Smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has filed a patent with the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) office on September 30th that depicts their own take on camera sensors that would live underneath a smartphone’s display.
The move toward finding ways to place sensors beneath the display of a smartphone has been somewhat of a trend this year, with the Samsung Galaxy S10 series, Mate 20 Pro, OnePlus 6T and Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro all being released in the last year featuring in-display fingerprint sensors.
By finding a way to place camera sensors beneath displays as well, manufacturers can finally move away from smartphones with notches and cutouts designed into the screen and toward truly full-screen displays.
There are hurdles to overcome first, however. The current solution to the problem involves increasing the transparency of the screen where the sensors are; however, even the slightest of obtrusions in the screen cause the display panel to dissipate light and will compromise the quality of the image.
Samsung may have found a solution to this issue, with a recent announcement that they will be mass-producing displays capable of hiding camera sensors beneath them sometime in 2020. They would accomplish this by using a laser drill – piece of equipment called a HIAA2 – to punch tiny holes in the display to allow adequate amounts of light to pass into the camera sensor.
Though we will all have to wait until next year to find out if this will truly be the solution to the in-display camera problem, it should still be noted that as with any patent, Xiaomi’s recent filing with CNIPA may never make it to a commercial product.