OnePlus showcases Concept smartphone that has disappearing cameras
OnePlus has showcased a black color variant of the Concept One smartphone that made headlines at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 event for its disappearing rear camera. The new model looks and works pretty much like the original prototype we saw earlier this month except that it has an all-black leather finish instead of the McLaren-inspired Papaya Orange shade.
According to Kevin Tao from OnePlus's industrial design team, the black variant was one of the early prototype models. It has a black leather rear panel, a McLaren logo at the top, and no OnePlus branding. And unlike the OnePlus Concept One we saw at CES, this variant has some carbon fiber-like design elements around the camera lenses.
OnePlus Concept One comes with a novel disappearing camera design that is inspired by the electrochromic roof of the McLaren 720S, which changes its tint when an electrical signal is passed. So, when you open the camera app, the rear glass receives an electrical signal to change its shade and display the camera. Similarly, when the camera app closes, the glass goes dark again.
The real innovation in the electrochromic glass used on Concept One is about how thin and how quick it is. It's 0.35mm thick and it can transition from opaque to transparent in 0.7 seconds, unlike any other electrochromic glass in the market. According to Tao, the team spent three months tuning and optimizing the speed and power consumption of Concept One's Invisible Camera.
Since the electrochromic (EC) glass can also become semi-transparent, it can serve as a neutral density (ND) filter. For the uninitiated, an ND filter blocks excessive light so that you can capture scenes that would have otherwise been too bright and overexposed. Moreover, it can also enable longer exposure shots for some dramatic effects when capturing scenes such as running water.
According to Tao, OnePlus is now working on a new design philosophy called ECMF where "E" stands for Electronic and CMF is for Colors and Materials Finish. As part of this design, the company is "working with materials that have dynamic properties." Using the built-in electronics, these properties can be controlled and tuned as per the requirements of the device.