This smartphone camera uses liquid crystal and electrical currents to focus fast and efficiently

by Gannon Burgett

posted Monday, October 5, 2015 at 5:34 PM EDT

If you think liquid crystal is only for displays, think again. Photography startup LensVector has announced its liquid crystal autofocus lens is officially out on the market via a partnership with Vital Mobile and Sunny Opotech.

The lens, which goes by the name LV4522, uses patented technology to rid mobile cameras of the need for complicated and fragile motors and gears to focus the image. Instead, the lens applies an electrical current to liquid crystal molecules sandwiched between glass elements to alter the refractive index.

The advantage of this technology is a smaller and more robust camera that uses roughly 80% less power than a traditional mechanical lens. Not only is it tiny and tough, it’s also cheaper to manufacture and easier for device manufacturers to implement into smartphones than traditional mechanical autofocus systems.

Illustration of how an electrical current alters the liquid crystal

According to the press release, LensVector’s LV4522 camera module will make its way into smartphones sold in Taiwan, Bangladesh and India under the Karbonn brand name.

(via Image Sensors World)