The next interesting Nikon patent filed in Japan is for a zoom that can be controlled manually and through a zoom button on the camera body:
The idea is to use motorized zoom while video recording (for a smoother, controlled transition) and manual zoom for still photography. This patent could potentially be implemented in the upcoming Nikon mirrorless camera.
Patent Publication: 2010-281941
published on December 16, 2010
filed on June 3, 2009