OnePlus 8 Pro's color filter camera can see through materials, company says it will be...

midian182

Posts: 5,674   +43
Staff member

Boasting features such as reverse charging, a 120Hz display, and 5G, the OnePlus 8 Pro has gained plenty of praise. It also has a quad-camera setup that includes a 5MP color filter lens that’s able to see infrared light, thereby adding a unique look to shots, but users have found it also has some limited x-ray-style qualities.

Owners took to the forums with evidence of the OnePlus 8 Pro’s ability to see through thin or tinted plastics, allowing them to photograph the electronics inside. It had been reported that the same feature could see through certain clothes, though that's been disputed by people who've tested it.

To protect itself from any legal repercussions, OnePlus took to Chinese social media site Weibo to announce that “In order to eliminate the impact on user privacy under possible extreme circumstances and eliminate everyone ’s concerns, we decided to temporarily disable the filter function through software upgrades.” The update arrives later this week.

For those who enjoy using the color filter lens to add interesting effects to their photos, rather than trying to see through skirts, OnePlus says it will use “new technical solutions” in the near future to bring the feature back.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 6,936   +5,219
LOL .... one of the Sony camera's about 15-20 years ago had the same "undocumented feature" and they discontinued it too .... although it took about 3 months to do so ..... should have bought one of those!!!
 

Evernessince

Posts: 4,992   +5,115
From a technological standpoint this is very cool. Anyone have the low-down on how this works from a technical perspective?

Also, can this really see through clothes made with plastic fibers or is that just people jumping to a logical conclusion? Something like that, you aren't going to put that genie back in the bottle. Once people know about it they will find a way to re-enable it or get another device that can do the same. Most of all it would boost sale of cotton clothes.
 
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p51d007

Posts: 2,366   +1,626
You can get a photochromic filter, or an IR filter, tape it to the camera lens and get pretty much the same results. Will be obvious, but if it's that big of a deal. IR & chromatic filters have been available to regular camera users for a long time.
 

neeyik

Posts: 898   +832
Staff member
From a technological standpoint this is very cool. Anyone have the low-down on how this works from a technical perspective?
Charge coupled devices, the image sensors in cameras, are responsive to infrared wavelengths (albeit less so than visible light). Many artificial polymers are translucent to infrared, so if they can pass through such material, then a CCD can pick them up. Leaving aside the issue of privacy, the main problem behind this is that the images just won't look right - so manufacturers use an absorption filter in the lens housing to remove the infrared component from the input wave.

In the case of this particular phone, the manufacturers didn't install any kind of filter at all, and use spectral analysis in software to filter the CCD's output, or have a mechanical filter that clicks in and out of place. This gets activated through software too, so it's easy to see how OnePlus are disabling the feature via an update.
 

JaredTheDragon

Posts: 679   +431
From a technological standpoint this is very cool. Anyone have the low-down on how this works from a technical perspective?

Also, can this really see through clothes made with plastic fibers or is that just people jumping to a logical conclusion? Something like that, you aren't going to put that genie back in the bottle. Once people know about it they will find a way to re-enable it or get another device that can do the same. Most of all it would boost sale of cotton clothes.
It's an infrared photon effect. The article erroneously labels it an "X-ray" effect, but infrared photons are smaller than visible light photons whereas X-ray photons are just a spin or two below the electron - MUCH larger than visible light. With every additional spin, a photon doubles its effective spin radius and motion-path. That's why e=mc², you see - it's moving linearly at c but also spinning at c, so you have to compound both motions. The speed of light, linearly times the speed of that photon's spin, at the tangent.

So the CCD, as Neeyik stated, is picking up infrared photons as heat. Heat is of course photon density in a given volume, and all photons contribute to heat, but they average in the infrared spectrum. MOST photons are infrared.

Here's a video diagram I made showing the infrared photon's spin-path radius compared to many single-spin, axial-only photons that are much smaller. At some point we can introduce larger-radius photons too but it's pretty tedious work.