OnePlus recently released its new flagship smartphone, the 8 Pro. While it comes packed with a ton of helpful features, some owners received an unexpected surprise earlier this week. Twitter users reported that the 8 Pro’s color filter camera can see through some certain black materials. X-ray vision isn’t a feature that we’ve seen on smartphones and apparently it isn’t one that OnePlus intended to include.
The feature reportedly uses infrared sensors to filter out certain black colors, making materials—including some clothes and plastics—transparent.
OnePlus’ 8 Pro is a terrific Android phone in almost every way. It packs a powerful processor, a crisp 120Hz display, and a very respectable camera. Notably, the phone’s built-in camera app has an array of filters and settings that allow users to alter their photos.
One called “Photochrom” is responsible for the x-ray vision-like mode. It gives users the ability to selectively filter out a color from their images. While it certainly isn’t the most useful feature, it does result in some interesting photos.
When the Photochrom filter is pointed at certain black objects, it makes them look transparent. To be fair, the filter is very selective. It won’t work on a solid piece of plastic. Rather, it works best with things like the thin plastic of a remote that’s already a little see-through in some lights. Twitter user Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) showed it in action on an Apple TV box.
— Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) May 13, 2020
Since then, other users have demonstrated how it works. This includes using the feature to look into a Nintendo Switch remote and even a black shirt.
A Lesson in Infrared
Most people often forget about things like infrared light. Since the human eye can’t see the spectrum naturally, most of us tend to ignore it. However, infrared sensors are incredibly useful in tech. They enable features like facial identification, night vision, and thermal imaging.
In recent years, smartphone makers have begun adding infrared sensors to their cameras. Some iPhone models use it with the TrueDepth camera used for FaceID.
Although the OnePlus 8 Pro’s ability to see through select materials isn’t true x-ray vision, it could still be problematic for the smartphone maker. If it can be used to peer through clothing reliably—say through a third-party app—an array of privacy concerns could arise.
As such, OnePlus may need to consider rolling back the Photochrom filter as part of a future software update. Something similar happened in 1990 when Sony released a night vision camcorder that could also be used to see through clothing.
OnePlus hasn’t commented on the feature, so for now, it remains unclear whether it was intentional or not. In either case, 8 Pro owners can enjoy looking inside some of their everyday objects.
If you have a chance to experiment with the feature, feel free to leave a comment or reach out to The Burn-In on social media with any interesting pictures you capture.