×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Liquid Lens Can Magnify at the Flick of a Switch

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the zap-zoom dept.

Technology 108

An anonymous reader writes "German engineers have designed the first liquid camera lens with no moving parts that provides two levels of zoom. 'Liquid lenses bend light using the curved boundary between watery and oily liquids. When the two liquids are held in the right container, the boundary between them can be made to curve in a way that focuses light simply by applying a voltage. Liquid lenses have attracted much attention because they are potentially smaller than conventional optics and cheaper to build. Samsung has already built them into some cellphones.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

108 comments

Lens isn't working (4, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470211)

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Seeing double?? (4, Informative)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470655)

With better lenses we might see that this is a dup. These were reported in the media, and slashdot, a year or so back.

Re:Seeing double?? (1)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470781)

With better lenses we might see that this is a dup. These were reported in the media, and slashdot, a year or so back.
Sorry if we can't all remember back that far!
I must have had my beer goggles on.

Re:Seeing double?? (1)

pakar (813627) | more than 6 years ago | (#19474963)

I remember an old story of something similar many years ago where they where using a gas-lens for lasers to reduce the heat-stress you get on a glass-lens.

Re:Lens isn't working (2, Insightful)

Leontes (653331) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471837)

What about using these in reading glasses or goggles. People find bifocles somewhat frustrating due to the disruption to field of vision.

I can imagine: Let me put on my glasses. Oh, they are set for concave. ::tap:: Presto, convex.

I guess there *is* something to see.

Re:Lens isn't working (1)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 6 years ago | (#19473947)

Since they operate via surface tension, and would thus have to be horizontally arranged in order to have no distortion, my guess is that using such technology for glasses wouldn't work well.

This is old (3, Informative)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470227)

A guy did this at Bell Labs 2 years ago, and around the same time so did some French company that was going to put them in cell phones.

Re:This is old (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19470423)

Wow. It's obvious that you didn't get to the end of the fucking summary: "Samsung has already built them into some cellphones." Yes, it has been around for a short while, but it's still a pretty cool technology that is starting to work it's way into mainstream use.

Re:This is old (1)

hubie (108345) | more than 6 years ago | (#19473111)

That same summary also said that these Germans designed the first liquid lenses. Those Samsung guys must do a pretty quick turnaround.

Re:This is old (4, Funny)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470747)

"German engineers have designed the first... Samsung has already built them into some cellphones.'"
Bell Labs aand Samsung used a time machine. It clearly says the German engineers have just done it first. The only possible explanation for Bell Labs doing it two years ago and Samsung having already built it in to cell phones is that they went forward in time in some kind of a time machine, possibly involving a flux capacitor of some sort, and brought the technology back with them to before it was first implemented.

That, or it's a badly phrased article.

In related news, German scientists have designed the first "circular device for the conveying of people and objects" and the first "source for the creation of heat and light by combustion of a 'fuel'." We may mock but the USPTO will still grant them a patent on the lot of it.

Re:This is old (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19470959)

This is about liquid lenses with zoom capability, which is new.

Samsung etc. have had liquid lenses, but they haven't been able to do zoom. The German researchers found out how to make it work.
Hope that helps.

Gads is this old (0, Offtopic)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470253)

I remember seeing this like 5 years ago. I was thinking that it would be pretty cool for telescopes on the moon. This it not even worth checking.

Shake It (4, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470329)

If I shake it before snapping a photo, do I get a really cool bubble-like effect ?

Re:Shake It (1)

RedElf (249078) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470929)

You might, but if you shake it even harder you might a liquid mess to clean up afterwards.

Re:Shake It (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19472039)

That's what I told your wife too, but she didn't listen....

Re:Shake It (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#19474001)

If I shake it before snapping a photo, do I get a really cool bubble-like effect ?

Only if you Twist and Shout.

- RG>

Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (4, Interesting)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470385)

Are there any earlier mentions of liquid lenses before Dune? The article links seems to think he was firtst. Even if there is, it's still a pretty nice catch by Frank Herbert.

Will you look at that thing! Stilgar whispered. Paul lay beside him in a slit of rock high on the shield wall rim, eye fixed to the collector of a Fremen telescope. The oil lens was focused on a starship lighter exposed by dawn in the basin below them. The tall eastern face of the ship glistened in the flat light of the sun, but the shadow side still showed yellow portholes from glowglobes of the night.
(ref. source http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=52 [technovelgy.com]

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (1)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470711)

i'm not sure if this is the same concept. but you can see a slight effect of this with water in a curved wine glass let's say. you'll notice that the shape of the glass can determine how near or far you can see.

its actually quite interesting and i remember noticing this and thinking i'd get back to it. but once again, there is nothing new under the sun and we see man simply discovering nature and all her mysteries independant of geography, race or creed. i'm more of an amateur mathematician and i've never delved into optics but it is fascinating.

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (1)

PMBjornerud (947233) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472269)

Sorry, but liquids bending light does not qualify as a mystery of nature. Theory and math behind optics is taught in high school physics, though of course non-zoomable single-lens scenarios. Your eyes use soft lenses to focus over variable distances.

The interesting point here that instead of theory, they have a working prototype.

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (1)

john83 (923470) | more than 6 years ago | (#19475959)

Sorry, but liquids bending light does not qualify as a mystery of nature. Theory and math behind optics is taught in high school physics...
They teach ray tracing in high school physics. Between that and the real physics - Maxwell's equations - is a bit of a gap.

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (2, Interesting)

shrikel (535309) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470755)

Except in Dune, the oil was suspended in a force field, allowing perfect (and perfectly adjustable) refraction. I've long wanted a telescope like that. No more recollimating my scope every time I take it somewhere out in the boonies over a bumpy dirt road!

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (3, Informative)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472477)

Changing the shape of a lens doesn't adjust its refraction, it just... changes the shape of the lens. Refractivity is a property of the material, not the geometry of the lens.

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472793)

Not quite. Look straight through a flat piece of glass. Not a whole lot of distortion. Now look through a piece of glass with the same radius and volume, but thicker in the center than at the edges. Pretty different, huh?

The light has to both enter and leave the lens. That's two transitions between materials with different indices of refraction. It matters very much what the angles of incidence are and the relative differences between them.

The way you've worded your post is pretty much a flat contradiction of all optics since Newton. Go look up what a lens is.

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (2, Informative)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472975)

The way you've worded your post is pretty much a flat contradiction of all optics since Newton. Go look up what a lens is.

I didn't say the shape of a lens doesn't matter. I said it doesn't alter the refractivity (and by that I mean its index of refraction). Of COURSE it alters the behavior of the lens. Refractivity is an intensive property, the geometry of the lens is an extensive property.

Perhaps my wording wasn't as clear as it should have been. The point stands that the shape of a lens does not alter the ability of the material to refract light, it only alters the specific geometries of the refracted rays.

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (1)

hubie (108345) | more than 6 years ago | (#19473305)

The other guy posting is correct: refraction is only a property of the material and doesn't depend on the shape of the optic. Ultimately where the light rays go and their dependence on the shape of the optic enters into it via Snell's law [wolfram.com] .

If you take a slab of material with a constant index of refraction, you can change the path of light rays going through it by changing the shape of the surface of a material, just like you describe. Another way to do it is to take a flat slab of material, like looking into one end of a cylinder, and change the light ray paths by changing the index of refraction as you go through the material. An example of the second case is a GRIN lens [mellesgriot.com] . There are plenty more examples of the variable index situation, such as acoustic waves being channeled or reflected through thermal layers in the ocean or through the atmosphere.

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (2, Informative)

obender (546976) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470967)

Are there any earlier mentions of liquid lenses before Dune?
In the Mysterious Island novel by Jules Verne published in 1874, Cyrus Harding lits a fire with a lens made up of two watch glass lids stuck together and filled up with water. You can read the chapter here [online-literature.com]

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (1)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471099)

Very nice reference! I recall reading that story (quite some while ago though :). Not a zoom lens (as in Dune or in the article)... but to me it's still definitly a precursor the idea of a non-fixed liquid lens.

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#19474481)

That explains the Wells/Verne Patent Extension Act I read about a few years ago when I was visiting 2010.

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (1)

zwarte piet (1023413) | more than 6 years ago | (#19475469)

2010 ruled! That was some year! Did you visit before or after the chin incident with president Leno?

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (1)

frankmu (68782) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472217)

asimov in "foundation and empire" had a force field lens of some sort i think. darn, all of my scifi books are at my parents house!

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (1)

TrixX (187353) | more than 6 years ago | (#19474109)

There are previous references, in anatomy books. You are probably using two adjustable (for focus, not zoom) liquid lenses to read this reply, unless you get a braille or aural representation of /.

Re:Herbert used it in Dune in 1965... (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 6 years ago | (#19475339)

Given it's more or less the way our eye lens works, I'd say God (or Darwin, pick your choice) got the precedence over there. Just because it's written in a SciFi book doesn't quite mean it's new.

Naber porn (0, Redundant)

jrwr00 (1035020) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470467)

Cool! now i can have a smaller cam to spy on my nabers :)

Re:Naber porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19470761)

now i can have a smaller cam to spy on my nabers
You know, if your "nabers" is so small that you need a lens to see it, you'd be better off trying something like this. [allabout-p...gement.com]

Just wondering, where did you get that euphemism from? It's the first time I've ever heard it. I even asked my neighbours, and they'd never heard of it either.

Re:Naber porn (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470923)

First of all, you misspelled "Nabors".

Secondly, I'm as big a fan of Gomer Pyle as the next guy, but I think spying on Jim Nabors (much less calling him "your" Nabors) is a little over the top.

nearly on-topic: liquid crystal focussing (4, Interesting)

c_jonescc (528041) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470599)

This immediately reminded me of a talk I saw recently by Guoqiang Li from U. of Arizona. They're using liquid crystal lenses to make glasses with variable focusing power as a function of applied voltage. You could flip a switch to be able to see near or far - so if you're near-sighted but getting to the age where reading glasses would help, you're the touch of a button away.

Liquid zoom is quite cool too, but thought this related enough to pass on.

fyi:
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/84/i15/8415lenses.htm l
(PNAS citation in article)

Hubble (3, Funny)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470611)

It sure would have made fixing the Hubble a lot easier.

Earth to Hubble: Adjust lens voltage to 1.537mV.

Re:Hubble (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19470977)

Except, of course, that Hubble's MIRROR had spherical abberation and this is talking about lenses....

Re:Hubble (2, Interesting)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471195)

Except, of course, that Hubble's MIRROR had spherical abberation and this is talking about lenses....
Ok, so fill the "lens" with Mercury. Work with me here.

Re:Hubble (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19471385)

But if the Hubble used liquid lenses instead of mirrors...

Wouldn't it be the Bubble Space telescope?

Re:Hubble (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471609)

Forget the Hubble, think how much some one who wore trifocals would ware for a pair of glasses that could sense distance and adjust. Or how much I would pay for my distance glasses to 'turn off' if I was reading. I would put up with a bit more bulk on my face because it would reduce eye strain.

Re:Hubble (1)

john83 (923470) | more than 6 years ago | (#19475983)

...Or how much I would pay for my distance glasses to 'turn off' if I was reading. I would put up with a bit more bulk on my face because it would reduce eye strain.
You could just take them off.

Panasonic Lumix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19470671)

I thought that panasonic lumix (which is for sale NOW) had a liquid lens.

Re:Panasonic Lumix (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#19476799)

Panasonic makes a lot of cameras under their Lumix brand. All of them use conventional glass lenses. Panasonic cameras, especially the FZ series and the L-1, are known for having high-quality lenses, but they don't involve any magic.

What you may be thinking of is optical image stabilization, a movable element in the lens that shifts to compensate for jitter, reducing the need for a tripod. All Lumix cameras incorporate this.

Can I take camera as carry on luggage? (2, Funny)

Palmyst (1065142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470673)

If it contains liquid?

Re:Can I take camera as carry on luggage? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19471377)

Your body also contains liquids, and the combination of the two pushes you over the FAA "fear threshold" -- they'll let you on with the camera but only if you freeze-dry yourself first.

Prior Art (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19470699)

Back in high school, I sat about 5 desks away from the board. My glasses had broken and out of fear, I never told my parents. How did I manage without em? I cried! Kinda. I would let my eyes wet and squint a little so that I could see the board clearly. Of course it only lasts a few seconds and I would have to readjust the amount of liquid and squinting.

If you think that's ridiculous, then how's this: I would take lense (that had broken long ago from the frame [frame was broken too]) and cup it around my eye and put my hand over it and discreetly viewed through it, without anyone noticing. I would look like I'm just thinking hard or something

And you know how the thing with duct tape goes. after my 4th pair of glasses, and when i started driving, I had to duct tape it together. But sometimes when I ran out of tape I would have to take the lens out and put it between my brow and area under my eye, and squeeze it together to hold it in place..looking like a pirate. Anyone else done that before?

with a technology like this... (2, Interesting)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470757)

...could you somehow have a lens with multiple focus points? I'm thinking if you have 4 people in a picture you could focus on each of their faces with one lens and have a nice picture with everyone in focus rather than someone in the background a bit blurry.

Re:with a technology like this... (3, Informative)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471121)

Uhh, no need. You can do that with glass lenses. Its called depth-of-field, aperture, etc. The higher the f number, the deeper it is. Up the f, increase the depth of field, everyone is in focus (at the cost of decreased shutter speed - the f number is a ratio of 1/x of the diameter of the lens, so less light). Down the f number and you get nice portraits where only a small DOF exists and everything forward, or back, is out of focus.

Re:with a technology like this... (1)

Negadecimal (78403) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472313)

Up the f, increase the depth of field, everyone is in focus

That is, until diffraction effects start to kick in. Had to learn that one the hard way: shooting product shots at a maximum f/29 until discovering mysteriously sharper images at f/12. Now, I'll admit I don't know how much of that truly is diffraction (as opposed to a cheaper lens), but do I know it's something to consider.

Re:with a technology like this... (1)

hubie (108345) | more than 6 years ago | (#19473457)

The effect of diffraction is pretty easy to calculate (assuming both your lenses are "perfect" and have circular apertures). The size of the blur spot due to diffraction is roughly 2.44*L*F, where L is the wavelength of light and F is the f-number. So, your f/29 lens has a blur spot that is a little bigger than twice that of the f/12 lens. If you are talking about a digital camera, than it is a bit simpler to compare the blur spot against the pixel size. If it is on film, then you need to compare it against the grain size distribution.

A nice quick calculation can be done if you take the good average number for the wavelength of sunlight of 500 nm (or half a micron), round down the 2.44 to 2.0, and you only need to remember that your blur spot is basically your f-number in microns.

No, that's different. (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 6 years ago | (#19473295)

Uhh, no need. You can do that with glass lenses. Its called depth-of-field, aperture, etc.

Depth of field just means that sharpness decreases more or less gradually for points at planes parallel to the plane of focus, so that if you aperture is small enough, you get acceptable practical sharpness at a range of distances from the lens, and not just at the plane of focus.

The crucial thing is that by using depth of field, you have the following limitations:

  1. Every point that you want to be sharp in the image must lie within the field of focus for the aperture and focal length that you're using. If they're too far apart, you can't do it.
  2. Every point in the field of focus will be sharp.

What the GP proposed could, conceivably, not have those limitations (I don't know for sure). It would be hella harder to use, though.

Re:with a technology like this... (2, Informative)

migloo (671559) | more than 6 years ago | (#19475125)

If you have coaxial annular lenses, each with its own focal length, you get as many focal planes. You can thus make a multifocused picture at the cost of more blurry background.
This has been used for bifocal soft lenses for presbyopia. Focus splitting with diffraction gratings is more commonly used now.

No moving parts? (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470801)

Wouldn't the curving of the liquid layers be considered a moving part?

Re:No moving parts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19471793)

wouldn't the flow of electrons be considered moving parts also?

Re:No moving parts? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472493)

Wouldn't the motion of electrons in a CPU be considered a moving part? Look ma, I've proven that "solid state" is a myth!

Pretty Neat (1)

Wicko (977078) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470895)

Would be neat to have this on glasses or something like that. Your glasses can double as reading/seeing glasses, if you need a different prescription or something for different activities. I imagine it wouldn't take much power, just charge them when you go to sleep or something.

First makings of the "bionic eye" (1)

EntropyXP (956792) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470945)

Since I picked up my first science fiction book I have been fascinated with the idea of making a bionic eye. An eye that could see near and far. Eagle eye vision and microscopic vision. With the improvement of liquid crytsal lenses like this it seems possilbe. Just imagine losing an eye in an accident and then having it replaced by an electronic eye that can focus near or far and it's all controlled by brain waves. Now, if we could just incorporate a digital camera somehow. Hehe. That'd be awesome.

I did this before! (0, Offtopic)

TheBearBear (1103771) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471007)

back in high school i would cry a little and squint my eye so I can see the board. I needed glasses bad!

It can truly be said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19471059)

We're through the looking glass, people.

i am sceptical (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471065)

i might be wrong, in fact, very likely to be wrong, but wouldn't applying voltage cause hydrogen, or other gasses to be released from the water, and thus reduce the life span of the lens if it has to do much refocusing? and even so, wouldnt the released gasses interfere with the focusing?

Re:i am sceptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19472647)

I don't think they are using water.

Great for Democracy (2, Insightful)

soren100 (63191) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471093)

This liquid lens technology sounds like it might really help create tiny and cheap cameras that people can use to bring more justice to the world.

It seems that police brutality is getting so common now that they are willing to beat members of the media on camera [youtube.com] . (The clip begins with the narrator suggesting that the protestors were "asking for it" by throwing rocks at the police, but they can't spin the footage of their own camerapeople getting beaten up.)

What's worse, is that police now tend to focus on people with cameras , as you can also see in the above video. [mediachannel.org]

The tapes are very helpful in prosecuting police misconduct [cnn.com] , so we neeed more people taping.

Otherwise, the police tend to lie about the incidents [bbc.co.uk] , even going so far to claim in the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes in Britain that 5 different cameras watching the action were all somehow not functioning [wikipedia.org] .

In a Missouri case, a teenager was being harassed by the police at a DUI checkpoint for not telling them where he was going -- when he asked why he was being detained, he was told If you don't stop running your mouth, we're going to find a reason to lock you up tonight [thenewspaper.com] .

Stuff like this happens all the time, and it will be a great day when we can start getting more of it on tape. Then the police can keep policing the citizens, but the citizens can also police the police.

Re:Great for Democracy (3, Funny)

Lorkki (863577) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472257)

Then the police can keep policing the citizens, but the citizens can also police the police.

But if the police police police police, who will police the police police?

Re:Great for Democracy (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 6 years ago | (#19473599)

"But if blah blah blah blah blah, who will blah blah blah blah?"

I'm sorry, I don't understand your comment - can you elaborate?

Re:Great for Democracy (1)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 6 years ago | (#19475627)

But if the police police police police, who will police the police police?
I dunno, Coastguard?

Re:Great for Democracy (2, Insightful)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#19473155)

Wait a second... somehow, your UID is fairly low, but your post reads like a screed directly off Reddit. What gives?

Seriously, why turn an article on scientific discovery into a political... essay?

The first? Already Built Into? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19471199)

These two statements seem to contradict each other.

"German engineers have designed the first liquid camera lens with no moving parts"

"Samsung has already built them into some cellphones"

Hey, wait a second... (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471215)

From the summary:

German engineers have designed the first liquid camera lens... Samsung has already built them into some cellphones.
If it's the first liquid camera lens, then how has Samsung already built them into their cellphones?

Fewer moving parts? (1)

n0w0rries (832057) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471301)

I bought a canon sd600 a few months ago, and it died on my second glamis trip. Sand (from the air, it was never dropped) ruined the lense. So I bought an Optio W30 instead. No moving parts to get sand in.

So if this is such old news, why don't cameras use this technology? Because then they would last too long?

Re:Hey, wait a second... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19471873)

you, my friend, are great at missing context.

it's the first liquid lens system that is capable of variable levels of magnification with no moving parts.

then the summary mentions some crap about liquid lenses in general.

and then it mentions how samsung is already using liquid lenses in their cell phones.

no, it doesn't suggest that they use liquid lens systems with variable magnification and no moving parts.

A little earlier (2, Interesting)

UtilityFog (654576) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471417)

from here [microscopy-uk.org.uk] : In the Philosophical Transactions (Abridged), Volume 4, 1694-1702 pp. 97-101 + 1 plate, there is an article by Stephen Gray on "Microscopical Observations and Experiments" in which Mr. Gray explains the making of a water microscope.

Camera perhaps, but not telescope (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471697)

I believe one of the early English astronomical refractor telescopes (one of William Herschel's iirc, possibly the 20-foot one) had a lens made of two hemispherical pieces of glass filled with white wine.

Re:Camera perhaps, but not telescope (1)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | more than 6 years ago | (#19478555)

I believe one of the early English astronomical refractor telescopes (one of William Herschel's iirc, possibly the 20-foot one) had a lens made of two hemispherical pieces of glass filled with white wine.

The first beer goggle prelude?

from the summary (0, Redundant)

mrcdeckard (810717) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471869)

this:

"German engineers have designed the first liquid camera lens

and this:

Samsung has already built them into some cellphones.'"


i'm not a grammar nazi, but 180 degree contradiction makes the whole summary meaningless. . .

mr c

Might be fine for crap images (1)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472409)

Thanks, but I think I'll stick with Nikon's ED glass and mechanical movement. The liquid lens might work for cheap crappy images, but real photographers are amazingly picky about their glass. We buy into a lens system - the camera is just an accessory to the lens.

Re:Might be fine for crap images (1)

It'sYerMam (762418) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472627)

How do you know the quality of this new lens; have you seen many pictures using them, or do you have a working theory that shows liquid lenses will produce poor quality images? Surely liquid is a good road to go down, since you can tailor the material to the purpose. Glass isn't as flexible. (No pun intended.)

Re:Might be fine for crap images (1)

Uusilehto (1114317) | more than 6 years ago | (#19473145)

How do you know the quality of this new lens; have you seen many pictures using them, or do you have a working theory that shows liquid lenses will produce poor quality images?
I haven't seen any images taken with these new liquid lenses but I think I'll stick with glass for a little while. It has only been perfected as an optical material for the last 150-200 years. Exactly how long has liquid been used for this purpose? Just like many other innovations in the photographic industry, these are likely to never surpass the currently dominating technology (in this case, optical glass), although they will likely be used for some of the less "demanding" areas, such as mobile phones, keychain cams and Olympus DSLR's (sorry, had to say that one). For what it's worth, I'm a long-time photographer mostly working in the fields of large format (4x5in and up) and small format (Mostly Canon DSLR's, although only for work-related requirements)photography.

Re:Might be fine for crap images (1)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | more than 6 years ago | (#19478515)

It has only been perfected as an optical material for the last 150-200 years.


The same could be said about film. Even professionals seem to be using a lot of CCDs today. "Older is better" is not an argument. "Liquid lenses suffer from fundamental geometric limitations" is, but that is not what you said.

Re:Might be fine for crap images (1)

hubie (108345) | more than 6 years ago | (#19473547)

You can make a pretty good educated guess, or guesses. The liquid surface tension will want to pull the lens into a spherical shape, which doesn't give great imaging performance (especially off axis). Also, if only one lens is used, then you'll get chromatic distortions where your image quality depends on the wavelengths of light. I would be interested to see whether the camera phones that use these lenses give better images than those that used a fixed focus lens.

Re:Might be fine for crap images (1)

Uusilehto (1114317) | more than 6 years ago | (#19475477)

Yes, exactly. I'd like to see them do aspherical lenses with those Liquid Tension Experiments.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...