Liquid Lens

As stated by Cognex, “The liquid lens module is an electronically controllable variable focus system.

Cognex was the first company to leverage liquid lens technology within both fixed-mount and handheld industrial barcode readers.

The liquid lens uses two iso-density liquids, oil as an insulator and water as a conductor. The variation of voltage leads to a change of curvature of the liquid-liquid interface, which in turn leads to a change of the focal length of the installed optical lens.”

Liquid Lens Graphic

This is a diagram of a liquid lens set-up:

Liquid Lens Graphic 3


There are also some key advantages to using liquid lenses:

  • “Very fast image capture
  • Very fast Auto Focus mode (non sequential algorithms)
  • Capture of multiple images at different focus positions, for objects from infinity to a few cm
  • Reconstruction of a 3D map from captured depth information
  • Correction of handshake movements in real time
  • Super-resolution”


Liquid Lens Graphic 2

(List/Picture Source:

As soon as I saw the term “liquid lens,” I was intrigued. Digital cameras are very expensive pieces of equipment, and the elements that make up these cameras are also pricey. The lens of a camera is a liability when travelling and transporting due to it being made of breakable material. However, with a liquid lens, there would be less risk when using the camera or moving it from place to place. I am looking forward to seeing how much more attention this innovation receives.

Author: jbarlow


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