Lytro has been working for three years to build a brand new type of camera with light field technology, and while the tech itself is quite incredible, transforming that into a viable business has proven difficult.
Until now, the company has been selling special cameras, the original Lytro and the newer, photographer-friendly Illum. It’s a difficult business that is in fast flux, given that so many entry-level photographers now have a camera in their smartphone and more intensive photographers want a proper DSLR.
And so, Lytro is adding a new revenue stream to its business with the launch of the Lytro Development Kit. For now, it’s a software development kit that comes with an API for integrating light field technology into applications in a number of imaging fields, including holography, microscopy, architecture, and security.
Lytro’s light field sensor takes into account the direction that light is traveling relative to the shot, rather than capture light on a single plane. This, paired with Lytro’s software, allows for image refocusing post-shot, among other dimension-based features. With the LDK, Lytro is looking to open up that functionality to other field and businesses, with a revenue stream coming from the enterprise side.
Alongside access to the API and the Lytro processing engine, the company will also be working alongside partners to develop custom devices and photography hardware to accomplish their specific, industry-based goals.
With the launch, Lytro has announced four major partnerships with organizations already on the platform, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a medical devices startup called General Sensing, the Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, and an unnamed “industrial partner” applying the tech to work with nuclear reactors.
Pricing starts at $20,000 for access to the platform. You can learn more here.