Report: Google To Acquire Light Field Capture Studio Lytro

by Jamie Feltham • March 21st, 2018

Last week’s Welcome to Light Fields saw Google give VR users an impressive look into the world of light field capture and the photorealistic environments it can produce. Now a new report suggests Google is looking to acquire another light field capture company to take its work in the area even further.

TechCrunch cites multiple sources in saying the Google is set to purchase Lytro, a light field-focused startup that we’ve covered a number of times on UploadVR. The stage of the deal is not yet known abut, according to the site, one source noted this was an “asset sale”, meaning Google is likely more interested in the technology and patents than the team behind it, with reports pinning the deal at either $25 million or $40 million. Several members of the Lytro team have reportedly already left the company.

It was just over a year ago now that Lytro raised a further $60 million in a series D round of funding, taking its total amount raised to over $200 million. The company had partnered with VR storytelling outfit, Within, to produce content shot on its Immerge camera. Like other systems out there, Immerge captures information about the rays of light surrounding it and uses this to virtually recreate environments not only with photorealism but a limited amount of positional tracking, too.

Google’s plans for Lytro and light field capture in general aren’t clear right now, though the descriptions for Welcome to Light Fields did reveal that the company is using the tech to “power its next generation of VR content,” suggesting we’ll see something from the company in the near future.

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