Lytro, founded in 2006, develops light-field cameras, which capture both the intensity of light in a scene, and also the direction that the light rays are traveling in space. In late 2015, the company announced a high-end VR video capture camera with a companion custom compute server aimed at studios looking to combine CGI-based virtual reality (VR) with video VR.
Now TechCrunch is reporting that Google is buying the camera maker for somewhere between $25 to $40 million. The deal is being described as an “asset sale,” suggesting the focus is on the company’s technology and IP, which includes 59 patents related to light field and other digital imaging technologies.
Just last week Google announced that it was experimenting with using light fields for VR in order to create a more immersive user experience. Speculation is that the Lytro acquisition would be a move to add the camera maker’s technology and patents to bolster its current efforts in light field and VR technology.
Since its launch, Lytro has raised over $200 million in funding, and, according to reports, was valued at $360 million in 2017. The company already had a connection with Google, as one of Google’s SVPs sits on Lytro’s board of directors.
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