New camera lens mimics human eye

March 12, 2004

Philips Electronics has invented a tiny digital-camera lens that can focus on objects and create sharp pictures in ways similar to the human eye, reports Reuters.

Unlike high-end digital cameras, the new lens does not require mechanical moving parts because it works by manipulating two fluids in a tiny transparent tube. Philips said it would build a production line for the three millimeter lenses that are aimed at low-cost imaging products, such as digital cameras that fit inside a mobile phone or a home security system.

By charging the sides of the tube with a small electric current, one of the two fluids is drawn to the edges while the other fluid fills up the remaining space in the tube. The place where the two fluids meet functions like a lens. By changing the current, this lens can be shaped hollow, curved or anything in between, so that it can focus on objects far away or as close as two inches.

Philips said the lens is the first of its kind and the technology has been patented.

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