Varioptic brings to market the first (and so far only) megapixel liquid lens for camera phones, the Arctic 320. The liquid lens product boasts of ‘tunable focal length characteristics’. In lay man’s terms… the lens changes its shape automatically without mechanical help. What does it use? Electricty.
With electricity, the Arctic 320 performs like the human eye. It modifies the focus of the lens by changing the border between two drops of liquid. It also makes use of the firm’s patented electrowetting technology, which Varioptic claims makes the Arctic 320 smaller, cheaper and more durable than its traditional counterparts.
Varioptic launched its first patented liquid lens product in 2005 and since then, it has been working closely with Samsung Electro-Mechanics to develop auto focus lenses for camera phone use. During this period, Varioptic has been making advances on its liquid lenses, increasing storage temperature range to -40/+85 C, and operating temperature range to -20/+60 C.
“The delivery of the Artic 320 liquid lens is a watershed event that will usher in the mass production of camera-phones using liquid lenses… Because of the unique advantages – in terms of size, cost, quality, and durability – we expect that liquid lenses will rapidly become the dominant system for auto-focus or zooming capabilities in the camera-phone market”, according to Varioptic VP of Business Development John Barber.