January 9, 2009
We’ve already seen the iSight indicator light “disappear” behind the bezel of Apple’s MacBook and iMac computers. A recently published patent application could make the iSight itself not only disappear, but move to the middle of the screen. MacBooks, iMacs, and even iPhones and iPod touches could take advantage of the new technology.
Submitted in July 2007, the filing details plans for a camera mounted behind a display that could capture an image “while the display elements are in an inactive state (in which the display elements are darkened and at least partially transparent).”
According to the document, a similar, additional system could involve two or more cameras, with software combining the two images into one. Video would also be possible by cycling the display “between the active state and the inactive state repeatedly.”
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean a ‘dark spot’ would appear on the screen during photos, or even start flashing during video capture.
“In some embodiments, the mechanism is configured to substantially minimize the period of time in the inactive state to reduce the appearance of flicker of the display screen.”
The filing explains how today’s built-in cameras require a user to look away from the lens in order to see his or her video conferencing participants.