Microsoft Surface to feature under-display ‘logo camera’?

(Pocket-lint) – It looks as though Microsoft is working on an interesting under-display camera system, described in a patent as a ‘logo camera’. And it could be coming to a future Surface device.

So what exactly is a logo camera? In this context it’s actually four under-display cameras which may be used to create a colour icon, such as the Microsoft ‘four windows’ logo, “by controlling the colours of display pixels aligned with optical paths of camera lens and sensor arrays”, according to the patent.

In short: the next Surface phone or laptop could have a Microsoft logo that conceals four cameras beneath its surface. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be a fixed logo; the very nature of an under-display system is that what’s shown above the cameras’ surfaces on the screen can be adapted.

What we find particularly interesting about the patent, however, is the adaptability of how this quad-camera system functions. Most cameras use a Bayer array – which utilises red, green and blue (RGGB) filters to compose a final picture. Microsoft’s system, on the other hand, has the capacity to use “colors in an icon [to] provide color filters … [to] focus color-separated light on one or more camera sensors.”

That means it could use different colour filters, including yellow, which is important because it has a higher frequency and is useful for capture in low-light conditions. The patent details various colour array models – “e.g RGBY, RGBW, RGGB, RGBE, RYYB, CMYW, CYYW, CYGM” – including cyan, magenta, and white, which could be used in creative ways depending on use-case. Clever.

So more than the ‘logo camera’ being a way to simply present a logo or symbol on a screen, it has the capacity to not only hide the camera from sight – a useful feature given the shrinking bezel of devices – but also adapt how well the camera system can function.

We’ve seen under-display cameras before, such as that from ZTE, but this Microsoft one sounds like it could step things up a gear in the future.

Writing by Mike Lowe.

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