Everything around Samsung appears to be edges these days and we last told you about the company's Apps Edge initiative. Apparently another branch of the R&D department is working on a different aspect of edge operation, this time for conventional, flat screens.
Making you wonder how no one had thought of it until now, Samsung has filed for a patent for transparent "sensor pads". Those will be placed alongside the edges of a smartphone and will be available as controls in various applications. The chief reasoning is, presumably, not to interfere with the displayed content on the screen.
The most obvious use case, and possibly the inspiration behind the tech, is mobile gaming. For ages now console controllers have had buttons on top, where they can be operated with the index fingers. A quick dry run on a phone at the office suggests that it may be tricky at first, and keeping thumbs out of the way may be an issue, but we're not quick to judge.
Camera controls are the other suggested use of the sensor pads and Samsung may be on to something here. Moving all (or most) of the functionality away from the display, which acts as a viewfinder, will allow for more precise framing, unhindered by all the toggles and shortcuts, while still allowing plenty of control.
Additionally, it should in theory let you customize the placement of the shutter release wherever your fingers fall most naturally, meaning less awkward selfies. Well, in terms of handling, at least.
As with all patents, this may never make it to production, or at least may take a while. At this point though, it does seem like an exciting path to explore.