Phone makers are constantly looking to outdo each other with new technologies and features, and if it’s new the teasers are legit, Xiaomi could have a real advantage over the competition with what appears to be a Liquid camera lens designed for an upcoming Mi Mix phone.
Based on handful of images and a shorten Shared on Weibo, Xiaomi is trying to replace the traditional glass elements and focus motors used in today’s smartphone camera lenses with a liquid lens that can be controlled and adjusted by applying an electrical charge. This would allow the lens to change form to focus on subjects of different distances, and Xiaomi claims that the technology will result in a longer zoom and faster autofocus than traditional smartphone camera lenses.
While the idea of a liquid lens may seem a bit strange or far away, the principle is actually quite similar to the way the human eye works. Light enters the eye through the cornea, passes through the iris, and is then focused by the crystalline layer of the eye and aqueous fluid before finally reaching the retina.
Currently, due to their cost and complexity, liquid lenses are typically reserved for specialized industrial uses where traditional glass lenses can be too fragile or delicate. However, this isn’t the first time a smartphone company has scoffed at the idea of a liquid camera lens, with Huawei has patented its own liquid lens last year.
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The big advantage of a liquid lens is that it could allow smartphone companies to use the same lens for a range of focal lengths while still being thin enough to fit on a phone. Is contrasts sharply with current phones, which use multiple image sensors, each with its own own lens to support provide a main, ultra-wide, macro and telephoto cameras of the device.
The current focus It is a kind of brute force method enabled by the fact that adding additional image sensors to a device is relatively inexpensive, resulting in some companies creating devices with a large number of lenses on the back (see the Nokia 9 PureView and L16 light).
Xiaomi’s liquid lens may not be consumer ready devices at the moment, but testing your liquid lens on a new Mi Mix concept makes perfect sense, because Xiaomi has historically used the Mi Mix line to test new designs or technology that the company is researching. Other concepts the company has tried include the My Mix Alpha of 2019 with its wrappingaround the screen and portless concept Mi Mix earlier this year.
While not much else is known about the upcoming Mi Mix, Xiaomi says it will reveal the device on March 29, so no I have to wait a long time to find out more.