Imagine focusing on a photo

after the picture has been taken

Research Brought to Life

Lytro was born out of Stanford University’s imaging research lab. Founder Ren Ng spent his doctoral program tweaking what was then just theory, Light Field Imaging. This radical technology creates ‘Living Images’, photos that can be refocused after they are captured, opening a world of possibilities in photography. The start-up Lytro thus tasked us - bring this 177 page thesis to life.

From Bulk to Beauty

Compacting an Imaging Labs worth of optics into a pocketable device threw us a wicked curve. For Lytro to create “Living Images” they would need to capture an extreme amount of light from each picture, while having near zero shutter lag with large zoom optics. To compact this, for Lytro to truly represent a new-era of imaging it was clear to us we’d need to create an icon, not just another pointy lens smashed onto a rectangle.

Eye Spy A Solution

Experimenting with various forms through sketch, foam and crude mockup we gravitated towards a singular arrangement. Simple to make, easy to hold, highly compact, streamlined, gestural, tubular and radical. Striking in its minimalism, the ‘extruded lens’ is derived from the act of viewing an objet though a looking glass. This very act of discovery, so common to explorers in ages past, was the perfect gesture for this new icon – not to mention it beautiful shrunk all components into a object that fits the palm of your hand.

Balancing Act

This new physical architecture splits electronics into 3 square logic boards, stacked inline with sensor, battery, lens and screen. Four long screws end-to-end thread this entire assembly, further simplifying the structure. This hyper dense stack is enclosed in a 112mm long aluminum extrusion that functions as both cosmetic housing and exoskeleton. Each component within was weighed and positioned precisely to place the center of gravity directly under the shutter button - a seemingly small detail that rests Lytro effortlessly and securely in your hand.

Camera 3.0

Striking in its simplicity, Lytro is a rock-solid object, trustworthy for both the camera aficionado and the digital-mom, while capturing the imagination of the tech-savvy and lifestyle media alike. Its colorful anodized aluminum body, supple rubber controls and intuitive touch-screen deliver a complex message with clarity – the new way to experience photography is here.

A Timeline for Your Life

Lytro’s interface is tailored to its anatomy, born from smart device interactions, it is approachable and usable, effectually enamoring users with the new device upon first use. Based on the concept of a 'timeline', “capture” and “share” are not different modes, but parts of the same continuum. Arranging imagery left to right - as in past to present - Lytro's UI creates a wildly intuitive and efficient way for users to interact with their photographs, before and after they are taken. Once used, one wonders, “Why aren’t all cameras this way?”

Light or Dark

To create a sense of context and orientation we used color deliberately and judiciously. In camera mode the UI is predominantly dark, but once you enter settings or other non-camera functions the GUI inverts to a lighter palette, creating a clear distinction between modes. Combining minimal physical controls and a timeless ‘look & feel’ we deliberately restrained use of 3D GUI elements, differentiating Lytro from mainstream Cameras. These developments allow for a natural bridge between camera and display, where lens, screen and interface are seen as a whole, instead of disjointed parts allowing you to focus on the story of the moment.

An Icon for a New Era

Lytro Light Field Camera's future facing technology and memorable design has led it to be heralded as one of the most important cameras in history. The design helped attracted the attention of media outlets from the NYT's, Wired to even the Myth Busters and converting non-adopters into everyday users. Lytro continues to dissect the 'Living Image', bringing updates that add perspective shifting and living filters to images already captured, no matter when, continuing to break ground and helping Lytro live up to its promise.

CES Innovations
Core 77
GOOD Design
GOOD Design
IDEA Bronze
IDEA Bronze
Innovation by Design Finalist
Last Gadget Standing