The sky is the limit when it comes to new innovations in tech. The colossal Chinese mobile manufacturing company, Vivo, has proven this statement right yet again. Vivo, which is headquartered in Guangdong, has been experimenting with eccentric designs for quite a long time. It recently launched smartphones with a gimbal camera and now it is looking to patent smartphones with drone-like capabilities. This model is still in the making but if the patent is approved, we can expect a huge breakthrough in the smartphone industry that can completely change the game. Vivo’s rival smartphone companies can expect tough competition.
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The basic sketch, published first by the Dutch publication Lets Go Digital, is based on the concept of aerial imagery. Drones have been quite popular among professional photographers in recent times due to their ability to capture wide-angle aerial shots that give you a bird’ eye view of everything. However, drones can pinch the pocket to a great extent given their price point. If the features of a drone-like camera could be integrated into a smartphone, it would revolutionize the world of mobile photography. Vivo has reportedly filed a patent with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) in December 2020 last year, which was published on July 1st this year. As per the sketch, there will be a small detachable compartment on the top-right edge of the smartphone. This is where the drone-like camera will be made to fit. It can slide in and out easily as per your requirements.
The model incorporates two cameras alongside two infrared sensors. This dual-camera system will capture both the front view and the footage below. The sensors are reported of top-notch quality and will capture images at the same acuity as that of high-grade professional drones. This model is just the initial patent. As per the analysis of experts, Vivo might surprise us further by adding one or two more cameras as there is ample space for it in the current design. A technical difficulty this flying camera will experience is turbulence and wind resistance. To keep the camera steady in the air, Vivo has attached 4 propellers to the camera module. However, it is difficult to say how successful these propellers will be in keeping the flying camera stable. The propellers can not be too light as that will compromise on their strength and will make them prone to damage.
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In contrast to this, if the propellers are too heavy, they might not even be able to take flight. This defeats the entire purpose of the flying camera. Thus, we will have to wait and see how Vivo engineers these 4 propellers and if they are able to keep the camera module buoyant in the air. Although the use of the 2 infrared sensors has not been clearly mentioned, it is assumed that they will help the drone-like camera in navigation. According to conventional use, infrared sensors detect obstacles in the air and estimate their distance. This is the feature that keeps the gadget safe from colliding against anything. This is quite similar to the AirPix. The AirPix was developed by a team of engineers, drone pilots, software developers, and GIS experts that have earlier constructed some of the best drones available in India.
Thus, it is safe to say that if the patent is approved and the flying camera module is manufactured, it will be nothing short of extraordinary. The patent filed by Vivo states that the flying camera will feature air gesture support. With the significant growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is quite an achievable target. There may also be an auto-tracking feature. The auto-tracking features will let the camera get complete autonomy over its functioning. It can cover a large area and automatically detect, follow, and record video of moving objects on the ground with the help of its dual-camera system. In case of any unwanted crashes or accidents, you will be able to track the camera with a few clicks on your smartphone. This can prove to be particularly useful in case of any sudden weather changes.
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Companies file many patents but they are seldom approved. Even if they are approved, more often than not, companies fail to deliver on the promised products. However, Vivo has a respectable success rate when it comes to delivering new and uniquely innovative products. For instance, we can take the example of the Vivo smartphone that comes equipped with a gimbal camera. The X50 Pro is the model that features Vivo’s gimbal system. It uses the 48 Mbps primary sensor along with an 8 Mbps ultra-wide lens. In addition to this, there are an 8 Mbps telephoto lens, and a 13 Mbps depth sensor that comes with the model. On the front, there is a 32 Mbps that helps you click stunning selfies. At the end of the day, however, it does not matter how many distinctive features the model is packed with if it does not have a durable battery.
The exact specifications of the battery have not been made public yet, but the patent mentions that the flying camera will house a separate battery. Thus, there will be two batteries in total, one for the smartphone and one for the drone-like camera. The smartphone battery is expected to be more powerful and long-lasting than that of the camera. Vivo might decide to put a removable battery in the camera, making it easier to repair in case of any damage. Vivo could also introduce a stabilizing gimbal system inside the dual camera set-up. This could help in reducing motion-blurriness and account for less shaky footage. However, it is unclear as to what this entire layout could end up costing the users. Everyone would like to be up to date with the latest technology, but a higher price point could deprive a large section of society of being able to purchase it.
Generally, well-built drones in India cost upwards of INR 50,000. Integrating a drone-like camera with a high-end smartphone could result in an exorbitant price tag. In addition to this, filing for the patent itself must have cost the OEM giant a significant amount of money. It would be interesting to see if Vivo can actually make this model a reality. There are a lot of hurdles in the path of the BBK-owned consumer technology brand. There is a lot of intricate engineering work that would need to be carried out. According to the details mentioned in the filed patent, the flying camera system inside the smartphone can slide out completely from the housing together with the mounting bracket.
However, if the final product is made successfully, one can expect to see a number of modifications depending on the requirements of the engineering team and experts’ analysis. Experts have also assumed that Vivo will use the fingerprint sensor to authenticate the camera system. This will ensure that each camera can be tagged to a single phone only. The learning curve is steep but as the saying goes, in order to attain the impossible, one must first attempt the absurd.