Google granted patent for multi-LED flash, could be seen in future Android devices

On a typical smartphone we’ll see one, maybe two, flashes accompanying the onboard camera, but if Google has its way might more be in the future? Google has been granted a patent for the use of multiple LED flash bulbs — in some cases up to eight — to be used in capturing better photos with the camera technology currently available to handheld devices.

The patent was originally filed for back in September of 2011, so Google has been stewing on the idea for a while. The patent doesn’t necessarily mean Google is actively working on a device with any of the several LED layouts portrayed, but speculation has immediately jumped there anyway.

Remember, Google wasn’t yet in the hardware game at the point the patent was filed, and still technically isn’t, unless you count rumors of the first Motorola device designed with Google’s direct input post-acquisition. Do we think the so-called X phone will feature eight LED flashes? We’d be cautious about jumping on that speculation, but it is obviously something Google might like to see in future devices.

Not only would multiple flashes allow for better lighting, eliminating shadows and bright spots, but the equipment could be used sequentially to snap off a series of several pictures to be stitched together in an HDR-like fashion. The possibilities are as numerous as the flashes themselves. More likely, however, is that sensor technology will advance to take advantage of current flash deployments, rather than vice versa.

[via DroidLife]

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  • MadMeddler

    Would be quite cool to use these for notifications too. Obviously need to be toned down by a fair degree.

    • No_Nickname90

      There are apps that can use your flash for notifications. My friend has one where when his phone rings the camera flashes. It’s crazy at night. =.S

      • Samsung Fanboy

        but the flash is on the back of the phone making it useless as a notification for most people.

        • No_Nickname90

          Everything is useless for some people. I understand what you’re saying, though. I set my devices on it’s back and have the front facing up. So my Nexus 7 not having an LED notification light kinda bugs me. LoL!!

          But my friend actually sits his phone facing downwards. So of course it benefits him.

  • bob

    Led washes pictures out with one or two. Might not have a picture left with 8

    • ryan rochford

      unless they were dimmer, or maybe only some flash, depending on the light situation. perhaps if there is too much light on one side of the pic the flash will hit on the other side to even it out? hmmmmm

    • Joshua Saunders

      They don’t all have to face forward. Directing them outward would allow for broader lighting, while still having enough light in the middle to light the scene without washing it out.

  • Steven Skwarkowski

    What would be cool is you could essentially add multi color LEDs and make cool notifications with pre-programmed setups. Would also be a great way to find the phone, etc

  • Juan Carlos Contreras

    Make some those LEDs infrared for night shots with the bright LED light, having the option to choose LED or Infrared.

    • youareme7

      As cool as that would be it would never happen, the old sony handycam’s that had nightvision mode were mostly used to see through peoples clothes in the daytime; lol.

      • Covert_Death

        so? i want my phone to be able to do that

  • camelsnot

    No more patents

  • Carl Rood

    So now we patent adding more of what’s already there? It seems Google is taking lessons from Apple.