In place of glass lenses that move in order to focus, liquid optics uses a drop of water that changes shape when an electric charge is applied. The system is smaller and cheaper than glass and can supposedly focus faster. The tech recently appeared in the Akkord SnakeCam, a webcam sold in China. We brought one stateside and pitted it against two versions with glass lenses.
I made a Skype video call to my wife, who used the $20 Akkord, a $50 HP model and an $80 Logitech webcam.
The Akkord and Logitech cams kept my wife in focus as she moved in closer or stepped back, but the HP couldn't focus unless she sat perfectly still.
The Akkord was no match for the Logitech at capturing accurate colors, fine details and smooth movement, however. Although the liquid lens lives up to its promise, it can't make up for cheap camera guts.
Wait... the liquid inside the lens is water... but what if the temperature outside is lower than that of the freezing point of water? Does this mean that what's inside has a possibility of turning to ice? Does it follow that it would be useless if it does...? "confused"... (~.~)
Chipper, I doubt it's water. It's probably oil, or something that wouldn't evaporate into the camera's innards.
Hey orangesrhyme - the article says "a drop of water"... so it's either the info in the article is wrong.... or it ain't?!
Besides if it's oil... doesn't oil coagulate when exposed to subzero temperatures? Unless it's some kind of a special fluid or that gizmo is not meant for those conditions...?!
"still confused"... (~.~)
Don't use it in sub-freezing temperatures.
Look, chipper if u were to make something like that would u use water?
Even if the did they probably would put some type of chemical or mabey use antifreeze?
Or they might be saying water because its a liquid.
Actually the lenses are a combination of Oil and Water from what I could find. The water is used for it's conductive properties. Basically the electric charge changes the shape of the surface between the oil and water which is what changes the focus.
Evaporation shouldn't be an issue as long as the container it is in is water tight.
Odds are it wouldn't work in sub zero temperatures.
I would also expect that due to the changes in both the oil and water across different temperatures, the camera probably has an "Optimal Working Temperature" or something. After all, the oil and water interface might behave differently at 5 degrees Celsius compared to 40 degrees Celsius.
I'm reasonably sure that pure water doesn't freeze 32F, water only freezes if there is something for crystals to form on... maybe they use perfectly pure H20.
"When there are absolutely no impurities in water, water can be cooled to -38 degrees C. without freezing. This is known as supercooling of water."
i usually do my net meetings outside on the glaciers of the south pole. Ah.. i guess this product is a floozy.
Digital webcams gave the amateur astronomer community its introduction to non-film imaging a long time ago.
A super-fast focusing lens or even one that could selectively distort to correct the distortions of the light we get at ground level through the atmosphere is interesting. Some imaging cameras have an attachment that does this electro-mechanically with a tip-mirror and voice-coils.
One thing almost guaranteed to happen is freezing temperatures at the telescope so below-freezing use could be an issue to some [of us astro-geeks].
Maybe the conductive liquid is a water-alcohol mix.
This a cool step forward in tech. I think a few years back they talking about this never thought it would become reality.
This will soon be on all mobile (cell) phones, think of it, a phone with a zoom lens and 5+ MP camera. Who would need to carry around a compact camera again?
Easy solution for sub-zero use is to incorporate some sort of heating element. There's already electricity flowing to the water lens why not add some electric heating around it? Also to Eggman002's point about optimal working temp, this could also help if it was just chilly. Now on the side of it being too warm I don't know.
very interesting about the "supercooling".
click on this(or copy/paste) and it explains in full detail.