It's been over two months since Microsoft wowed us with its vision for new hardware. The Surface Duo and Surface Neo were announced in October but won't be launching until late next year. Microsoft showcased prototypes for the Android Surface Duo and the Windows 10X Surface Neo, both with dual screens.
However, these were very much early drafts of the hardware we will see next year. For instance, no smartphone flagship will find success in 2020 without a stellar camera experience. Microsoft's Surface Duo prototypes had holes where the cameras will be. It was the same for the Neo.
In other words, we don't know what cameras the pair will have. Microsoft has been quiet on the matter, too. The most we have had from the company is Surface chief Panos Panay promising the Surface Duo will get a “good camera”.
Now we may be able to understand a little more about Microsoft's camera plans for its folding book-style hardware. A new patent (via Windows Latest) details plans for a sophisticated camera module. Titled ‘OBJECT RECOGNITION USING DEPTH AND MULTI-SPECTRAL CAMERA', the patent was filed in May and published on 12th December.
The description reads:
“A camera is configured to output a test depth+multi-spectral image including a plurality of pixels. Each pixel corresponds to one of the plurality of sensors of a sensor array of the camera and includes at least a depth value and a spectral value for each spectral light sub-band of a plurality of spectral illuminators of the camera. An object recognition machine is previously trained with a set of labeled training depth+multi-spectral images having a same structure as the test depth+multi-spectral image. The object recognition machine is configured to output a confidence value indicating a likelihood that the test depth+multi-spectral image includes a specified object.”
Microsoft says the camera would be able to recognize 2D and 3D visual features on faces. Sadly, we don't know if this technology will arrive on the Surface Duo or Neo, but it will be interesting to see how Microsoft develops this idea regardless.