Patent talk: A 16-lens phone? LG is crazy (like a fox)

Patent talk: A 16-lens phone? LG is crazy (like a fox)
Credit: United States Patent 10,135,963

A patent was filed to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) titled "Mobile terminal and control method for the mobile terminal" which, if you look beyond the rather lackluster title, proposes an exciting set of powers to the smartphone.

LG Electronics is proposing no less than 16 lenses on a single . As such, all kinds of doors open for those who want to play like crazy with visual options.

Watchers at Engadget seemed to be rolling back on its chairs when it got wind of the filed that was seen by LetsGoDigital. "LG imagines a smartphone with no less than 16 camera lenses."

Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, said that "the goal of the multiple cameras seems to be to offer different angles on a scene using the perspective of the different lenses."

So, no triple, quad or penta camera, but a hexadecimal camera, gasped LetsGoDigital.

In the smartphone design of their vision, you could achieve scenes from multiple perspectives in single shots. You could be as creative (and manipulative) as you ever dreamed, splicing photos and more.

Gartenberg in The Verge looked at the patent's touchpoints and noted it would be able to use "the different datasets from the different lenses to cut out things from the image (say, for things like portrait mode or even replacing a background entirely)."

Steve Dent in Engadget offered examples of "moving someone's head around or replacing it completely."

Notebookcheck thinks that LG's concept as a development "could revolutionize 3-D photography and similar functions."

Dierdre O'Donnell said, "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."

Dent said the design involves a 4x4 matrix. CNET's Sean Keane talked about that 4 x 4 matrix design and what it all meant. "The lenses would be arranged in a four-by-four matrix, with each placed at a certain curvature to allow you to take multiperspective photos or combine them to create the desired shot."

So, in the smartphone marketplace, is this getting a little crazy, where smartphone vendors have to outdo each other? And is the battle of the brands primarily over the visual, of cameras and picture quality? Steve Dent aimed for the mark in Engadget: "Much like the megapixel race several years ago, smartphone makers are trying to grab the interest of increasingly bored consumers by adding more cameras, it appears."

If you think LG is going a little crazy you have company. Nonetheless, LG has enough photography talent to act crazy like a fox. JC Torres in SlashGear: "You might think LG has gone overboard and you wouldn't be mistaken. That said, LG naturally has thought this through. At least enough to apply a patent for it. In a nutshell, those 16 cameras will work together to provide different angles of the same subject. You can pick the best angle you want or, better yet, create a moving image out of the combined different views."

Patent ideas may never see the light of day but it is captivating to think that LG Electronics may be working on a smartphone camera with that many lenses for real. PhoneArena's Milen Yanachkov is not at all surprised that LG is thinking in the 16- direction. He said, "it wouldn't be too far-fetched to assume that LG could try adding more cameras to its phones. Furthermore, there's already a portable camera with 16 lenses (and sensors) on the market. It is called the Light L16."

Gartenberg, The Verge, said, "with the ever-escalating battle to push phone cameras to the limit, it may only be a matter of time until the hexadecimal camera is a reality."

Keane in CNET looked at the patent discussion about "a display and speaker on the back on the phone, the latter allowing it to create stereo sound."

Well, you can't enthrall everybody. You can't even please them. A number of negative comments on various sites could be summed up as "Overboard." "Waste of resources." "If they spent that much time on the battery it would be nice."

More information: Mobile terminal and control method for the mobile terminal, United States Patent 10,135,963.

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