Toshiba designs "Lytro" image sensor for mobile devices

Toshiba is reportedly designing a specialized image sensor for smartphones and tablets. 

With the sensor, users would be able to snap a picture of a group of people – and then select a specific face to detail (focus) after the photograph is taken.

The image sensor Toshiba is working on is somewhat similar to the Lytro light field camera that launched earlier this year.

The primary difference between the two? The Lytro camera is a rectangular device over 4 inches long, while Toshiba’s new tech can be packed inside a normal imaging sensor.

Toshiba’s imaging sensor is cube-shaped with an array of over 500,000 micro lenses in front of the sensor. The cube itself measures 1 cm on each side, allowing it to fit into a number of smartphone designs. 

Essentially, the array of sensors not only allows users to choose which spot in the image to defocus or focus, but all faces in an image can be in-focus – no matter where they are located in the frame.

Toshiba is actively seeking manufacturers to integrate the new camera sensor into smartphones, tablets, and other devices, with an eye on bringing the tech to market by end of 2013.