Earlier today we reported that Toshiba had a 20MP image sensor planned for point-and-shoot cameras, and it looks like Toshiba’s foray into the photography industry isn’t stopping there. According to Asahi Shimbun, it seems that Toshiba is currently working on a camera sensor designed for smartphones that will allow smartphone cameras to perform the same function as the Lytro light field camera. For those who are unfamiliar with the Lytro camera, it is a camera introduced back in 2011 that allowed photographers to shoot the image first and focus on the subject later. This allowed photographers to capture in-the-moment photos and worry about the focus points during the editing process.

Unlike the Lytro, Toshiba’s camera module measures about 1cm on each side meaning that it should fit into a smartphone. It features a dense array of 500,000 lenses, each about 0.03mm in diameter which sits in front of a sensor that measures 5mm by 7mm. Each of the 500,000 lenses will capture a slightly different image from the others and will ultimately combine them to form one image from which users can choose which areas they want to focus on based on the previous images taken. Toshiba is planning to commercialize the module by the end of fiscal 2013 and are looking for smartphone manufacturers to adopt its technology. Sounds like an interesting idea – would you like to see such a feature incorporated into your smartphone?

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