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Toshiba's refocussing camera sensor coming to phones in 2013

Toshiba has a camera sensor that lets you change the photo's focus after you've snapped. And it's coming to mobiles and tablets soon.

Have you ever snapped what you thought was an award-winning photo, only to find you've focussed on the wrong part? Annoying, isn't it. Well Toshiba could have the answer.

The company has unveiled a camera sensor that lets you change focus after you've taken the picture, Engadget reports. So in the image above, you can see the focus shifts from the chap in the foreground to those in the background. If you're thinking it sounds a bit like the Lytro camera, you'd be right, but Toshiba's tech will be compact enough to fit inside a smart phone or tablet.

Inside the module sits an array of 500,000 tiny lenses. These are layered in front of the camera sensor, and so can capture slightly different images from each lens arrangement. Using Toshiba's software, the pictures are merged into one. The camera can then measure the distance between objects in the image, letting you shift the focus from your gran back to yourself, where it should be.

Toshiba says you'll also be able to tweak the focus on videos you've recorded using the sensor. Which sounds pretty darned cool.

It's not some kind of space-age tech, either. It should be making its way into mobiles and tablets by the end of 2013. Toshiba is looking for other companies willing to integrate the sensor into their devices, so hopefully it should make it into some high-end doohickies.

The only issue is the size of the module at the moment. It's a cube that measures about a centimetre on each side, which is a lot fatter than the units in most devices -- and even the devices themselves -- nowadays. But I'm sure Toshiba can slim it down some.

Would you like to change the focus of your snaps after taking them? Have you played with the Lytro camera? Let me know what you reckon to the tech in the comments, or on Facebook.