Last week, Google unveiled Welcome to Light Fields, a virtual reality app that relies on an algorithm to create more realistic VR photos and videos. Light Field photography was popularized in 2014 by Lytro, a Californian company specializing in light field imaging, which was the first to offer a camera based on this technology. To improve the latter, the Alphabet subsidiary naturally took an interest in this company.
Google’s interest in Lytro ultimately resulted in the acquisition of the company. According to TechCrunch, the transaction would take the form of a sale of assets amounting to around $ 40 million. Another source quoted by the American media reports a transaction of 25 million dollars, which testifies to the poor financial situation of the company. Indeed, these amounts appear very low compared to the 360 million dollars of Lytro’s valuation during his round of funding of 60 million dollars last year. In total, the company had raised more than $ 200 million since its inception.
Lytro, pioneer of Light Field photography
Founded in 2006 by Ren Ng, Lytro is developing “bright field photography” technology, which captures in-depth data to deliver next-generation cameras. Speaking first to established photographers, with his Illum camera, Lytro pivoted to orient himself towards the world of digital film production.
The Mountain View-based start-up, like Google, presented the Immerge camera at the end of 2015, the first in the world to include Light Field technology for virtual reality. The American company continued its momentum in 2016 by unveiling the Cinema camera, which allows you to quickly change the focus and depth of field to facilitate work on special effects. Concretely, this camera could mark the end of the green background.