MemsCam Mimics Lytro, Will Bring ‘Take Now, Focus Later’ Tech to Smartphones


California-based company DigitalOptics debuted their newest creation this week. It’s called the Mems|Cam, and it’s stirring up a bit of excitement in the tech world. That’s because, in addition to blazing fast focus and facial recognition, the camera module actually mimics Lytro’s “take now, focus later” abilities — only it does it in 8-13 megapixel packages that can fit inside the thinnest of phones.

Digital Trends was fortunate enough to get a demo of the module:

As you can see, it does what Lytro does, only it uses a different mechanism. Instead of messing with light field technology, it just takes several photos at different depths of field which the software then stitches together into a final shot. Once stitched, you can treat it like any Lytro photo: just tap to focus.

It does this, all the while taking advantage of the MEMS (microelectromechanical silicone system) technology for which it was named. Long words aside, that basically means that it is significantly smaller, lighter, and less power-hungry than traditional camera modules. In fact, according to Digital Trends, it uses just one percent of the energy of traditional camera sensors.


Several companies have already expressed an interest in acquiring this technology, and with Toshiba nipping on its heels, DigitalOptics will want to get it out as soon as possible. So expect to see yet another leap in smartphone camera tech coming sometime around mid-2013.

  • brad

    this should be a hit with the instagram crowd, real selective focus, just as log as you call it a filter

  • Renato Murakami

    Interesting concept, valid and all, but man, you don’t need to lie saying “to our knowledge, the first of it’s kind on the market”.
    A good part of the demonstration is exactly like Lytro. And ok, it’s a different technology, I don’t see a problem with them using a similar player and all, but claiming ignorance only makes them look stupid.
    Anyways, I like how it seems intended for video applications…. dunno if at that speed it would be usable (it seems fast, but not follow focus fast), but still.

  • Alexander Petricca

    This will kill Lytro.

  • dudung10

    congrats, you killed lytro!