Samsung has developed technology to hide the photo sensor for selfies under the screen of its smartphones. A patent shows how the South Korean giant will make the front-facing camera invisible to users. Specifically, Samsung plans to slide a tiny retractable screen under the touch slab. Explanations.
On June 19, 2020, Samsung filed a new patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), report our colleagues at LetsGoDigital. The diagrams describe an “electronic device with a sub-screen.” The full operation of this new technology is explicit in the documents.
In the diagrams, we can see a borderless smartphone whose hole in the screen (which houses the front camera and the LED flash) is not visible. To camouflage this unsightly cavity, Samsung relies on an assembly of two separate screens, separated by a thin transparent protective layer.
Samsung imagines a sliding screen hidden under the touch screen
A small screen is placed under the AMOLED touchscreen. Activated by an engine and a mechanical device, this tiny slab is able to slide in front of the front camera when it is not in use. When the user wants to take a photo or make a video call, this small retractable screen lets the front-facing camera appear. This device is obviously reminiscent of the fashion of retractable sensors. In this case, LetsGoDigital speaks of an “internal pop-up camera”which sums up the process.
This technology would allow Samsung to offer a truly borderless screen without sacrificing the photo quality of selfies. Despite several years of development, the manufacturer has so far not been able to design a cavity transparent enough not to alter the rendering of the photos. Thus, the future Galaxy S21 (S30) still have to settle for an Infinity-O screen with a well-visible punch.
The patent also mentions the integration of an easy recognition system via iris scanner. Similarly, Samsung imagines that the screen that covers the photo sensor could display contextual information, such as time, battery level and messages. While waiting for official information, there is no indication that Samsung really intends to exploit this screen technology. It is not uncommon for the manufacturer to patent technologies without ever integrating them into products. For example, Samsung patented a smartphone with transparent screen earlier this year.