Feeds

Cameraphones focus on liquid lenses

All it takes is a drop of water

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

3GSM The quality of autofocus lenses on cameraphones are set to get a boost with technology from Varioptic, a firm that makes its lenses out of oil and water, rather than using traditional mechanical lenses.

The firm was this week celebrating at 3GSM in Barcelona the first inclusion of its nifty lens in a camera module, one made in China by Taiwanese firm Sunny.

Varioptic makes autofocus lenses for higher spec camera phones. The lens exploits the way water will form a rounded droplet on a surface, which goes flat when voltage is applied to it - a technique known as electrowetting. This has been known for some time, but Varioptic's product is the first optical application.

The lens is cone-shaped and contains oil and water - the junction between the two forms the refractive surface. When voltage is applied to the surface of the cone, the water wets it and the oil expands - effectively changing the focus of the lens.

Varioptic marketing manager Philippe Ruffin told El Reg: "It's much more reliable than mechanical alternatives. It can focus on a shorter distance - to about 5cm - and it's much faster [to focus] than a mechanical lens. On an ordinary module it will work at 800ms but we can tune that to 500ms."

Ruffin said the company's factory in Shanghai has capacity to produce 100,000 lenses a month and its plant in Lyon another 25,000. He said the company expects to take a large share of autofocus camera phones - usually above three megapixels, but also expects it as a way for handset makers to improve two-megapixel or lower-resolution devices.

"The next big story you will hear from us will be a handset deal," he said.

More from Varioptic's website here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Google has spaffed more cash on lobbying this year than Big Cable
Don't worry, it'll be cheaper when they use drones
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?