Philips FluidFocus: Variable Focus Fluid Lens
Philips FluidFocus - a variable-focus lens system with no mechanical moving parts - was demonstrated at CeBIT (Hannover, Germany) on March 3rd, 2004.
(See Philips' Fluid Lenses Bring Things into Focus.)
Update: Apparently, a French company, Varioptic, has previously claimed to hold "two fundamental patents" that cover this technology. See The $5 'no moving parts' fluid zoom lens - twice for more details.
Here's the scoop from the Philips press release:
"The Philips FluidFocus lens consists of two immiscible (non-mixing) fluids of different refractive index (optical properties), one an electrically conducting aqueous solution and the other an electrically non-conducting oil, contained in a short tube with transparent end caps. The internal surfaces of the tube wall and one of its end caps are coated with a hydrophobic (water-repellent) coating that causes the aqueous solution to form itself into a hemispherical mass at the opposite end of the tube, where it acts as a spherically curved lens.
The shape of the lens is adjusted by applying an electric field across the hydrophobic coating such that it becomes less hydrophobic – a process called ‘electrowetting’ that results from an electrically induced change in surface-tension. As a result of this change in surface-tension the aqueous solution begins to wet the sidewalls of the tube, altering the radius of curvature of the meniscus between the two fluids and hence the focal length of the lens. By increasing the applied electric field the surface of the initially convex lens can be made completely flat (no lens effect) or even concave. As a result it is possible to implement lenses that transition smoothly from being convergent to divergent and back again."
(See the press release for very nicely done schematic diagram and more details.)
The lens consumes almost no electrical power, offers remarkable durability, is extremely shock-resistant and operates over a wide temperature range. The type of liquid doesn't matter, as long as they don't mix. At least one lens was constructed using soup - it rendered color poorly, so no soup lens on your next cameraphone. You could even use oil and vinegar, according to Philips' physicists.
Science fiction fans are of course familiar with Frank Herbert's oil lens from his extraordinary 1965 novel Dune. Herbert described it as "oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube."
(Thanks to Phil Gross for the tip on this one.)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/4/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )
Related News Stories -
Integrated Circuits Printed Right Onto Fabric!
'...a shirt that displayed email on its sleeve. - Margaret Atwood, 2003.
Drones Guided By The Mind Alone
'His treads left no tracks upon the floor...' - Clifford Simak, 1961.
3D Printed Artificial Muscles Are Stronger Than Yours
Bots don't need to work out.
Crazyflie Drone Swarm Technology
'...Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'
iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.
Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'
Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.
RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.
Seasteading Floating Cities
'It was a remarkable island, circular, about half a kilometer in diameter.'
Tesla Semi 'Electrotruck' Unveiled
Elon Musk unveils yet another technological marvel.
Watch What People Are Seeing Via Brain Scanning
'had managed to see through the other man's eyes as the other man, all unaware, washed their Zis limousine sixteen hundred meters away...'
Integrated Circuits Printed Right Onto Fabric!
'...a shirt that displayed email on its sleeve.
Interstellar Asteroid Visits Our Solar System
'This asteroid had whirled in from the cold of the interplanetary space...'
PRIMA Bionic Vision Restoration
'The VISOR... was a medical device used in the Federation to aid patients who have suffered loss of eyesight...'
Audi Traffic Jam Pilot Knows If You're Sleeping
'Even here, riding a garbage truck to eternity, the machine watched him...'
UM Hall Thruster Breaks Records
Someday, we'll see an ion drive used to get to Mars.
Ionity Ultra-fast Charging Station Network
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'
VAuth Voice Security Wearable From University of Michigan
'Siri, I gave you a voice command...' 'Yes, but do I know you?'
Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Records Your Life
Why be choosy? Just upload your whole life to the Internet, and be done with it.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories