Xiaomi’s patent for making a smartphone with a rotating camera inside the display
The application for this patent was submitted to WIPO in February 2020, and finally this 32-page patent was issued on April 29, 2021 (May 9, 1400) under the name Xiaomi was registered. Placing a selfie camera inside the display is not a new concept and even by ZTE – with the release of the phone ZTE Axon 20 – has also reached the commercialization stage. But what distinguishes Xiaomi’s design from other similar cases is that the camera inside the display is not only for taking selfies, but will also play a role as one of the rear cameras.
The smartphone depicted in this patent has 3 cameras on the back (something similar to the design of iPhone 12 Pro). The interesting thing is that one of these cameras, thanks to the presence of a motor or a magnet, can rotate 180 degrees towards the screen. In this way, the camera that was previously one of the members of the rear camera set, now plays the role of the in-display selfie camera. Apparently, a magnet mechanism is more likely to be used to rotate the camera, as it would be less expensive to implement and more durable (the motor may break, but the magnet will always work). The patent does not mention whether this rotating camera – which Xiaomi calls a flip camera – is supposed to be the main camera or the ultrawide camera, but either way, it seems like a practical idea.
According to what is mentioned in the text of this patent, a part of the screen is made in such a way that the light passes through it and reaches the camera lens. It’s not clear how big this transparent part is, but ZTE showed in the Axon 20 build that if done right, the transparent area of the display is not very visible and can hardly be distinguished from other parts. Regardless of the size of the transparent area, this type of design allows Xiaomi to produce a smartphone with an all-over display without the need for a dedicated in-display camera. Another positive point is that in this type of design, Xiaomi can use a more powerful camera.