One thing we’ve all noticed as the years go on is how huge camera bumps are nowadays. Although companies are coming up with clever ways to make them seem smaller (such as Samsung’s sorta-side-mounted modules on the Galaxy S21 series), they will always be limited by physics.
Without getting too technical, the reason camera bumps are so thick is that multiple lenses need to be stacked on top of one another to create the high-quality images we expect from phones. Those stacked lenses necessitate a protruding bump from the back of the phone. The only way to reduce the bump would be to remove lenses and reduce image quality.
A new company called Metalenz has figured out a way around this, though. The just-announced firm told Wired that it has designed a flat lens made up of tiny nanostructures. These nanostructures bend light independently, removing the need for stacked lenses.