The under-screen camera, described in a Google patent relevant to the new Pixel series

Like the rest of the industry, Google will hide the front camera under the screen of Pixel phones, but it could use a different method.

Inevitably, the cutout or perforation applied to the front camera will disappear from most smartphone products, but not all manufacturers will use exactly the same implementation.

Described in a recent patent attributed to the giant Google, the front camera could be implemented under the OLED screen of Pixel phones using an indirect method, which de facto avoids blocking visibility.

Instead of the OLED screen having an area with “rarefied” pixels, more or less visible on close visual inspection, it could still be completely perforated. The secret lies in what lies beneath.

Thus, instead of looking directly at the camera lens we will look into a prism positioned just below the perforated screen area. The idea is for the prism to function as a mirror for the main camera, directing the light to the photo sensor positioned longitudinally, with minimal distortion or compromise on the image quality side. The rest of the time, the prism is rotated to reflect light coming from the opposite direction, using a relatively simple and reliable electrical mechanism. What do we find there? Well, just the missing part of the screen.

With a side of 2-3 mm, an OLED mini-screen would be placed under the main screen, oriented in the direction of the moving prism / mirror. Ideally, the reflected image will perfectly complement the screen, without the user noticing the difference.

Depending on your needs, the mechanism could be extended to hide more sensors, such as facial recognition.

In practice, the mechanism is considerably more complex and expensive than modifying the surface of the OLED screen, to facilitate better light transmittance.

Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He's also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.