Gadgets for humans

LG patent hints towards a phone with 16 cameras

There's nothing like "enough lenses."

Do you think four or five lenses on a smartphone camera are enough? Well, LG may not agree with you. The company’s recently filed patent hints towards a possible 16-lens camera on a phone.

The patent, first spotted by LetsGoDigital, suggests matrix arrangements of 16 cameras with different curvatures. These formations can be used to take photos of an object from different angles. The core aim of this design is to produce a moving image captured through multiple lenses.

Credit: Letsgodigital
Examples of different matrix arrangements with 16 camera

The images in the patent note that camera setup on the back of the phone sports a mirror for selfies and a flash below the lens-cluster.

Credit: USPTO
Suggested design of the phone with 16 cameras

The patent also suggests that users can apply some great effects on photos with this setup. For instance, replacing an object in a photo would be quite simple. It’d also be possible to cut a part of a photo and replace it with an image captured from the other lens. The below picture implies that you can select the head of a teddy bear and rotate it without compromising the image. The document has details about replacing faces and capturing 3D images as well.

Credit: USPTO
Example of selecting a part of a photo and moving it in a different direction

According to the patent, it’ll also be possible to combine several images snapped via different lenses and merge them into one image. Google already uses this technique in the Pixel 3 for HDR+, Super Res Zoom, and Night Shift.

An example of combining multiple images

Recently, Samsung released the Galaxy A9 with four cameras on the back and there are pictures of a rumored five-camera Nokia phone going around as well. So we won’t be entirely surprised if we see more lenses on a phone in the near future.

We can’t say for sure that LG will ever end up utilizing the patent and release a phone with 16 lenses. But it’s an interesting concept nonetheless, and we’d love to see it become a reality.

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.

Published November 26, 2018 — 09:35 UTC