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Liquid Lens

October 23, 2008

A lens made from a pair of vibrating water droplets promises fast focusing.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
A liquid lens…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A videocamera lens has to constantly adjust focus in order to keep up with the action. Now, researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a lens that can change focus more than a hundred times per second. It’s made from a pair of tiny water droplets that vibrate in response to high-frequency sound. The liquid lens rapidly changes focus so that some of the captured images are sharp and others blurry. Mechanical engineering professor Amir Hirsa says software then picks out the final frames.

AMIR HIRSA (RPI):
You can always look at images and check to see which one is blurry and which is not and just keep the images that are sharp and delete the ones that are blurry.

HIRSHON:
Hirsa says the liquid lens could find its way into a range of devices, from cell phone cameras and microscopes to miniature spy planes. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.