Tech’s biggest companies are still investing countless dollars into virtual reality, rushing to gobble up any new technology that shows any sort of promise. Lytro is reportedly the latest startup preparing itself for acquisition, with Google looking to buy the company for somewhere around $40 million.
You may remember Lytro as the imaging startup responsible for creating the strange Light Field Camera back in 2012. More recently, the company launched the Lytro Illum, a full-sized camera that “unlocks the ability to capture the color, intensity and direction of the light rays flowing into the camera.” Essentially, you can adjust the focus after the fact using Lytro’s custom software to translate that depth data into a photo. It was more a niche product with Lytro later pivoting to VR with Lytro Volume Tracer, a Light Field platform for mixed reality.
Lytro VT is a Light Field solution for pre-rendered CG content for a more immersive playback experience in virtual or augmented reality. Lytro provided a tech demo with a short animation called “One Morning” (video below) created using Lytro VT. It seems to have caught the eye of Google who is now looking to acquire Lytro’s assets — which include somewhere around 59 light field and other digital imaging related patents — for a bargain price of no more than $40 million.
During its last round of funding in 2017, Lytro raised a little over $200 million in funding and was valued at around $360 million. A sale for $40 million likely wont make investors happy but for consumers excited about VR, specifically how Google will be using it in next gen VR products, have a lot to be excited about.