New Google Multi-Flash Patent Could Lead To Big Jump In Photo Quality


Google has been granted a patent for multiple flashes on a mobile device. A series of LED flashes is bound to be more powerful than the single LED most smartphones have these days and it opens a host of photographic possibilities. For small or close-up photography a ring flash will go a long way toward smooth, consistent and shadow free lighting. A multiple flash layout also opens the door for second curtain or slow sync flash, which allows for much better nighttime shots.

The patent also addresses different positions and configurations for the flash units. One such configuration would make it more like a pop-up flash as seen on many point and shoot cameras. Moving the flash farther from the lens would also have the added benefit of reducing the number of red-eye shots. This new patent creates a lot of possibilities, including the end of mediocrity when it comes to cameras on Google’s Nexus handsets. This could, of course, find its way to Motorola. Anyone count the flashes on that mythical X Phone yet?

Via: Unwired View
Source: USPTO

About the Author: Rudy Rivapalacio

Rudy is a Southern California guy who has used his tech savvy skills in a law enforcement and corporate security career. He often jokes about having a "Windows 3.1" tattoo and has the Bill Gates-like rule regarding no Apple products in the home. His two daughters (one at Cal, one in High School) have so far found a way to abide by that rule. When not glued to Android news or on Xbox live, Rudy is probably off traveling abroad. His West Hollywood apartment is littered with a few too many bikes, cameras and Android relics, but he's found a way to hide most, or some, of his toys from his wife. Rudy is a big Chargers fan, and consequently, buys beer in bulk.

  • Bryan McIver

    i’m intrigued, I look forward to seeing how this turns out

  • rbfx4x

    I’m interested. At least until Apples sues claiming they thought of it first and my phone gets banned.

  • Dan

    * Multiple flash elements = great idea. Getting a patent on having multiple flash elements = stupid freakin’ prep for patent trolling.
    * Photographers have been using multiple flashes forever. Putting them on the phone in multiple places is not worthy of a patent.

    As for reducing red-eye with flash position, you need to move the flash at least 5 degrees from the lens to eliminate red-eye. That’s going to require a big phone or closeup shots.

    • RTWright

      Yes we use multiple flashes, but they’re OFF-Camera not On it. Having a flash On the camera is usually something we dislike. It’s why we have a Speedlight that we can hold off camera and get better control over the light. This really isn’t all that much of a big deal other than you get more light from the camera itself and from my experience that’s not really a good thing. My LED flash on my GS3 is pretty powerful and not really good light. It is good enough for a simple point and shoot, but this will not effect the overall quality in the image. That’s done by the Sensor and Glass used on lenses and the image processing system.

  • Nudo

    Wow awesome way to blind someone! …Like if you were attacked or something.

  • Krzysztof Kajdasz

    And why not just put a combo of Xenon + LED?
    Xenon for very low-light situations (although I’m aware it’s heavy on the battery).
    LED for medium-light and battery-savvy people…