A liquid lens that uses electrical current and the natural properties of liquids to act like a magnifying glass. The lens' light weight, compact size and excellent performance make it an ideal choice for use in small devices such as scanners and small cameras.
French physicist Bruno Berge reprised research on a physical phenomena known as ‘electrowetting', discovered at the turn of the 20th century. Berge realised the potential of this phenomena in deploying the technology as a lens. His invention employs two non-mixing liquids whose interface curves when exposed to electricity, thus changing the focus of the lens. The ‘liquid lens' is now sold by the company he founded, Varioptic S.A.
Liquid lens technology has promising applications in a wide range of products. In addition to industrial optical devices, consumers might soon see liquid lenses integrated into their tablet computers and smartphones. Berge's invention is also suitable for more niche optical devices such as lasers, endoscopes, and ophthalmology devices.
Varioptic was acquired by Parrot S.A. in May, 2011. With approximately half a million units shipped over the last two years, Varioptic employs close to 30 people, with a projected earn-out of €3 million in 2014.