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The "living images" of Lytro stop living

As part of his departure from the consumer team towards professional film hardware, Lytro has killed the site that once housed his "living images", photographs taken with their cameras that could be reoriented after the fact. This will turn a handful of those images, where they had been embedded in the web in recent years, into empty frames. If you want to see brightfield images now, you will need to see them in the desktop application.

In 2012, when I reviewed the original Lytro camera, I wrote:

"Lytro software is limited to browsing your photos and grouping them into" stories ", and you can upload them directly to (and only to) Lytro, which will serve them for … eternity, wait, there's not much choice there. "

As I half expected, it would be the case at that time, eternity turned out to be short, until it became inconvenient for the company to house it. Of course, it is unlikely that there are many active users of the service now; Lytro left the consumer camera market two years ago when it was shown that there was little demand for its technically amazing but ultimately deceptive cameras.

Non-living image

You should never trust services that offer so little flexibility in the way you access and serve your own data, but Lytro's technology was unique, since it basically required a special complement to be displayed correctly . These complements would integrate them where I would like to share a "living image", a clumsy and awkward solution that contributed to the endemic usability problems of the entire Lytro proposition.

The living image format is made forever unless the company releases some form of self-hosting, but it seems unlikely. Any remaining user will have to export static photos or movie files in the desktop application.

I am pleased to see Lytro evolve and apply its brilliant technology to a new market, but the bumpy road it has covered is full of lessons for new hardware companies.

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