Forget what you think you know about taking photos. Lytro may change everything. This month, the startup ships its first, eponymous product: a camera that you never have to focus. Just point the spyglass-shaped device and shoot. There's no need to obsess over the details—you can change the focus and perspective later. Built upon CEO Ren Ng's research on light fields and optics, the camera, which is free of shutter lag, immediately captures not only the color and intensity of light rays but also their direction. Such data let the user create nearly infinite versions of the scene, adjusting the image on the camera's touch screen, online, or on a computer, courtesy of Lytro software. "With living pictures," says Ng, "not only can you share these moments but interact with them." (From $399, lytro.com)
A version of this article appears in the February 2012 issue of Fast Company.