Prior to the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona every year, rumors abound as to what Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC and others will be launching during their respective keynote events. This year there was a lot of Buzz over rumors that the latest HTC smartphone would support dual backside cameras. The rumor mill got it wrong this time, as the surprise of the second aperture was in fact related to a backside fingerprint scanner. However not all is lost on this front because Microsoft has just revealed that dual backside cameras producing 3D imagery are on the drawing board for future smartphones and tablets. Another small company by the name of Google introduced project Tango recently and that'll result in bringing 3D cameras to smartphones sometime next year. In fact, prototypes for developers begin rolling out next Friday.
Mobile Devices with Dual Backside Cameras
A new Microsoft patent came to light last week titled "Switchable Camera Mirror Apparatus." The patent overall discusses various techniques for switchable camera mirror apparatus that could be incorporated into future mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Deep into the patent filing we found Microsoft's patent FIG. 7 which illustrates an example implementation of a tablet computer designed and configured to capture stereoscopic images, such as for 3-dimensional (3D) photography.
In Microsoft's patent FIG. 8 noted below, we're able to see an example implementation scenario for capturing a stereoscopic image, generally at the patent point #800.
In Microsoft's patent figure example, the portions 810 and 812 noted above could be sequentially switched to enable a first image to be captured via the first rear aperture 704, and then a second image to be captured via the second rear aperture 706. The images, for instance, could be automatically captured when a user simply click a camera function virtual button found on the tablet.
The first image and the second image could then be overlaid to produce a stereoscopic image. Thus, light transmission state of various portions of the computing device (e.g., the smart mirror assembly 808) could be tailored to suit a variety of different image capture and/or camera mode scenarios, including capture of still images, video recording, and so forth.
Microsoft filed their patent application back in August 2012 which was published by USPTO last week. To review more of the details of this invention, check out Microsoft's patent application 20140055624.
Who else is going to deliver 3D photography on smartphones in the future? – Google with Project Tango.
Future 3D Photography: Dual Backside Cameras
According to Google's webpage, prototype developer kits will start rolling out next Friday.
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