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LG patents a phone with a 16-lens camera

The proposed multi-lens camera. (Source: Letsgodigital)
The proposed multi-lens camera. (Source: Letsgodigital)
LG have filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a camera module that could have as many as 16 lenses, as well as the means of controlling the same via a phone's UI. This development could revolutionize 3D photography and similar functions.

LG Electronics has always been a trail-blazer in terms of smartphone photography. Its 2016 Android flagship, the G5, was the first to rock a dual rear-camera module. LG built on this pioneer status by packing superior wide-angle functions into its G6, a tradition that was elaborated on again in the G7 ThinQ. Now, the tech outlet LetsGoDigital has found a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grant for the company that appears to take mobile cameras even further. It describes a module with a 'plurality' of lenses, one prototype of which may have as many as 16 lenses.

The patent allows scope for a smartphone camera with this many lenses, although it may also accomodate about 4 in a 2x2 matrix. However, these lenses are also shown in a 4x4 conformation. The patent also encompasses software-based controls that could allow for the selection of images from just 1 or more of these lenses. This implies a whole wave of new potential in the areas of 3D photography; for example, it could allow for the selection and editing of just 1 part of a given image in all these dimensions without having so much as moved the phone beforehand.

Such a multi-lens module could also enhance other modern-day features like AR and VR. However, the concept may need work; the 'terminal' (a phone-like device) for controlling the camera had a by-now outmoded set of capacitive buttons on the front panel. The patent was also only granted on November 20, 2018, suggesting that it may be many years at least before LG debuts any kind of multi-lens phone.

The 16-lens matrix with possible curvature profiles for 3D image capture, and 1 possible use for the same. (Source: USPTO)
The 16-lens matrix with possible curvature profiles for 3D image capture, and 1 possible use for the same. (Source: USPTO)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 11 > LG patents a phone with a 16-lens camera
Deirdre O Donnell, 2018-11-25 (Update: 2018-11-25)