The FluidFocus Lens


Mimicking the way the human eye works, Philips has created a camera lens that can focus without any moving parts and is made entirely out of two non-mixing fluids.

The Philips FluidFocus lens consists of two immiscible (non-mixing) fluids of different refractive index (optical properties), one an electrically conducting aqueous solution and the other an electrically non-conducting oil, contained in a short tube with transparent end caps. The internal surfaces of the tube wall and one of its end caps are coated with a hydrophobic (water-repellent) coating that causes the aqueous solution to form itself into a hemispherical mass at the opposite end of the tube, where it acts as a spherically curved lens.

The supposed advantage of the FluidFocus lens is that because it has no moving parts it can be manufactured cheapily and easily, meaning that focusing lenses could be brought to all sorts of things (like cameraphones and low-end digital cameras) which usually only have fixed-focus lenses.