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Samsung files patent for camera with transparent display

30
Image: Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service

The Wall Street Journal has discovered a patent filing with the Korean Intellectual Property Rights Information Service that seems to indicate Samsung is experimenting with transparent displays for digital cameras. 

The idea behind the concept is that the photographer and their subject can maintain eye-contact while the image is being framed. Looking at the image above, the transparent display is incorporated into a compact camera with a retractable lens. The concept could be equally applicable to larger cameras, even mirrorless system cameras with interchangeable lenses. 

According to WSJ, the filing says the camera body will have a "wide" transparent display with lens, flash and a power button on the side. Dimensions are not specified. 

With the brand new NX Mini and their Android powered cameras, such as the Galaxy NX, Galaxy Camera and Galaxy S4 Zoom, Samsung has been one of the most innovative camera makers in recent years. However, they still struggle to compete with the camera world's more established rivals. It's going to be interesting to see if the transparent display will ever make it into a production model and can give Samsung a competitive edge. 

Via: WSJ


Comments

Total comments: 30
plasnu

OK, please show me the usable product with this patent.

0 upvotes
Adfratres

New ideas are welcome!

0 upvotes
tjobbe

when Samsung add Wifi to compacts in Jan 2011 and added it to DSLM a year later everyone was stating "who needs it, will not fly, not want it"

Show me a single 2014 camera that did not include that....

Some ideas they turn out to be crazy, some medioce, some don't fly but they at least come up with fresh ideas

0 upvotes
EricCul

I think most were saying "about time", not "who needs it" about WiFi.

0 upvotes
michael_alabama

Could be a cool approach to looking at the world in 3D...

0 upvotes
michael_alabama

....or rather 5D in this case?

0 upvotes
ivan1973

Not again, another junk.

2 upvotes
Johan Borg

A fun and intuitive way to use this would be if the zoom depended on the distance from your eye to the screen, so what you see through the transparent part is more or less identical to the resulting photo.

1 upvote
Smeggypants

Doesn't make any sense. you're already looking at the subject, so why the need to look at the subject twice over laid with two different perspectives

1 upvote
grafli

Well, the camera must have a 3d scanner to know what you are seeing trough the display frame. Those scanners still cost a lot of money. So samsung did make a solution witch looks cool but is a little bit less functional, but i bet you can buy it in a year or so for a competitiv price.

1 upvote
Simonsimon

Bit confusing on articulated screen tho...

0 upvotes
babalu

...there are HUD's (Heads Up Display) in jet fighters, maybe soon in all cars ... why not in cameras ? It would at least make you raise your head while taking a picture, rather than looking at your shoes through the display when shooting from the hip.
:)

0 upvotes
tkbslc

If my eye is 1" above the camera it's pretty much the same thing. I can maintain eye contact. Looks cool from a tech point of view, but from solving a real problem, not so much.

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Gesture

Folks are already doing this, looking over their non-viewfinder, held at somewhat of a distance cameras.

0 upvotes
RichRMA

Samsung really hasn't innovated much of anything anyone wants. Things like camera controls on the lens didn't really take-off.

2 upvotes
Prairie Pal

Back in the olden days we used to call this a "sports finder". It didn't need batteries and it didn't need a patent.

4 upvotes
micksh6

You are wrong, of course. Even finders were patented. See US patent 1,678,493 at the bottom here: http://throughavintagelens.com/2013/04/vintage-viewfinders/

But, it was already archaic technology when you used it - the patents have expired.

2 upvotes
micksh6

So, what about prior art?

BTW, Xperia Pureness had transparent display in 2009, but it didn't have camera. But, Lenovo S800 did, in year 2011. http://www.gsmarena.com/lenovo_s800-4862.php

I'm pretty sure the lady is photographing looking through transparent display on this photo: http://gadgetbox.org.ua/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Lenovo-S800_7.jpg

4 upvotes
ShoomKloom

Nice catch :-)

0 upvotes
Ben Ramsey

So potentially, a variation of this could mean there'd be no need to choose between an ovf and an evf - you could use both at the same time. :)

2 upvotes
grafli

Lol, Sony Ericsson made a Mobile phone in this form factor years ago!
Where the Diplay goes, there was a huge transparent Plastic Block. The Display was in the middle.
It was called "sony ericsson pureness".

4 upvotes
Jabba23

This is going to be great for all of those people that take selfies of themselves in the toilet from the hip.

0 upvotes
Woody W.

Depends on what about it is being patented. It has to be both "novel" (new) and "non-obvious". I'll give them novel, but not non-obvious. Basically, once you have the ability to create a transparent display - a true invention, it is obvious to apply it in virtually any scenario in which a non transparent display might be used. (Note: the US Supreme Court has said "obvious to try" is, by definition not non-obvious.)

0 upvotes
wy2lam

have you read the patent? "non-obvious" does not apply to the idea. It applies to the implementation of the idea outlined in the claims.

0 upvotes
Woody W.

Agree, which is why I started with it "depends on what..." - though up until recently the obvious-to-try part of it actually was not a disqualifier. That led to all sorts of ludicrous patents which were granted on various and sundry otherwise unpatentable things by effectively slapping "on a computer" or "over the internet" on them. As for the device at hand, I have not read their application. For all I know, it could be a design patent, which itself is fodder for an array arguments. But this isn't the place to delve that deeply into patent theory.

0 upvotes
Loquacious

Reminds me of tablet and monitor displays in "Avatar" (2009): Science Fiction informs Reality.

0 upvotes
PandaSA

Don't get it. If you're looking through the display at your subject but your subject is shown on the display differently because of the zoom factor, how do you make sense of what you're seeing? And if the only purpose is to give a heads-up display of shooting info (shutter speed, aperture, ISO...) then composition would be impossible because you would have no idea what is being included (or not included) in the photo. Possibly the display would put an orange rectangle around your picture area, That might work. But still, you're left with no way to review the images you've taken. hmmm.

0 upvotes
ZorSy

True. And beside that, the camera is offset from the 'real image' (parallax, happens with all cameras with OVF separate from the lens/non TTL). SO not only it would be a different magnification depending on the zoom factor but as well the different viewpoint. These 'patents' are getting ridiculous... Samsung here did not invent anything, just removed backlit form the LCD - in DIY world people used to take the backlit from the laptop screens and put in overhead projectors to project "large" images on the wall, aka 'digital projector for $20'. Was expecting something more revolutionary from Samsung, not patenting results of the Google search 'projectors on the cheap'. If they are patenting transparent OLED/'plasma' screen they should say so (this way you could review the image as it actually emits the light from 'invisible' sources.....)

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
mikiev

It seems like the display would have to be pretty dim, in order to be transparent enough to maintain eye-contact between photographer & subject... and pretty-much a one-trick pony if that is the only use-case such a large display is good for.

1 upvote
daqk

This is cool.

1 upvote
Total comments: 30
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