A Samsung patent describes an under-screen camera implementation that does not affect image quality.
In recent years, we have witnessed the gradual transition from phones that place the camera above the screen to implementations that aim to maximize the screen-to-housing ratio. A first step was to give up the rectangular shape of the screen, which comes with the edges cut after the contour of the case and delimited by a narrower frame. At the same time, the “chin” left under the screen narrowed until it almost completely disappeared, and at the top appeared the “bangs” cut from the active surface of the screen. In the meantime, it has been replaced with circular or oval perforations, which recover from the useful display space.
But the perforated screen remains an unsightly compromise, which some manufacturers are trying to eliminate by developing screens that become semi-transparent in the area just above the camera lens. Unfortunately, the under-screen camera technology is also a compromise solution, the device manufacturers using software fireworks to “beautify” the appearance of the photos obtained behind the semi-transparent screen. If you also take into account the fact that the area of the screen that delimits the camera lens has a modified appearance, which betrays its presence, the innovation praised by some smartphone manufacturers leaves a rather bitter taste.
This is why under-screen camera technology has not yet made its appearance on high-end phones with pretensions, manufacturers preferring other compromise solutions even more expensive, such as placing the camera in a retractable module.
Samsung is reinventing under-screen camera technology
Appearing as a hybrid between the solutions used so far, the innovation described in a Samsung patent provides for the use of a fully perforated screen next to the camera, thus preserving the quality of the snapshots obtained. Instead of a mechanism that raises the entire photo module above the screen, we have a mini-screen positioned between the camera lens and the main screen of the phone. Ordered like the camera shutter, it shuts off only when the front camera is active. Functioning as a piece of a puzzle, the retractable mini-screen serves to complete the missing part of the image.
Although it has some advantages, the innovation could increase the cost of repairing phones, if the technology is integrated directly into the screen module. At the same time, the mechanically operated system could be expensive to implement, appearing rather as a solution for premium phones, while the semi-transparent screen will continue to be improved.
Robert J. Smith is still early into his career as tech reporter but has already had his work published in many major publications including JoyStiq and Android Authority. In regards to academics, Robert earned a degree in business from Fordham University. Robert has passion for emerging technology and covers upcoming products and breakthroughs in science and tech.