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Microsoft patents a four-color camera system inspired by its logo

The quirky design could be used on a future Microsoft smartphone, tablet, or desktop display.

Published onJune 7, 2021

Microsoft Surface Duo closed in hand against backdrop
David Imel / Android Authority
  • Microsoft has patented a novel “logo camera” system.
  • The quad-camera array arranged in a square can sit beneath a display or on the back of a device.
  • Each camera is optimized for a specific color corresponding to the Microsoft logo.

We don’t cover too many Microsoft hardware patents. Arguably, its most adventurous product in recent years has been the Surface Duo. However, a new patent suggests the company could be working on a new “logo camera” system for use on its products.

According to the patent spotted by LetsGoDigital, the company is developing an under-display camera system inspired by the company logo. The design would feature four cameras arranged in a square array placed beneath the screen. Each camera can pack a color filter corresponding with the Microsoft logo. This means red, green, blue, and yellow cameras. When not in use, the pixels above these cameras can display the company’s logo or act as notification lights.

What’s the point of a Microsoft logo camera?

It seems excessive, but there’s some method to this madness. The documentation suggests each camera is optimized for its respective color. In terms of computational photography, this approach could give the device plenty of data to generate impressive images. Microsoft also argues that using four cameras instead of one could lead to a thinner device.

Using four cameras to accomplish a job for one does seem excessive. The design has its drawbacks, too. The array would be at the mercy of software processing to stitch together the data from the four cameras. It’s also unclear if Microsoft can address the inherent quality issues of under-display cameras. However, the patent doesn’t rule out the use of the array on the device’s rear. Microsoft also imagines this technology used on phones, tablets, and desktop displays. We suspect that such a novel design would come with a considerable price penalty, at least initially.

As with all patents, don’t expect Microsoft to offer a product featuring this tech any time soon. The company filed the patent in 2019, so it’s unclear if it’s still working on this tech. That said, who better to design a camera inspired by the Microsoft logo than Microsoft?

What do you think of Microsoft’s camera patent? Let us know in the comments below!

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