Technology has broken another barrier in photography with the design of the liquid lens. Although the liquid lens has been around for some time, the technology was produced only on a high-power scale. Recently, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, NY, have developed a low-power liquid lens for small point and shoot cameras with only two drops of water that change shape by use of sound waves.
The use of a liquid lens benefits small cameras because it allows them to focus without any moving parts (like the zoom on a camera) or repositioning.
Researchers test the lens by a long method involving filling the lens with water, locking it in a pressure chamber, and generating sound waves into the chamber. The sound waves reform the surface of the liquid in the lens to create an image. Their findings lead researchers to believe cameras that use liquid lenses “could take tens of pictures at the press of a button and let software sort out the one that’s most in focus.”
Although researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have only produced low quality images, they plan on upping their quality by using a different liquid in the lens. Some companies, like Phillips and Varioptic, have already produced these lenses for small cameras and camera phone; however the same liquid lens technology has been used in a high-power form for biomedicine device that finds lesions underneath skin.
Sources - Low-Power Liquid Lens, Technology Review
Better Bioimaging with a Liquid Lens, Technology Review