Lytro lets you take pictures like never before. Unlike a conventional camera that captures a single plane of light, the Lytro camera captures the entire light field, which is all the light traveling in every direction in every point in space.
This comment on their blog gave some idea of how this technology can really be different.
I see potential for this technology in the detection of wavefront aberrations of the cornea. Currently, Fourier based wavefront algorithms are used for wavefront guided ablation of the cornea for LASIK. This technology has potential to give us new insights into corneal aberrations as well as intraocular lens technology.
The images on their site could be done with a wide depth of field and then selective blurring. So in that sense it’s not so impressive and kinda just a little flash-viewer gimmick. But there is something new here and even if this camera doesn’t bring out its full potential I am very curious about it’s eventual uses.
UPDATE: new pro version of this camera: the Illum