CIA Takes Interest in Lens Startup

LensVector, a Silicon Valley startup working on novel lens technology, has received its latest round of funding from In-Q-Tel, a not-for-profit venture firm that invests for the sole purpose of boosting US intelligence capability by providing the CIA with state-of-the-art information technology.

So what’s LensVector developing that CIA would want? Lenses that focus electronically with no moving parts.

Here’s a diagram by LensVector showing how their tiny autofocus lenses work compared to traditional technology:

Rather than using mechanical parts to focus a lens, LensVector uses electricity to align liquid crystals to a desired shape, which focuses light to a particular point.

Given the CIA’s interest in this technology, it must be working pretty well. Hopefully we’ll see this introduced to consumer cameras that need it (i.e. cell phones) soon.

A fun fact: another startup that received In-Q-Tel funding was Keyhole, Inc., the geospatial data visualization company that was acquired by Google in 2004. Their flagship product, Earth Viewer, was turned into Google Earth.

(via CNET)

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  • idesignstuff

    Very cool technology, but I wonder how long they will take to make a lens that can work with a sensor of DSLR size… Currently their biggest sensor size is 1/4″ (6mm) square.

  • Michael Zhang

    Hmmm. The technology is meant more for things like cell phone cameras, where a larger lens isn't feasible.

    I don't think the technology would make its way to DSLRs.

  • Vera Marks

    Didn't they also fund Facebook?