Note: Example photograph you can manipulate yourself after the jump. Single-click to change focus, double-click to zoom.
Unlike a regular camera, the Lytro Light Field Camera allegedly gathers ALL the light information coming through the lens, allowing a user to manipulate the focus/color of a shot on a computer long after the picture was taken, effectively making it possible to take amazing looking photographs with absolutely zero skill or coordination. *Sits back and waits for the inevitable 'I AM TEH L337 PHOTOGRAPHER!!!!11' Facebook albums to start popping up*
The secret behind the Lytro camera is a new type of sensor that gathers much more information about the light coming into the camera than the sensors found on all other types of digital cameras. Rather than record a finite amount of information about the light in a photograph, as is the case with other camera sensors, the Lytro sensor records the entire "light field," which is made up of "all the light rays in a scene," according to the Lytro website. This includes the color, intensity and direction of the rays of light. Other cameras simply record all the light as a single amount of light.
With this vast amount of data, the focus of a photo can be fully adjusted to match a photographer's desires, using a computer, in the same way one might use Photoshop to adjusts hue, brightness or contrast on a regular photograph. This means never having to worry about whether auto-focus centered on the right part of a picture, and it makes capturing fast-motion much easier.
Admittedly, cool technology -- but it still breaks my heart a little to know everybody and their grandma (ESPECIALLY grandma) will be able to do things that once took some actual knowledge and skill. Like -- what's that other modern example I'm think of? Oh right, MUSIC. *autotunes fart, makes millions*
If you have Flash installed, hit the jump for a picture you can manipulate yourself.
Lytro Official Site (with a ton of other photos to play with)
Lytro: The camera that could change photography forever [yahoonews]
Thanks to Robin, who once took a picture of a picture of a picture. Whooaaaa, that's way too deep for me, Robin -- I'll be sitting on the steps in the shallow end if you need me.