OnePlus reveals phone with ‘invisible cameras’: Here’s how it works
OnePlus had been teasing its ‘Concept One’ smartphone since the past few days and it did finally reveal the handset at CES 2020 in Las Vegas, US. The smartphone is a ‘concept’ for now because of the technology that it features. The smartphone uses electrochromic glass at the back. It’s not your regular smartphone glass back panel but a rather interesting one that aims to make handsets more stealthy and clean-looking. So, what is the tech all about? Here are a few easy pointers.
How do the invisible cameras work? With an ‘electrochromic glass’2 / 8How do the invisible cameras work? With an ‘electrochromic glass’
It is an electronically tintable glass that hides the rear camera underneath and reveals only when it is in use. The organic particles on the glass create different tints when subject to an electrical field. This means that each time when a different voltage is applied, the light transmission changes, resulting in hiding or revealing the rear camera.
What visual changes does electrochromic glass make on a OnePlus smartphone?3 / 8What visual changes does electrochromic glass make on a OnePlus smartphone?
As shown in the OnePlus Concept One smartphone, the electrochromic glass at the back hides the rear camera setup, making the device look like a plain slab. It can simply change from a regular looking glass with cameras underneath it, to a completely opaque/tinted glass, hiding them. From outside, it is just for a better aesthetic appeal.
OnePlus Concept One has electrochromic glass tech baked in the camera app as well4 / 8OnePlus Concept One has electrochromic glass tech baked in the camera app as well
You can use it as a Neutral Density (ND) filter. The feature can be activated from the camera app’s Pro Mode. In this, the electrochromic glass auto adjusts if the image you are clicking is too bright so the resulting images are not blown out.
Only a ‘concept’ for now, official launch not known5 / 8Only a ‘concept’ for now, official launch not known
Of course, this is a concept phone so one cannot simply buy it yet. The point here is to show OnePlus taking strides in innovating new tech for smartphones. But who knows, since we know this tech exists, it might come in future devices.
What does this mean for future OnePlus smartphones?6 / 8What does this mean for future OnePlus smartphones?
OnePlus has not yet confirmed if its future phones will feature this tech or not. However, looking at how refined the tech is on ‘Concept One’, it might not be too long before we see this coming in some McLaren Edition of the device and probably in smartphones by sister companies – Vivo, Oppo and Realme.
Seen this tech somewhere before? Yes.7 / 8Seen this tech somewhere before? Yes.
If you are familiar with supercars, you might be familiar with electrochromic glass. McLaren 720S, for instance, uses electrochromic glass to tint the sunroof. Incidentally, the ‘Concept One’ smartphone shows by OnePlus also has a ‘McLaren’ logo at the back. As mentioned by The Verge, the smartphone maker has worked with McLaren to develop this technology.
For smartphones, this is an ‘industry-first’ feature by OnePlus8 / 8For smartphones, this is an ‘industry-first’ feature by OnePlus
The use of electrochromic glass is claimed to be an ‘industry-first’ by OnePlus in its ‘Concept One’ smartphone. The tech lets the handset hide rear cameras.