New liquid lenses to revolutionise cameraphones

Tiny drops of water to replace glass and plastic optics in future phones

Spy UAVs could get smaller still with adaptive liquid lenses

US researchers have developed a new type of adaptive camera lens made from microscopic droplets of water that wobble in time with sound from a miniature speaker.

The scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute made a liquid lens that captures 250 pictures per second and requires considerably less energy to operate than current technologies.

Pictures that look good enough to drink

A pair of water droplets vibrate when exposed to high frequency soundwaves, altering their focus as they move. Image processing software automatically deletes blurred images and captures the sharp ones – theoretically up to 100,000 times a second.

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The lightweight, low cost lenses, are intended for use in the next generation of cameraphones, or for ultra-miniaturised cameras in tiny robot spy aircraft.