Commercial Light Field Camera launches
Lytro has released their light field camera, where you can set the focus AFTER taking the photos. The camera records light as more than a single-valued pixel - it records intensity as well as the vector direction of the light. Focusing is done on the software rather than the optics, giving it a lot more data than traditional photos. This holds the potential for faster photo taking as well as improved low light performance (however, the company doesn't seem to have demonstrated low light performance yet).
One of the things that interest me here is the lack of moving parts in focusing - this could be very useful for machine vision, since we can estimate depth from focus without any moving parts. Human vision performs depth segmentation from focus to perceive the environment, and this may be the key for enabling robots to do the same reliably.
However, one deal-breaker is that this camera only works on Mac, and Windows support is being developed, but no Linux support is planned. Also it doesn't support video yet, but the company claims that it is a planned feature.