Apple has patented new technology in which a computer display will simultaneously take pictures while displaying images.

The New Scientist reports this depends on inserting thousands of tiny image sensors between the LCD display cells in the display itself. "Each sensor captures its own small image, but software stitches these together to create a single, larger picture," the report explains.

Apple's filing (US Patent Application 20060007222) describes the technology as "ideal for video-conferencing", because it would ensure all parties were staring directly at the camera. It's also an appropriate extension of the company's current strategy - with the exception of the Mac mini, Apple's latest Macs all integrate iSight cameras.

The technology could also add video-conferencing/camera features to other devices, such as mobile phones or PDAs.

As described, the patent could even offer the capacity to zoom in on what's before the screen. The full patent filing is available online.

It was filed on June 21, 2004.