Samsung has been awarded a new patent that could improve on smartphone cameras across a couple of noted issues by adding a 'rotating' mechanism which fundamentally changes how a smartphone camera moves from the inside out. Filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under patent number US10070062, the patent shows how actuators and subsequent component pieces can be placed in a way that allows the entire 'lens barrel' to tilt. The first examples provided by Samsung for how that might be used include enhancements in optical image stabilization and image focusing. By allowing the sensor array to freely tilt, the camera in a device could effectively track the object, person, or another subject. More accurately centering the lens on any of those as the shutter is operating would, in effect, place the subject matter at an optimal point for maintaining focus and, in conjunction with current optical image stabilization technologies, improve overall stability. Speculatively, that's also something that could improve things further through the use of increasingly common AI and machine vision algorithms.
Beyond that, Samsung's patent points to improvements to 'driving transmission efficiency.' That may be intended as a description of the moving parts themselves since the patent also discusses a change that allows the 'rotating member' to move perpendicular to other parts. However, it could also indicate that a tilting camera assembly might be helpful in terms of light transmission. For example, Samsung has been rumored to begin implementing more than two sensors on some future devices. If at least one of the sensors is able to be rotated, they may be able to automatically be repositioned in a way that allows more light to pass to the sensor while maintaining focus on the subject matter.
Setting that aside, the technology in question may not even be intended solely for smartphone cameras. The technology manufacturer does use a smartphone in its example imagery but the patent itself could be extended beyond that. Specifically, Samsung describes its use in an "electronic device" that features a housing, display, camera, memory, and a processor. Although that fits well with a smartphone or tablet, it also could be used to describe a VR headset or other wearable. Those are all technologies where this particular patent might be beneficial and leaves the company with plenty of options if it chooses to follow through and implement the patented invention in any real-world designs.