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LG wants to make a camera phone with 16 lenses. Er, what?

LG recently revealed the LG V40 Thinq (opens in new tab) with five lenses (three at the back, two at the front)  but it wasn't to go way bigger with a future phone. A new patent reveals that it is trying to create a phone with 16 lenses on it. 

Now, on first read that is utterly ridiculous. And on second, third and fourth... But, the thinking behind the camera phone is that the lenses would be arranged in a 4x4 matrix and this would allow the user to shoot 3D movies and giving the utmost control to image manipulation. 

This might not be as far-fetched as it sounds, because multi-camera phones are already hitting the mainstream with models like the Nokia 9 PureView (opens in new tab).

The phone would house 16 cameras on its back in a 4x4 configuration. 

The phone would house 16 cameras on its back in a 4x4 configuration. 

This is because one shot could theoretically have multiple angles in it and you could rotate and change position of objects and people in a shot. 

In the patent, this is handily illustrated by a teddy bear. 

Theoretically, you could move an object within the scene.

Theoretically, you could move an object within the scene.

The patent goes on to note that you would be able to draw around a person's head and be able to search for images of that person (something similar already happens with Google Photos) and the idea is that you can completely replace the head of someone with a better version that has been shot. 

The patent continues (opens in new tab): "The mobile terminal comprises a display module; a camera provided with a plurality of lenses; and a controller configured to receive images through the plurality of lenses and outputting the received images on the display module, wherein the controller generates one moving image data by using an image received from the first lens of the plurality of lenses and an image received from the second lens different from the first lens."

Make from that what you will. 

Will this camera phone see the light of day? Probably not, but it shows the extremes phone manufacturers are going to make sure that their handsets are equipped with the most eye-catching cameras. 

Via Let's Go Digital (translated) (opens in new tab)

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Marc Chacksfield
Marc Chacksfield

A technology journalist who has been in the industry for 17 years, Marc is the former editor-in-chief of TechRadar and has also steered the ship for technology brands including T3, Tom's Hardware and Tom's Guide, and is currently the director of Shortlist Media and co-owner of Shortlist.com. 


An expert in the field of camera phones and mobile tech, Marc has been a long-time specialist when it comes to phone reviews, hands-on coverage, reviews and rumors. As a frequent visitor to big trade shows like CES, he has also had boots on the ground for the latest camera announcements and breaking developments in fields such as 8K video.