Following the news that both OPPO and Xiaomi are working on new camera tech, Xiaomi has finally explained how the new under-screen camera works. A recent tweet from Xiaomi senior vice president Wang Xiang shows a set of pictures that provide details on the inner workings of the camera.
Xiaomi’s camera is embedded near the top of the display as usual, but the camera is placed underneath a transparent section of the OLED display. This allows light to pass through the bottom layer of the display, and into the camera sensor.
A faint outline of the camera is visible in the rendered images. It’s unclear whether this is illustrative to show the camera’s position, or if the camera will be faintly visible all the time. Even if the camera is slightly visible, it’s at least usable screen space unlike a hole-punch or notch.
Another unknown is whether or not the screen can be active on top of the camera, or whether the camera section of the OLED must be off while taking a picture.
A big advantage of having an in-display camera is that the sensor can be significantly larger. With no border obstructing the screen, the only limit to sensor size is lens manufacturing or screen size.
Xiaomi is still toying with the new technology and has yet to feature it on a new phone, but it’s a much cleaner solution than flipping camera arrays or motorised sliders – with no moving parts to break.
A likely destination for the new under-screen camera might be the next Mi Mix, a smartphone line where the company often experiments with new features – and whose current iteration features a magnetic slider for a truly full-coverage display.