That’s the idea behind Lytro’s light field cameras. This disruptive technology is the brainchild of Dr. Ren Ng. In fact, his seminal Ph.D. research on light field technology earned the field’s top honor, the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for best thesis in computer science and engineering, as well as Stanford University’s Arthur Samuel Award for Best Ph.D. Dissertation.
Lytro’s light field camera represents [possibly] the most significant shift in photography since the transition from film to digital in 1988. The light field fully defines how a scene appears, from the foreground to the background and everything in between. Unlike conventional cameras, which can only record a scene in two dimensions, light field cameras can capture all of the light traveling in every direction through a scene in four dimensions. A light field picture taken with a Lytro camera can be manipulated after the fact in ways not possible with editing software.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald