daniel Reetz says:

    As of last night, software is up for Mac, Win, Linux:

    Also an instructable showing how to do it with just one camera…

  2. Gatz85 says:

    Thinking of this idea a bit i thought maybe u could use a single camera and have it take pictures while it cycles through what it can auto focuses on. a cheap digital camera should be easy to hack a Arduino board

  3. Fox64 says:

    It would have an Arduino…

  4. CubeSpawn says:

    Makes me wonder if this isn’t a fine solution to 3d scanning or a spatially accurate, wide field, machine vision application, as it appears to be a digital “holography” camera.

    This may turn out to be handy for machine vision on my project

    Although the cycling with a single camera would be a more appealing (and lower cost) path to the solution.

  5. Chris says:

    Yay, more Arduino!

  6. Spork says:

    This is interesting. I would like to see a “3D” feeling still image. If they’re just using it to make the GIF’s on the website, you can just use any video camera and a rack focus technique to get a very similar effect.

  7. tulcod says:

    stop it with the arduino crap, seriously :P

  8. Evaproto says:

    I have seen a similar method done with a single camera in the book “Intelligent Image Processing” by Steve Mann. There is even a program for joining the pictures that is open source that he released He uses a camera that takes pictures at different focal lengths and different exposure rates to get more dynamic realistic lighting. Here is a paper on it

  9. somename says:

    It seems that they just want to get everything in focus, you may just as well get telephoto from a far distance, it will have everything in focus too and is likely to cost less.

  10. rallen says:

    @ tulcod
    I like “Arduino crap”. If you don’t, you don’t have to read it. You got another cheap, open-source microcontroller you like to use in your projects? Please share!

  11. normaldotcom says:

    Focus-bracketing is a bit more practical for scenes without moving objects.

  12. Diane says:

    you can get the same effect in fotoshop

  13. Evaproto says:

    You cant run that on a Arduino so you need some cheaper algorithms that can possibly run on cheap hardware.

  14. risu says:

    First thing i thought of after seeing that picture: Now police can read tags at any distance!

  15. Lambda_drive says:

    Adobe did something like that a few years ago. The samples in the video show off some cool capabilities of their system.

  16. draeath says:

    “eeew arduino!”

    …. shut the **** up already! It’s not like he’s just flashing LEDs.

  17. MrX says:

    Nice hack!

    Keep them coming, thanks for sharing.

  18. PKM says:

    Not to jump on the bandwagon of Arduino-bashing, but… this project is tagged under arduino hacks but not digital camera hacks? WTF? It’s a multi-camera hack where the specific implementation happens to use an arduino for its intended purpose.

  19. Glen says:

    the arduino is a multipurpose Programmable microchip, you can do almost anything with them.
    insulting a arduino is insulting the Atmel Microchip, and by purpose and equivalency, your insulting every single programmable microchip in existence…
    so what… it isnt as hardcore as some of the other chips, it works SO WHAT? i dont hear you hackers complaining that a contraption is held together with duct-tape. it works SO WHAT
    if you have a problem with how a hack is made, i dare you to make it better, until then, grow up!

    some of you are probably already started replying a response to this, you probably feel as if you know more then me(im impressed you read this far). where is your Hack on this site? the arduino is as worthy of becoming a tool as the screwdriver.

  20. nameless says:

    Glen: The trolls. Do not feed them.

    When PIC programmers become more common, people will complain about all of the PIC projects.

    When those Stamps become more common, people will complain about those.

    When someone posts a link about a next-generation home-made rocket, that displays innovations based on physics and chemistry, people will complain about that.

    They’re trolls. Beneath contempt if they are bitter genuinely mean what they’re saying, and potentially quite funny if they have a good sense of humor.

    Either way, they’re haters who would be better off learning and listening. It’s the holidays; don’t stress about their crap. Pick up your arduino and set it to ignite some thermite and roast a troll doll as your christmas present to the internet :)

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