Liquid camera lenses just around the corner

21st Dec 2007 | 00:00

Liquid camera lenses just around the corner

Watery optics promise better lenses and even thinner gadgets

Developing camera lenses based on liquids is nothing new, but an investment by a Japanese giant in a small US firm promises that we could soon find fluid optics of the non-alcoholic kind in our digital cameras and mobile phones within a few years.

Itochu of Tokyo and Osaka has decided to work with Holochip of New Mexico to commercialise the US developer's adaptive polymer lens (APL), which swaps glass for liquid to create a smaller, more powerful optic.

Slimmer and stronger

Liquid lenses focus by changing shape under pressure from moving parts around their circumference. This allows manufacturers to either create an array of lenses to give a longer focal length or ultra-thin units for even smaller gadgets.

Lest potential users fear the liquid in the lens freezing, Holochip points out that it remains operational from -20 to +60ºC. The venture hopes to have commercial products ready for use in Asia and the US before long.

Digital cameras
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