Vivo patents a smartphone with a camera mini drone inside

Many use their smartphones to capture anything anywhere, sometimes even in difficult or dangerous locations and positions. One thing our powerful smartphones will never be able to do is to take aerial photos, at least not without some help from a drone or any other flying contraption. Never say never, as they say, and Vivo seems to be thinking of something to solve that problem. Its latest patent shows a smartphone that houses an honest-to-goodness quadcopter drone to take pictures from above, almost like in the movies.

As many patents usually are, the idea is simple, but its implementation will surely become the stuff of engineering and manufacturing legend if successful. The image of a drone sliding out of your phone to take pictures from places you can't safely go will probably trigger images of sci-fi or spy flicks where everyday things hide other, not so ordinary things.

According to the patent reported by LetsGoDigital, the hidden camera system includes four propellers, three infrared sensors, two cameras, and its own battery. One of the cameras faces forward while the other faces upward, though admittedly, it would be more useful if it were facing the ground. The infrared sensors face the remaining three cardinal directions and are most likely used for obstacle avoidance and navigation.

The imagery it evokes may sound fantastic, but it will probably be a nightmare to pull off. Even the smallest camera drone today is thicker than the thickest smartphone, especially when you include the propellers. Having something like that inside a smartphone also means less room for other essential components, especially the battery. The patent doesn't really say whether the drone camera system has any use while docked inside, which implies it's wasted space when not in use.

Of course, it's just a patent with no assurance of being made into an actual product, but the idea is interesting and intriguing nonetheless. There's no telling where we will be 10 or 20 years from now regarding smartphone and drone technologies. It might become a more plausible and feasible product in the not-so-distant future, and, when it does, Vivo already holds the patent to own it.