LG's Dreaming Big In Its Patent For A 16-Camera Device

Illustration: LG, USPTO

Phones with two or more rear cameras are already quite widespread, but with its recently granted patent, LG is dreaming of something much more ambitious. That’s because even though LG already has a five-camera phone in the V40, the company may be looking to more than triple that number up to 16.

A phone with 16 cameras draws immediate comparisons to Light’s L16 camera. Similar to what’s described in LG’s patent, the L16's multiple lenses with various focal lengths enable you to do things like adjust a photo’s depth of field during post-processing, create composite shots comprised of multiple exposures, and capture images with varying levels of zoom without the need for add-on lenses.

Sadly, in the case of Light’s L16, the specialised software needed to edit its pictures along with its $2,759 price tag made it a tough sell for pros who often found the device to be still too limited, and it pushed away regular folk who didn’t want to be bogged down with a second device that’s hard to use and doesn’t offer enough of an upgrade in image quality.

One thing LG’s 16-camera device could be used for is capturing different angles of a subject without actually needing to reposition its cameras. (Image: LG, USPTO)

However, Light’s ability to put that many cameras in a device not much bigger than a typical smartphone, and actually make it work, is something that has paved the way for smartphone companies as they continue to add more cameras onto the back of their handsets.

As for LG’s patent, its 16 lens matrix would allow a device to capture a photo from multiple perspectives in order to gather additional depth and 3D info. A 16-camera smartphone could use the data from multiple cameras to fill in gaps in a photo that a single camera may have missed.

Image: LG, USPTO

LG’s patent also hints that a device with this sort of camera arrangement could be used to create super-detailed HDR images, or even to help cut and paste subjects from one part of the frame into another like a sort of face-swap feature on steroids.

And for those lamenting the ability to shoot selfies with that many cameras, LG’s patent also describes the possibility of adding a mirror and a speaker to the back of the device to help facilitate a wider range of possible use cases.

For now though, a lot of this is purely hypothetical, as it would be a massive leap to go from the three rear cameras on the LG V40 all the way to 16. But with Nokia’s rumoured 5-rear camera phone in the works, phones with 16-rear cameras probably aren’t that far off.

[via Let’s Go Digital]

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