Wednesday, 04 August 2021 23:37

Oppo demos next-gen smartphone under-screen camera tech


Imagine a next-gen smartphone with no notches or punch-hole cameras, that also doesn't require a pop-up camera due to next-gen under-screen camera (USC) tech: well, imagine no longer as Oppo has demonstrated it.

Oppo. The company makes competitive Android smartphones at all the price points that matter, and it has come out with hew next-generation under-screen camera (USC) techn for smartphones.

We're told that the company has combined "the best in hardware innovation and OPPO’s proprietary AI algorithms" to deliver the new under-screen camera solution by discreetly placing the front-facing camera under the smartphone display "in a way that maintains the integrity and consistency of the entire screen, both during use and while in standby."

Oppo says this offers "the perfect balance between consistent screen quality and camera image quality, it is an under-screen camera solution with no compromises," and the company has delivered a couple of photos to prove the technology works.


Oppo’s next-generation under-screen camera solution

The company says its solution "solves many technical and manufacturing-related challenges that have plagued under-screen camera technology since the beginning of its development."

We're told breakthroughs include resolving issues such as:

  • inconsistent display quality in the screen area above the under-screen camera,
  • poor image quality caused by obstruction of the camera by the screen,
  • as well as issues with product reliability and lifespan.

Thanks to advancements in these areas, Oppo says it has been able to "deliver an upgraded under-screen camera solution that takes end-to-end, full-screen experience to new levels."

A prototype device featuring OPPO’s next-generation under-screen camera

On the display, Oppo says its solution "introduces several new innovations in structure design and AI algorithms:"

Innovative pixel geometry: the new solution shrinks the size of each pixel without decreasing the number of pixels to ensure a 400-PPI high-quality display even in the camera area.
Transparent wiring and new design: Oppo has replaced the traditional screen wiring with an innovative transparent wiring material. Combined with a high-precision manufacturing process that reduces the width of the wiring by 50%, this results in much finer display quality with a smoother visual experience.

Here's the company's official video:

Innovative pixel geometry of Oppo’s next-generation under-screen camera: 


Improved control of screen accuracy, colour, and brightness: in contrast to the current industry standard of using 1 pixel circuit to drive 2 pixels (“1-to-2”) in the screen area above the camera, Oppo says it has introduced a new solution using proprietary screen technology, with each pixel circuit driving only 1 pixel (“1-to-1”).

The company says that "when combined with the company's "precise algorithmic compensation technology, this allows the chromaticity and brightness of the entire screen to be precisely controlled with a deviation of about 2%. For uses such as reading e-books, browsing the news, or navigating with maps, Oppo’s next generation under-screen camera technology allows for the accurate display of smaller fonts and better preservation and representation of textural details and colours, resulting in a more consistent and immersive experience."

Improved reliability and lifespan: with the introduction of the “1-to-1” pixel circuit and dedicated optimisation algorithm, Oppo says its solution "is able to provide display compensation in the under-screen camera area of screen, improving the screen’s lifespan by up to 50%."

With regards to the camera, Oppo explains its U.S. Research Institutes have "developed a series of imaging AI algorithms – including diffraction reduction, HDR and AWB – to reduce some of the negative side effects typically found in under-screen cameras, such as blurry images and image glare."

Oppo also says it has "trained its AI diffraction reduction model using tens of thousands of images to control problems caused by diffraction at the light source, allowing users to capture clearer, more natural-looking images."

As consumer demand for larger screen-to-body ratios and novel smartphone form factors has grown, Oppo reminds us it has "invested heavily into research and development in these areas."

Oppo also notes having "released three generations of under-screen camera solutions to date since it began its development of the technology in 2018, applying for over 200 related patents in the process.

"In 2020, Oppo also made further contributions to the development of the technology with the submission of its first proposed standards for under-screen camera technology to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

"Included in the submitted proposal were recommendations for 7 key technical metrics including display transmittance, reflectance, uniformity, Gamma correction, colour shift, and brightness decay."

Oppo says it will "continue its research and development into hardware design and algorithmic processing capabilities to further optimise its under-screen camera technology, with the end goal of bringing a more immersive, true full-screen under-screen camera system to users worldwide."

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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