How does Under-Display Camera work.

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The amount of evolution happened to cellphone camera recently would beat any other evolution that happened to other technologies. First, it was a camera at the notch, then pop up/sliding camera and finally it is Under-Display camera. Oppo and Redmi recently showcased their Under-display camera technology and hopefully the same will be launched by the end of 2019. Unfortunately many people know about the working principle of Under-display camera. So in this article, we will talk about what is an under-display camera and how does it work.

Before moving forward let’s learn a bit about the recent evolution happened to cellphone camera.

Traditional Front Facing Camera

Front facing camera was first introduced when 3G services were invented. We might remember the Nokia N series mobiles which used to have a front-facing camera. That time it was a good to have feature. But in 2019 it is a must-have feature and every other cellphone has a front facing camera. The traditional front-facing camera was placed on a big notch at the top along with other sensors.

how in-display camera works

The main problem with the traditional front-facing camera is that it consumes a lot of screen space. When the industry is moving towards to use every micro inch screen space it was obvious that traditional camera won’t last long. On top of that camera, sensors became very small nowadays. So holding a big space just for a camera was not a good idea.

Notch Front facing camera

There is no difference between the traditional and notch front facing camera except the better space utilization. Notch front facing camera uses the unused space of the traditional front facing camera which increases the screen to body ratio. Apart from that there us no advantages.

Water drop front facing camera

Water drop front facing camera is a smaller version of notch front facing camera which again a better utilization of screen space. But it had to sacrifice all sensors placed on the front in traditional or notch screens. Although water drop front-facing camera looks stunning but having an edge to edge screen was always on the priority list for most of the mobile companies.

how in-display camera works

Pop up /sliding camera

Pop up / sliding camera gives the maximum screen to body ratio and offer an edge to edge display. Typically the camera placed on the top of the phone body and mechanism is used to pop up or slide the camera. Ideally, whenever a mechanism is used, it has a limited life cycle and hence reliability is a big question. That is the pop-up or sliding mechanism camera phone could not get popular. On top of that, you can hardly put a mobile cover on a sliding camera phone. So pop up / sliding is not an ideal solution for camera placement in the mobile phone.

how in-display camera works

Under-Display Camera

In-display camera addressed all those issues that we faced in other types of camera phones. Perfect space utilization, no mechanism, no ugly notch. It is the best solution for camera placement on a mobile phone. The under-display camera phone has the front-facing camera under the display and comes into action whenever required. In the ideal scenario, the camera is hidden and you enjoy a perfect edge to edge display.

https://www.engadget.com/2019/06/03/oppo-under-screen-selfie-camera-demo/

How In-Display Camera Works

Well, In-Display camera is not something new to smartphones. All smartphones that use an in display fingerprint sensor uses the Under-Display camera principles.

The Under-display fingerprint sensor uses optical fingerprint scanning technology to recognize fingerprints. It uses a high-resolution camera under the display to scan your fingers and match it with the one that is already stored in the software. Under-display fingerprint scanner only works in AMOLED /OLED display panel as in both types of panel you can blackout individual pixels whenever required. Also, AMOLED and OLED screen allows transmission of light through display to scan your fingers


Also Read: Types of fingerprint scanner in mobile phone


When a user presses the Under display fingerprint scanner, the camera underneath captures the reflective lights of a fingerprint through OLED pixels. That’s why you might notice that the in display scanner illuminates when you touch it. You also need to press the screen a bit so that the camera can scan ridges and valleys if your fingers.

In-display camera works the same way as in display fingerprint sensor. It has a very high-resolution camera which can take photos through the OLED/ AMOLED panel. Whenever the user wants the front camera to come into action, pixels on the screen where the camera is located gets blacked out. So that the camera can pass light through the panel and take pictures. In case of under-display scanner, the camera takes a picture of your finger, but in case of in display camera, it takes usual pictures.

Advantage of In-Display Camera

  • Perfect utilization of screen space.
  • Maximum screen to body ratio.
  • No mechanical movement of the camera.
  • More reliable than other camera types.

Disadvantages of In-Display Camera

  • Works only with OLED/ AMOLED panels
  • Picture quality is not great as the light pass through the screen
  • The servicing of the camera would be a costly affair.
  • In display camera phones are costly.

Wrapping Up

There is no doubt that In-Display is a perfect innovation in today’s era when people love more screen space. It solves many issues that traditional front facing camera/ notch /pop up/ sliding camera faces. But this technology is still new and needs time to gets mature. It is expected that this technology will have bugs and unless we have a stable in display camera technology, there is no point of wasting money on those type of phones.

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Rajib
A Technologist by profession but a geek by heart. Loves writing about technical stuffs and eager to drive when time permits. A Hyderabadi foodie with the roots of a cultural Bengali.

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