Lightfield Camera or Plenoptic Camera
The idea presented by this type of camera is of a photo that can be taken first and focused when viewing later. The viewer, not the photographer, can select the point of focus.
In effect what is taken is a larger number of photos, with very near lenses, and these images are combined to produce the resulting image. However it's not a camera with a lot of lenses on it, but a single lens containing a micro lens array inside it, you might like to think of it as one or more of the lens elements having a lot of bubbles on it, forming many different small lenses. This is said to be a 4 dimensional light field.
The individual small images have a very low pixel count, so you have difficulty in getting large images out of this. In 2004 a group at Stanford University built a 16 megapixel camera with a 90,000 microlens array, so each micro lens covered just 175 pixels, however it allowed the concept to be proven and the photo to be focused after it was taken.
Cameras of this type are only recently available, for 2010, Raytrix has sold several models of camera with this technology, aimed at industrial and scientific applications. From early 2012, the first camera aimed at public sale has become available from Lytro. A number of other experimental cameras have also been produced.
In addition to being able to focus an image after its been taken, it's possible with this type of camera to produce a realistic 3D image and its this area that a lot of interest is in, for industrial or robotic type applications, and for a variety of security functions from creating 3D images of scenes, suspects and systems that may in the future be able to recognise people from images and track them automatically on a network of CCTV cameras. Some experiments have also been ongoing with microscopes looking at getting clearer 3D images of very small items.
The camera has only two buttons, power and shutter. Other settings/selections are made from the small touch screen.
The main downsides are, that the resulting images converted to JPG's are only 1.2megapixels, and while you can add the images to a website, the software and browser has to be able to handle the code, and I have not been able to include one here, although available, as it will not work in our website creation software.
When I first saw this I thought I must have one of these, but then like all gadgets and gizmos, when you put it down and think about it over a few days, then its not clear what I could or would use the resulting images for.