Skip to content

The "living images" of Lytro cease to live

As part of its abandonment of the mainstream equipment to the professional cinema, Lytro killed the site that housed his "living images", photos taken with his cameras that could be cropped after the fact . This will transform a handful of these images, where they have been embedded on the web in recent years, in empty frames. If you want to see the bright field images now, you have to see them in the desktop application.

In 2012, when I saw the original Lytro camera, I wrote:

"The Lytro software is limited to browsing your photos and grouping them into" stories ", and you can download them directly to (and only) Lytro, which will serve them for … the eternity, you will Not much choice there. "

As I was half expecting at that time, eternity turned out to be a bit short – until it became embarrassing for the company to welcome him. Of course, it is unlikely that there are many active users of the service now; Lytro left the mainstream camera market two years ago when it turned out that there was little demand for his technically amazing cameras but ultimately gadgets.

Non-Living Image

One should never trust services that offer so little flexibility in the way you access and serve your own data, but Lytro's technology was unique in that it essentially required a special plug-in to see properly. These plug-ins that you integrate where you want to share a "living image," an awkward clumsy solution that has contributed to endemic usability problems to any Lytro proposal.

The live image format is made forever unless the company releases a way to self-host them, but this seems unlikely. All remaining users will need to export to still images or video files in the desktop application.

I'm happy to see Lytro evolve and apply his cool technology to a new market, but the bumpy road he's traveled through is littered with lessons for young hardware startups.

See also  Purdue's PHADE technology allows cameras to "talk to you"