Apple latest patent shows a periscope like camera for future iPhones
A recent Patent Application Number 20150042870 filed by Apple indicates that it is working on a specialised camera which includes technologies as radical as multiple zooming lens elements using mirrors, wobbling mirrors and perhaps, a built-in periscope.
The patent application titled “Mirror Tilt Actuation,” was first reported by Apple Insider which says the filing describes an image sensor for small, multifunction devices like an iPhone that would compensate for the user’s hand movement to improve picture quality.
The Free Patents Online gives following description for the “Mirror Tilt Actuation,”
“Some embodiments include an image sensor and a zoom lens assembly including a plurality of movable lens elements arranged to be moved independent of one another. In some embodiments, the plurality of movable lens elements share an optical axis. Some embodiments include a lens and mirror assembly for admitting light to the miniature camera. The lens and mirror assembly includes a folded optics arrangement such that light enters the lens and mirror assembly through a first lens with an optical axis of the first lens orthogonal to the plurality of moveable lens elements. The lens and mirror assembly includes a mirror for folding the path of light from the optical axis of the first lens to the optical axis of the plurality of movable lens elements, and the lens and mirror assembly further includes an actuator for tilting the mirror.”
According to the patent application, the new camera will have a specialised outer lens element which will focus incoming light onto a mirror. This mirror will deflect the image rays to another set of lens very much like a periscope in a submarine. The final image output which is shown to the user is a optically stabilised image.
As of now no smartphone manufacturer uses tilting technology so Apple may be the first one to come out with such a radical camera on iPhone 7.
This also means that there will be another camera war in near future between the tech giants vying for the customer attention.
You can download the patent application filed by Apple here (PDF)