Are Liquid Lenses The Next Big Thing in Photography?

Major camera makers including Olympus, Samsung and Sony have all filed patents in recent days for liquid lens technology. Unlike traditional glass lenses, liquid lenses don’t have any moving parts. Instead, liquid is used to focus light, and different voltages are applied to the liquid to change the shape of the liquid, thereby controlling the image. In the video above, techie Ben Krasnow introduces the technology, and then shows off a device he made by ripping a liquid lens out of a USB webcam.

(via Ben Krasnow via Make)

  • Brandon

    clearly he has a good understanding of what he’s doing, and much more knowledge than i do about electronics, but i had to think. if AC would work, without that complicated circuitry, and polarization over time was the only concern, wouldn’t it just be easier to build a little flipping device inline on the mains, so that every time you switched it on it would be be alternating what leg receives the current?  pretty cool stuff that i’ve never heard of before, although i’ve often lifted a drinking glass and noticed the effects caused by the water and thought about things along these lines. i just assumed the optics must be crap or else i would have heard of this being done before.

  • Mario

    Liquid lens exists since more than a hundred year,I own old books showing the mecanism.

  • 9inchnail

    How come they all filed patents pretty much at the same time? The concept has been around for quite some time and all of a sudden manufacturers jump on that train? Weird.

  • Mario Groleau

    A little return on liquid lens, XIXst century variable focus lenses were made from 2 very thin glasses, with a very little gap, containing water or oil depending of the refraction indice wanted, the curvature of the lens was obatained with the pressure applied on the liquid, with a pump, a positive pressure give a convex lens and a negative pressure give a concave lens. Today lens use newer mecanism and product to obtain the same result.

  • Matthew Sugiarto

    I wonder if the liquid inside it will be affected by the weather condition or not.

  • Sclawfirm

    Because the laws recently changed where “first to file” rules, not first to invent.

  • TW

    Could a fixed liquid lens be created and adapted to work as a focal reducer, say for small sensor cameras using a full frame lens?

  • Dnguyen

    Probably not.