Many camera phone manufacturers have been eyeing up under-display camera technology recently, seeing it as a perfect solution to the unsightly camera notch. It seems that Microsoft is now joining the party, after a recently published patent shows an under-display camera with four sensors and color filters.
Filed in October 2020 with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and published on 14 May, 2021, the 40-page patent detailed four under-display camera sensors, each with its own color filter. Despite having seen patents for under-display cameras from other companies, including Xiaomi and Samsung, this is the first time we've seen a design like this before.
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This is because Microsoft has designed what they call a 'logo camera', which will display a true-to-color logo when the camera is turned off. The Microsoft logo will come as standard, but the individual user can choose from an icon menu to personalize their screen. When the user activates the front-facing camera, the logo will disappear and the shutter will be activated.
By choosing multiple camera sensors, Microsoft is able to use thinner camera modules, enabling it to keep the camera phone as slim as possible. This patent was uncovered by LetsGoDigital, which says, "to achieve a high camera resolution, the pixel density of the screen is increased. Each sensor and lens is configured to be optimized for particular colors".
The previously mentioned color filters will help improve camera performance in low light. However, LetsGoDigital warns that the color conversion could be sensitive to noise. It seems that Google is looking to overcome this potential problem with AI technology that will learn the difference between obscured and non-obscured light in images so that it can correct light loss and diffraction.
There's no official information on whether Microsoft will be incorporating this 'logo camera' technology in any upcoming devices. However, with a new Microsoft Surface Duo 2 expected in September and other Surface products on the way, we'll be keeping a keen eye out for this new under-display technology…