In-Display Camera technology
Before the advent of social media, the concept of the front camera didn't even exist. But now, it is an essential component of the smartphone and can be a big deciding factor in phone purchases. Unfortunately, better cameras need better sensors, which take up precious real estate, resulting in large portions off the screen being rendered useless.
To cope with this issue, companies either opt for smaller camera units with lower quality, or bigger notches that are equally useless. A lot of companies are working on ways to hide the camera itself, using motorized hidden notches or sliders to deliver better screen-to- body ratios. While these solutions are innovative, they still have their own limitations. Thankfully, there is another way to hide the camera and still get to use it, as displayed by this demo video.
— Xiaomi #5GIsHere (@Xiaomi) June 3, 2019
As you can see, Xiaomi has developed a working prototype of this new kind of notch, which is not a cut-out, but rather a special type of glass that hides the camera unit underneath it. This is a similar technology to in-display fingerprint sensors, which have been popping up in more and more smartphones.
It may sound futuristic and too good to be true, but is still based on solid science. In fact, Xiaomi Senior VP Wang Xiang himself took the time to share some information about how the display works and how it differs from existing technologies.
— Wang Xiang (@XiangW_) June 3, 2019
Essentially, this new display has a small transparent panel at the top, made of a special type of glass, that is low in reflection and high in transmittance. These unique qualities allow the display above the camera to become transparent when the camera is needed, so that light can pass through the glass and reach the camera sensor. Since this feature is only activated during picture taking, you don't even notice the sensor during regular usage. This will allow the company to use bigger sensors and equipment to deliver better photos from the front camera.
Unfortunately, we still have to wait for quite some time, before we can think about enjoying this technology, since it is still in prototype phase. Thankfully, it's not that big of a worry, as a working prototype is still miles ahead of what the competition is attempting, and if everything goes right, we might be able to enjoy it sooner rather than later.