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New smartphone OnePlus can see through clothing

In 2020 it hardly ever happens that new smartphones manage to surprise. Yes, everything is always bigger, faster, better, but rarely do you really see new features. Still, OnePlus has managed to do that with the OnePlus 8 Pro, but the question is whether we should be happy with that.

Brand new owners of that device have discovered a striking filter in the camera app. If you choose the very last filter there, “Photochrom”, you get an innocent looking color effect with not so innocent potential. You can use it to see through clothing and plastic.

OnePlus 8 Pro looks through clothing

At least thin black plastic and thin black clothing. Consider, for example, the thin plastic of your television’s remote control. If you point the filter of the OnePlus 8 Pro on it, you suddenly see the components that are hidden under that plastic layer.

The same goes for a black t-shirt: if you hide an iPhone packaging under it, you won’t see it with the naked eye. If you grab the new OnePlus, you suddenly look right through the t-shirt.

How is that possible?

How is that possible? The filter uses the infrared sensors on the phone. They pick up a type of radiation that is invisible to the human eye. On the electromagnetic spectrum, infrared is just below visible light. We only feel the warmth of it, but (luckily) we don’t see it.
Infrared is everywhere: half of the energy released by the sun on the earth arrives in the form of infrared. Special hardware can detect infrared, such as night vision goggles and thermal cameras. For example, firefighters can see through smoke.


Until now, however, it has mainly remained there: expensive hardware that was only used for specialist professions. Until now. Smartphones have long been equipped with infrared sensors. For example, Apple uses them for Face ID. But you will have to jailbreak your iPhone to use them to see through objects and clothes.

OnePlus is the first manufacturer to provide its users with such a filter. The question is whether the company has foreseen that the filter can also be used for less pleasant purposes, and OnePlus has not yet responded.

Time for action?

Yes, the circumstances under which it can be quite specific and fortunately so limiting, but it is not a pleasant idea that someone in the supermarket can see through your clothes. There is already a lot of discussion in forums about whether OnePlus should simply delete the filter completely, or at least adjust it.

That probably depends mainly on how much fuss is actually going to arise. Have we forgotten the filter again, or do we keep discussing it? We are going to experience it. If OnePlus wants advice, it can come to Sony. That manufacturer had to recall a camcorder in the 1990s when it turned out that it was possible to see through clothes …


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