The OnePlus 8 Pro comes with an extra filter camera that processes infrared radiations in addition to visible wavelengths. It creates stunning and weird false-colour images with the help of some post-processing. That’s not all there is to it, though. IR light is one electromagnetic radiation which can penetrate certain materials, so the camera can be used for a neat party trick: It lets you see through some thin plastics and a few other materials.
In fact, all cameras out there are capable of retaining infrared wavelengths in photographs, but they come with built-in IR filters that make results as close to our vision as possible. OnePlus’ custom processing is probably the reason why its results don’t look like mono-colour images.
OnePlus’ tech isn’t something special and unprecedented though. The Pixel 4 and the new iPhones use IR blasters and cameras for bio-metric authentication. VR equipment like “Oculus Rift” also uses the same technology. There are even some old Sony camcorders that used to include an IR night-vision mode.
It’s cool that OnePlus allows users to use this technology as a party trick, though that’s all it is — I’d rather have an additional regular lens or a cheaper phone than a camera that only works for extremely rare, specific purposes.