Shapeshifting Mobile Camera Lens Inspired by Human Eye

By copying the human eye, scientists have developed what may be the world’s smallest autofocus lens for mobile devices.

Apple, Nokia, Samsung and LG are among the companies already interested in the device because it promises to be faster and less power-hungry than conventional mobile device cameras, researchers say.

The majority of mobile phones today include built-in cameras, but these are not generally equipped with autofocus like the majority of standalone cameras. This is because autofocus requires these cameras to move their lenses back and forth until they correctly focus on an object, which can prove a slow and energy-draining process, and energy is a paramount concern for mobile devices.

Instead of focusing cameras by using motors to move lenses, researchers have now hit upon having cameras that focus just like the human eye — by changing the shape of the lens. Human eyes squeeze or relax their flexible lenses to alter their curvature and thus how near or far they are focused.

 

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