The new OnePlus 8 Pro is currently the talk of the town and the reason behind it is the phone’s X-ray vision— or at least something that looks very much like it. The camera app in the OnePlus 8 Pro has a filter named “Photochrom”, which is allowing to see through some black coloured objects.
The filter seems to be using the infrared sensor of the smartphone to accomplish this feat. Ben Geskin has showcased the example of the Photochrom filter on Twitter and Unbox Therapy YouTube channel has also demonstrated the see-through effect.
As per the information available, the Photochrom filter works on a very thin kind of black plastic that is already a bit see-through when viewed at certain angles with the right light. So, while the infrared sensor could help you look inside a TV remote, you cannot use to see what lies inside a high-end DSLR camera.
Role of infrared light
The human eye is capable of seeing only a small portion of the light that is classified as the VIBGYOR spectrum. On the electromagnetic spectrum, the infrared light sits right outside the visible spectrum next to the red colour. It is invisible to our eyes and generally referred to as “heat radiation” because that’s how we feel it. About half of the energy that Earth receives from Sun is infrared.
— Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) May 13, 2020
Infrared vision goggles and thermal cameras are designed to help us see or capture infrared radiation. It lets you see through certain materials as thermal radiation passes through objects in a way the visible light cannot, hence allowing people to see through buildings.
What does it mean for OnePlus?
Although the ability to see-through objects is limited only to thin black clothes and very thin black plastic, it could end up giving birth to some problems related to privacy.
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OnePlus has not commented on its X-ray type filter or the use of an infrared sensor to create a camera filter. As of now, the whole thing looks like an accidental feature from OnePlus, which the company might disable in the future.