According to rumors reported by TechCrunch, Google’s parent company Alphabet is looking to acquire Lytro. They are known for releasing its light field camera’s and has ventured into virtual reality as well.
The reports mention a number of different acquisition budgets, it’s being estimated that Google is willing to pay up to 40 million US dollars for the company. Apparently, the takeover would be an asset sale, meaning that Lytro’s current patents concerning light field technology would be the property of Google. It’s unclear why Google wants to acquire Lytro, although some are speculating that it wants to incorporate the light field technology in its own products such as the Pixel smartphones.
Another source does mention that not all employees would be able to move to Google, it appears they’re only interested in acquiring the company for their assets.
Lytro has presented its Immerge video platform for virtual reality back in 2015, using the company’s patented light field technology. Images shot with this technology contain an enormous amount of information regarding the light circumstances, which allows the user to focus on a different part of the image even after it’s taken. Lytro’s first camera based on this technology was introduced in 2011 and its successor, the Illum, hit the shelves a couple of years later.
Both cameras were quite successful, but Lytro has decided to since focus on virtual reality applications and professional imaging. Their Cinema light field camera, for example, is aimed at the movie production industry.
It still remains unclear how and if Lytro’s operations would proceed if the takeover goes through, although we should hear more news about this in the next few weeks.