Huawei may be preparing smart glasses with a rotating pop-up camera, based on a recently-approved patent. The design, reported this week, shows a fairly standard pair of smart glasses. Thick lenses are placed just below a long segment that covers around a third of the top portion of the lens. That would presumably house electronics for pushing display output. It would also likely house components that run applications and other functionality.
The big-ticket item here though is the camera. The patent describes a boxy housing for a lens and associated components, tucked into the left-hand arm of the glasses. The lens itself can protrude, using a mechanism that looks very similar to that found in smartphones. But it’s also been placed on a rotating swivel.
According to the patent, that assembly means that the camera can be rotated as much as 360 degrees.
How would users interact with the rotating pop-up camera on these smart glasses?
Control for the camera is passed over to a UI that would presumably be shown on the lenses of the glasses themselves. And the patent describes three options for that in a control “app.”
Those are utilized by the end-user to control the rotation direction, the rotation itself, and the camera popping up, to begin with.
That, in turn, means that users can access the camera and take photos as needed — whether that’s to document their surroundings or capture memories of a special experience for later. Then, when they don’t want the camera protruding, they can tuck it away.
So the glasses can be worn more like a typical pair of shades when the camera’s not in use. And that should not only improve the aesthetic appeal of the glasses. It should also ensure that wearers encounter fewer of the privacy-related problems smart glasses have historically caused in public spaces.
How likely is it that Huawei will launch these?
Now, smart glasses have been around for quite some time and haven’t traditionally done well in the modern market. But that hasn’t stopped companies from continuing to patent, develop, and even release the devices. That’s held true for both consumer products such as Snap Inc’s Spectacles to Google Glass. And devices have launched across both enterprise and consumer retail spaces.
So it isn’t out of the question that Huawei would launch its own pair. But there’s no clear indication as to when the company plans to do that or what other functionality and features might be included with the wearables.