Strange-Looking Digital Camera Design Spotted in a Recent Panasonic Patent

Could Panasonic be planning to jump into the action camera market and compete against the likes of GoPro? A recently published US design patent suggests that it might be the case. The patent, first spotted by 43 Rumors, was filed in December of last year but published a week ago. Simply titled, “Digital Camera,” it contains a series of simple illustrations showing what appears to be a pocket-sized durable action camera.

The design was invented by Akio Ohno on behalf of Panasonic Corporation. In the patent’s “Claim” section, Ohno writes, I claim the ornamental design for a digital camera, as shown and described.”

Aside from the illustration, though, there’s not much else that reveals what the camera can do or what it’s intended for.

Here’s what the camera looks like from the sides:

…what it looks like from the front and back:

…and what it looks like from the top and bottom:

Is it an underwater housing for an ordinary digital camera? The patent’s title doesn’t seem to indicate that. Is it a tiny wearable camera that’s geared toward lifelogging? It seems a little thick for that.

You can find the entire patent here. Leave a comment if you notice anything interesting about the designs or have any guesses as to what it is. Everything is limited to simple observations and random speculation at this point; we’ll just have to wait and see whether Panasonic does make a move in the action cam space.

Update: Turns out the design is for wearable digital cameras used by law enforcement officers:

  • Samcornwell

    Indeed it does look like Panasonic’s answer to Go-Pro.

  • Sideromelane

    Being that it has a large removable section of some kind, and a bubble over the ‘lens’ area, I would be inclined to guess either an underwater housing, or, a rugged housing for a panasonic compact camera. Simply slot your compact into the housing, plugged into an external power/data feed maybe? and voila, instant go-pro style camera at 1/10th the cost.

  • Ieuan Flowers

    the flexible attachment at the top is very similar to the rotating joint between the leash and ankle strap of a surfboard leash. could be intended to attach to a floating neck/wrist strap?

  • Ieuan Flowers

    also, if it is a housing for an existing camera, isn’t the shutter release button on the wrong side? if you look at the side view images, the shutter button would be in your left hand as you hold the camera. i dont know what this means, just some observations :)

  • Todd Kelmar

    To me it looks more like the flexible attachment at the base of an antenna or power cable.

  • OSAM

    I was thinking it looked like one of those wildlife game cameras. Guess I wasn’t that far off.