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Samsung Looks to the S Pen to House a Selfie Cam

Phone makers have been looking for daring ways to do something different with their cameras, everything from pop-up selfie cams to squeezing in more lenses. But this idea by Samsung to build a remote optical zoom lens inside of a stylus might take the cake.

The Note 9's S Pen can act as a remote shutter. (Credit: Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: The Note 9's S Pen can act as a remote shutter. (Credit: Tom's Guide))

A new patent for the wild idea (first spotted by Patently Mobile) was granted to the Galaxy phone maker this week and lays out a design that would place a long optical zoom lens array inside of the Galaxy Note’s S Pen.

MORE: Here's Why the S Pen Remains the Galaxy Note's Best Feature

The patent points out that, since optical lens systems can be bulky, most of today’s thin smartphones either don’t offer them or only offer limited systems. That means they rely mostly on less superior digital zoom to punch in when taking a picture or video. However, inside the S Pen (called an “electric pen” in the patent), Samsung seems to think it can fit a four-lens optical array, which would be connected back to the phone’s camera app by Bluetooth and offer further-reaching and sharper zoom.

Credit: USPTO

(Image credit: USPTO)

There’s no mention of how powerful Samsung’s potential stylus optical zoom could be. Rumor has it that some models of the company’s upcoming Galaxy S10 phones, which will reportedly pack three-lens rear cameras, is expected to offer 2X optical zoom, matching the latest dual-lens iPhones.

Last year, Samsung added a remote camera shutter function to the Note 9’s S Pen. Putting a full camera inside of the device seems like the logical next step, right?

Samsung is expected to introduce its next S Pen-touting Galaxy Note later this year. But since patented technologies by tech companies don’t tend to appear in products until some years after being granted (if ever), it’s no certainty that the Note 10 will make stylus-based selfies — styl-elfies? — a thing.