LG has filed a patent with the USPTO that LetsGoDigital uncovered. It was granted on November 20, and describes a smartphone with 16 lenses, a hexadecimal camera smartphone.
These lenses are arranged in a curved matrix arrangement, so that every lens individually can photograph a different perspective. The user will then be able to select either a single image of the 16, or to combine the image captured by all of them in a moving scene. “You can also select a head of a person or object, after which you can turn it into almost any desired position”, notes the report.
Besides the 16 lenses and the flash, said phone would also feature a mirror on the back. This would allow easy framing should one decide to take a selfie using the 16 cameras on the back.
Interestingly, LG is not the only company that seemed to find practicality in imagining a smartphone with 16 cameras. A little more than a year ago, camera manufacturer Light built the ridiculous-looking L16 — a camera with dimensions as compact as a smartphone. The Light L16 had a staggering 16 lenses with different focal lengths, for all sorts of optical insanity and creativity that you can think of. While the mechanisms certainly differ (Light used 16 different lenses for one camera, while LG’s patent clearly specifies a 16-camera setup) and you may argue about whether such arrangements would ever be needed, it is important to note that such mechanisms have been successfully built already, so LG’s 16-camera patent may actually turn into production form, some day.
These 16 lenses seem to be arranged in a different set of angles, which help take a sort-of surround photograph of the subject. If it ever makes it to production, there probably will be a powerful image signal processor that will allow the camera to produce a range of photo types — standard, telephoto, blurred background, 3D, live, varying angle (with movable subject) and so on. It may also be able to create stereoscopic 3D images of everyday moments, although we cannot imagine that to be anything more than a novelty.