New Samsung Patent Hints S Pen With Camera, Optical Zoom Features

s pen with camera

Image Source: USPTO (screenshot)

Samsung came out with an updated S Pen with the Galaxy Note 9. The latest S Pen features Bluetooth functionality making it helpful to perform a variety of functions. Now, it seems that the Korean firm plans to make the gadget even more useful by adding a camera to it.

New S Pen – what it could come with?

Samsung was granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today. This patent (first spotted by Patently Mobile) suggests that going forward, the S Pen could come with a photo taking functionality.

Samsung’s patent, which was filed in February 2017, talks about an “electric pen device” with an “optical system including a lens and an image sensor”, allowing a camera to be “controlled from the external electronic device.”

Further, the patent shows how the Korean firm could add an image sensor and a lens inside the S Pen. Also, the patent design shows how the S Pen would convert the image signal into an electrical one and how it could be controlled wirelessly by another device.

The new S Pen would have a battery as well, something similar to the last S Pen, which featured a supercapacitor to quickly charge the device through the stylus slot. Further, the patent notes that the stylus will include a prism in the optical path for converting the signals.

To help solve a major issue

If Samsung does launch an S Pen with the camera, it could help in removing a big obstacle related to the optical zoom functionality faced by the smartphone makers. Such functionality adds to the thickness of the device, and thus, makes it difficult for companies to achieve a sleek design.  However, moving the optical zoom functionality out of the smartphone to any external accessory solves the issue.

In the patent, Samsung explains why the optical zoom is a better fit for the stylus than the phone. The patent says that most smartphones use digital zoom, but the quality of an image gets compromised when an algorithm or a program tries to enlarge an image. On the other hand, optical zoom uses an array of lenses that can fit perfectly in the stylus, which offers more space to house the module.

Therefore, the optical zoom is better suited for an external device than a smartphone, which offers limited space. And, if the optical zoom is used in the phone, the smartphone makers have to increase the thickness of the device.

S Pen with Camera – how it will be helpful?

Currently, the S Pen with the Galaxy Note 9 can be used as a camera shutter for taking photos. It can also be used to switch between the front and rear cameras, play video, control music, control presentation slides and more. And, of course, you can use it to take notes.

Though Samsung has not detailed how an S Pen with camera will be useful, one possible use of it could be to assist the Korean firm in ditching the pinhole cameras and notch cutouts.

Additionally, it could also be used for productivity tasks, like optical text recognition, notes a report from Android Authority. Such functionality would make it easier to take notes during a meeting or lecture. Also, one would be able to take a photo of the presentation slide using the S Pen for converting it into text later.

Another more evident use is for photography. An S Pen with camera would help users take photos while the phone is in their pocket or inside a bag.

It is not known if we will see the feature in the Galaxy S10 or any other future device. Whether or not Samsung is actually working on an S Pen with a built-in camera is not confirmed either. After all, it is just a patent for now and tech companies keep on filing patents regularly, but not all are converted into a finished product.

Separately, talking about the Galaxy S10, it is expected to come in three sizes – regular S10, S10+ and S10 E (or Lite). The display of these devices would range from 5.8-inch to 6.4-inch. Moreover, Samsung is also rumored to come up with a super premium 6.7-inch Galaxy S10 X, which could be Samsung’s first 5G phone.



About the Author

Aman Jain
Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at amanjain@valuewalk.com