The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Samsung a patent for an S-Pen stylus with built-in camera.
This patent was originally filed in February 2017 and describes an “electric pen device” which has a built-in camera with optical zoom capabilities.
“The electric pen device includes a control board configured to interact with an electronic device and a communication module configured to communicate by wire or wirelessly with the electronic device, so that an image or a picture taken by a camera is confirmed and an optical zoom is controlled from the external electronic device,” the patent reads.
Samsung’s S-Pen stylus has traditionally been included with its Galaxy Note smartphones, and the latest iteration connects to the Note 9 via Bluetooth and can be used to remotely take pictures via a button on its side.
Implementing a physical lens on the stylus would allow the S-Pen to be used as a camera, relaying its live image feed to the Galaxy Note device it is connected to.
This could theoretically remove the need for a front-facing camera on a Galaxy Note device, freeing up the front of the smartphone for the display.