OnePlus Concept One Phone: The technology behind the disappearing camera
Do you know how the OnePlus Concept One disappearing camera works? Check it out here.
The smartphone called 'OnePLus Concept One Phone' comes with a disappearing smartphone camera. This technology is inspired by the sun-roof on the McLarens 720S Spider supercar. Let's check out how it works.
The videos of the McLaren edition shows a rear with Papaya orange leather formed in a zip-like design inspired by the race-car aesthetic. The upper part where the camera lies has been covered with a glass, the technology that makes the cameras disappear.
With its industry-first disappearing rear camera, the #OnePlusConceptOne is a testament to our untiring passion for challenging convention. Witness the beauty of the unseen at #CES2020, January 7-10. pic.twitter.com/b5I4ma25pE— OnePlus (@oneplus) January 7, 2020
According to reports, the glass over the camera can turn opaque and black depending on the situation. As the camera is turned on, the glass becomes transparent to show the cameras and take pictures. If the camera is not used the glass turns opaque, making them ‘disappear’ on the smartphone.
OnePlus has used electrochromic glass, a type of glass that has been used in the windows of McLaren’s 720S supercar. OnePlus worked with MacLaren to bring about this technology used in high-end car sunroofs and aircraft windows.
McLaren’s 720S supercar comes with a price tag of $315,000 (around 2.2 Crore). You need to pay around $9,100 extra for the electrochromic sun-roof on the car. The shade of the electrochromic glass changes when it's triggered by an electric signal. The signal is transmitted when the camera is opened in the device.
The OnePLus Concept One has the same camera specs seen on the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren edition. It comes with a 48-megapixel main camera and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera.
OnePlus CEO, Pete Lau, while talking to Wired, says that there were challenges like thickness to be considered as the glass needs another layer of the material before placing it on the device. It adds around one-tenth of a millimetre to the overall thickness of the smartphone.
Also, the glass needs to be powered by the device to be functional, posing another challenge of overall power consumption on the device. The seed of transition of tint also needs to be kept in mind, as it might affect the functioning of the camera. What if you turned on the camera and the glass remains dark?
The same glass technology has also been used on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It can take several seconds to shift from transparent to opaque. But the glass on the OnePLus Concept One can turn 'On' and 'Off' in just under a second (around 0.7 seconds).
The electrochromic glass is 0.35 mm thick and can also help in controlling the amount of light entering the camera lens, making it suitable for photography.
OnePlus took around 18 months to develop it. It is seen as a solution for the camera bump seen on most of the smartphones today. It creates hindrance in daily use, and putting it on a table makes smartphones wobble. The company has no plans to introduce it in the market just yet.
Practically, a device with electrochromic glass will make a device more expensive. Also, there are no considerable improvements or benefits that we can foresee on a device with such a glass. However, its use in photography sounds promising.