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Google patent hints at under-display camera on Pixel phones

By Nadeem Sarwar May 19, 2021, 5:34 pm
google pixel underdisplay

It looks like under-screen cameras are going to be the next bragging rights material for the upcoming wave of flagship smartphones. ZTE has already launched phones with the aforementioned technology, although the results were not so stellar. Samsung and Apple are reportedly experimenting with under-screen cameras as well, and the next name to join the list might be Google. As per a patent application filed by Google before WIPO (via LetsGoDigital), the search giant is also toying with the idea and has a unique take on the whole system.

google patent
Image: WIPO

As per the schematics in a patent titled ‘Full-screen display with sub-display camera’, Google is taking a different approach. Instead of placing the camera below the display and turning the pixels directly above it translucent to let light in while capturing selfies, Google is positioning it sideways. Rather than putting a camera below the light-transmitting portion of the screen, Google wants to place a prism for bending light.

On one side of the prism, you’ll find the camera hardware, and on the opposite end, there is a secondary display. When trying to click a selfie, the prism will bend the light falling on it from the ‘under-screen window’ and sends it to the camera sensor for creating an image.

google underscreen patent letsgodigital
Credit: LetsGoDigital

When you’re not using the camera, the prism rotates to face the secondary display. Now, the secondary display produces the portion of content that would otherwise be visible on the screen if there were no under-screen window. The image appearing on the secondary screen is bent by the prism to reflect on the under-screen window, creating the illusion of a seamless display without any blurry pixels whatsoever.

Google might actually solve the blurry pixel issue of under-screen camera technology

The idea is unique and can potentially solve the biggest shortcoming of under-screen camera technology. However, this is a patent application we’re talking about, so it might never leave the brainstorming stage and appear on an actual Pixel phone. And even if Google succeeds at turning the patent into a practical solution, it might not appear on the Pixel 6 series as the leaks show it sporting a hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera. However, we might see the groundbreaking technology make its way to the rumored foldable Pixel phone in the near future.


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