One image sensor, multiple camera lenses - Apple patent hints at future iPhone camera tech

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One image sensor, multiple camera lenses - Apple patent hints at future iPhone camera tech
Recently, we've reported by many a camera-related patent that Apple has either been granted or applied for, most of which hint us that Cupertino might be really poised to up the already-spectacular camera game of its iPhones. Apart from the patent regarding the advanced zoom lens, Cupertino also claimed that it has invented an improved magnet-based OIS. Well, according to the latest camera-related patent, Apple might be cooking something quite intriguing.

According to the patent application description, Apple has found a way to make a single image sensor register light from two different sources. This means that both the front-facing and the rear cameras on a future iPhone might use one and the same imaging sensor, which will save a great deal of space inside the device. The current generation of the rear-positioned iSight camera and the selfie FaceTime HD one both user their own imaging sensors.
What's more, this patent also highlights the use of "machine-controlled" mirrors, the purpose of which is to guide the light from the lens to the sensor. As a result, the sensor does not necessarily need to be directly behind the lenses. The mirrors have no moving parts as they can switch between reflective and transmissive modes thanks to electric current.

Hopefully, such an invention will reduce the physical size of Apple's camera modules. The newest generation of the iSight rear camera proved quite big for the iPhone 6's ultra-thin silhouette and slightly protrudes outside of the body.

source: USPTO via AppleInsider


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