I finally found [again] information on the awesome new camera being prototyped at Stanford. It’s a camera which captures the entire light field inside the lense at one instant, rather than just capturing incident light on a receptor, as do existing cameras. Meaning, it records the direction of the light as well as it’s position. This means “focus” is meaningless at the time you take the photo – only afterwards do you load up some special software and determine what you want to focus on in the photo. Indeed, you should be able to bring the entire image into focus (although none of their demos do so), achieving the much-vaulted infinite depth of field, even in true macro shots.
Their web page (with example movies) is here. It’s really cool stuff. I wish I had one like that – it would have saved me quite a few lost photos. :)
For those who may still be in California, they’re talking about the camera at the March SIGGRAPH meeting, on March 16, 7:30pm, at Town Hall Auditorium, Apple Headquarters Mariani Drive, Cupertino. It’d be well worth it to go check it out.