Sample_Business_Concept_and TechnologyTranslationTablex

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18 Οκτ 2013 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

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Fast Focusing Via An Oscillating Liquid Lens

Group Members:

Sujal Desai

Sheng Lu

Atif Abdul Majeed

Saralise Ming

The development of the liquid lens has been known for about a decade but
the fast focusing of water droplets by use of sound waves is the novel idea
presented by Hirsa. This technology is very small and lightweight as compared
with the existing plastic/gla
ss lens and it has a lower demand for power as
compared with other liquid lens products currently available on the market.

Hirsa has already proven its capabilities in camera applications and the
invention is already attracting attention by the cell ph
one camera industry; mainly
from Samsung. This is potentially the biggest application of the liquid lens
technology. However, there are two major disadvantages of this technology are the
loss of light through the liquid medium and the low resolution. At th
is point, the
technology needs to be fine tuned before commercialization should begin. Hirsa
has already acknowledged these disadvantages and expects to devise methods of
coping with them.

Introduction / Your Business Concept

an elevator pitch

ction of Business Concept and Problem It Addresses

The development of the liquid lens has been known for a while but the fast focusing of
water droplets by use of sound waves is the novel idea presented by Hirsa. This type of
technology would be applicable

to cell phone cameras

and other devices requiring a small

Two companies (Philips and Varioptic) have already developed products that use a liquid
lens concept.
Varioptic, a French company has invested on this technology for the past ten years.
As a result, it is able to manufacture liquid lens for commercial use. In collaboration with Seiko,
half million lens per month are being produced since September, 2008. Th
e main clients
presently for liquid lens are miniature camera phones, in which power consumption is a major
concern. The process involved in their technology requires between 10s to 100 volts. On the
other hand, Hirsa’s invention requires a couple of milli

Hirsa has already proven the invention’s camera
In tests,

camera was
able to take 250 images per second, at varying focal lengths. He envisions a camera that could
instantly capture tens of images with different focal lengths,

and then use simple image
software to determine the


Strategic Drivers, Market Attractiveness and Potential Economic Value:

In short, the novelty of this technique lies in the creation of a high speed, adjustable lens
using a liqu
id lens and an oscillating device. Its main advantages over its existing competing
technologies are high speed and low power requirements.




Inexpensive as the lens is made up of a drop of liquid


More resistant to
accidental damage as there is nothing to break

Power Consumption

High efficiency, Requires a few milliVolts


Very fast, claimed to be able to capture 100,000 frames per second

Table One:
Key Features of Technology and

Cell phone companies and other imaging companies may value this technology. Samsung
has already demonstrated interest in this fast focusing liquid lens. This approach is exciting
compared to others because of its
focusing time through an inexpens
ive oscillating

The competition would be primarily similar liquid lens products and glass/plastic lens.
However, Hirsa’s technology has a significant advantage since it focuses faster than glass/plastic
lens and requires less power than other liqu
id lens. The two major disadvantages of this
technology are the
loss of light

through the liquid medium and the
low resolution

Body of Report



The claims of the IP and inventor for novelty and key attributes of the technology

Claims of Invention
and Key Attributes of the

Reasons for claims/attributes
being benefits and who would
value this benefit.


A key feature of this new technique is that the water
stays in constant

unchanging contact with the surface,
thus requiring less energy to manipulate.

Presently, cell phones consume a lot of
power while shooting a video or
clicking a picture. Most of the power is
consumed during focusing the object.


There is no need for high

voltages or other exotic
activation mechanisms. This means that this new lens
may be used and integrated into any number of
different applications and devices
, making many
applications feasible.

Low voltage requirement is attributed
to the method of creat
ing oscillating
through sound. Potential applications
including cell phones, web cams and
satellite imaging will be the ones the
most benefited.


The great benefit of this new device is that you can
create a new optical system from a liquid lens and a
small speaker
, which along with its driving circuit can
be easily manufactured in a small and lightweight

Presently most of the cell phone
camera packaging is primitive and
creates a bulky look. The tiny camera
can fit in a few square mm area on a

cell phone.


ith small enough apertures and properly selected
liquid volumes,
it is

able to create a lens that oscillates
as fast as 100,000 times per second

and still be able
to effectively capture those images.

Fast focusing lens is very important in
shooting different frames and then
integrating them to make a video or
panoramic picture. For example: in the
movie Matrix some of the shots were
shot at 108 frames/sec speed.


The liquid lens that captures 250
pictures per second
and requires considerably less energy to operate than
competing technologies.

The contraction and expansion of the
liquid take considerably less energy
than moving a mechanical lens. Cell
phone user can greatly be benefited
from it.


The lens is simpler than earlier liquid lens designs that
use a combination of water (or some other fluid
capable of conducting electricity) and oil as well as an
electric charge. By using water, sound and surface
tension to adjust the focus

The technolog
y enables the lens to be
packaged in a tiny space, takes only
fraction of energy needed in
competitive lens and simple
mechanism will benefit cell phone
users and manufacturers the most.

Table Two: Claims of the Invention and Who Should Value Such Claims

A Computer Science team would be necessary to develop software that’s more compatible with
this technology. The software that is currently being used is not specific to the technology.




Possible Applications of Fast Focusing Via Oscillating Liqu
id Lens

Cell phone camera

third of the world population is expected to own a camera phone and the global camera
phone handset revenues are expected to grow over $120 Billion by 2011. Cameras in phone
presently have lower speed and relatively high c
ost. The oscillating liquid lens technology
can solve these problems though resolution in low in the present state however inventors are
working on it and are very optimistic about devising a solution to the problem.

Web cameras

alone and
integrated to laptops

WebCam markets at $1.2 billion in 2006 are anticipated to reach $6.2 billion by 2013.

100 listed Logitech, one of the leading providers of computer peripherals
globally, in its March 2008 annual report filed with SEC asserte
d, “
Our competitors for PC
Web cameras include Microsoft, Creative Labs and Philips. We are

pricing practices

and promotions on a worldwide basis, which have
impacted our revenues
and margins
” This oscillating liquid lens can provide great cost advantage to firms such as
Logitech to help them fend off competition.

Machine vision

Machine vision systems are programmed to perform narrowly defined tasks such as counting
objects on a conveyor,
reading serial numbers, and searching for surface defects.
Manufacturers favor machine vision systems for visual inspections that require
, 24
hour operation, and/or
repeatability of measurements
. Frequently
these tasks extend

roles traditionally occupied by human beings whose degree of failure is
classically high through distraction, illness and circumstance. The Machine Vision
use digital cameras, smart cameras and image processing software to perform inspections

lar to human beings however many times
lacks the speed


needed in
certain applications

The oscillating liquid lens already provides solution to the camera speed
problem. Once the resolutions criterion is met, Machine Vision systems’ camera c
an be one
of the potential applications.

Real time satellite imaging

A report of Homeland Security Research Corporation 2007
2011 U.S. Homeland Security
(Government & Private) Market Outlook forecasts that the U.S. Homeland Security markets,
driven by t
he government and private sectors, will grow from about $24 Billion in 2006 to
$35 Billion by 2011.

The satellite imaging needs very high speed, high resolution and wide
focus cameras. The oscillating liquid lens technology provides high speed and when use
with other lenses in series can also achieve wide focus range. Again once low resolution
problem is solved; the oscillating liquid lens could tape this huge market.

Other applications

The oscillating liquid lens cameras could be used in Automobiles,

displays, computers,
photonic professional applications, high speed photography,
autonomous robots
, u
and micr
o air vehicles used for defense,

homeland security applications

and medical imaging


Possible Changes That Could Be

In terms of commercialization, some technical uncertainties can be identified. These include:
Freezing issues

the water droplets may freeze. If an impurity is added to the water, this will
lower the freezing temperature. However, more research
has to be done to determine the
impurity to prevent altering the effects of the main liquid.

Limitations of the technology:

Stein Kuiper, the Philips researcher who developed the electrowetting technique, notes
that the researchers' ideas seem original,

but he sees drawbacks to the approach. Since the
lens is continuously moving, this means that "a significant amount of light is lost, as most
of the time the object is out of focus."

Additionally, these early results are not high resolution, notes Yuhwa
Lo, a professor of
electrical engineering at the University of California, San Diego. "Even the low
cameras have a pretty strict resolution requirement," he says. However, he says that at
this stage, the lens could be good for other optical application
s, such as simply focusing
beams of light instead of taking high
quality pictures.

This information suggests that more work still needs to be done on the invention. Improvements
may be possible if experiments are carried out using different liquid mediums

to determine
which is the most effective.


Categorization and Prioritization of the Applications




Commercial Cameras

Cell Phone Industry

Miniature Camera Phones

expected to hit the mark of 1 billion
by 2010.

Web cameras

WebCam markets at $1.2 billion in
2006 are anticipated to reach $6.2
billion by 2013.

Machine Vision

Require high
speed, high
magnification, 24
hour operation,
and/or repeatability of

Real Time Satellite Imaging

Needs very high speed,
high resolution
and wide focus cameras.

Table Three: Categorization and Prioritization of A

The cell phone camera is the number one priority because this industry is expected to have high
revenues in the new few years.
As previously noted, o
third of the world population is
expected to own a camera phone and the global camera phone handset revenues are expected to
grow over $120 Billion by 2011.

Samsung has already expressed its interest in Hirsa’s work. This technology aligns beautifully

with the vision of Samsung. SEM is hoping to make the cell phone’s camera equivalent to a
conventional digital camera.

An excerpt from the Samsung website:

Samsung Electro
Mechanics (SEM) is a specialist in camera modules for mobile phones and
company is now aggressively working to increase its world market share. SEM recently
completed a full lineup of advanced versions with high resolution, auto
focus, and optical zoom
options to accommodate various customer needs in a rapidly growing camera p
hone market.
SEM is particularly skilled at designing and producing lenses and ISPs for assembly in modular

Thus, the company is able to proactively meet mobile phone manufacturers’
requirements for diverse designs with new functions.

ion / Conclusion

Description of results

The findings of this research paper showed that liquid lens technology has been around for at
least a decade. Hirsa’s invention has improved the original idea by reducing the power
consumption required for the funct
ioning the liquid lens technology. Hirsa’s discovered that
most energy efficient way of oscillating the water droplets that provide the fast focusing would
be via the use of sound waves through a tiny speaker. This concept significantly decreases the
factor since the liquid medium is mainly composed of water and the power demand is vastly

This Business Concept is a great idea and should be followed through because it

s more power

efficient and takes pictures faster. These features make it
suitable for

fast photography
applications which work at very low powers. However,

not until certain adjustments have been
made. These adjustments include the following setbacks:

Invention n
eeds thorough testing and advancement before could be put into pr

Packaging issues

arise because it would r
equire a shock proof anti
jitter mechanism


issues arise because the

liquid may evaporate at very high temperatures and

freeze at low temperatures.

Micro production

facilities not available

at RPI

The first three issues can be resolved through further experimental testing. Experimental testing
should also be used to devise a way of improving the resolution of the pictures. Hirsa has already
acknowledged these issues and is willing to cont
inue working on his invention in order to
improve its commercial quality.


The recommendations would be:

he inventor


continue working on improving the
of his invention.

Commercialization setbacks need to be addressed
such as packaging techniques for
robustness and freezing and evaporation issues.

Ways to mass produce this technology needs to be addressed possibly through
collaboration with commercialization companies or other research institutes.

What Did We Learn:

From this research paper, we learned the following:

Inventions are very time consuming to complete and there’s always the possibility that revisions
have to be made.

Not all inventions can be commercialized due to costs and other reasons.

face many problems in terms of funding for both research and technological

Inventors do not possess the skills required for commercializing their technologies. Therefore,
they are faced with the issue of finding partners that are willing to h
andle commercializing tasks.

RPI has a vast amount of technologies that need some more attention from business people.

The incubator program has massive potential that is currently not being realized.

Appendix One:

A call report of your interviews


What inspired you to work on this project

Who provided
your main sources of funding in this project?

Did you find it hard to convince National Science Foundation abou
t the viability of this

What are the possible applications


this tech

What are the major technological issues that you are facing?

What is the resolution at which you have been able to take the pictures?

Do you think that at present state( resolution, quality, speed) this technology offers an edge
over competing tec
hnologies or does it offer to provide that edge in future?

What value does this novel technique add to the imaging industry?

Have the funding agencies shown interest in future funding as well?

Now that a new science has been discovered and technological questions need to be
addressed, how far do you want
to get involved in this project?

Have you started looking for industrial partnerships

What facilities does RPI offer if you want to go ahead w
ith this project within RPI. What
dditional resources you require?

What major challenges do you for
see ahead?

Which in your view are the competitor technologies for your technique?

Appendix Two:

escription of
nvention and
How It W

This tech
nology demonstrate a harmonically driven liquid lens with an oscillating focal length,
which can capture any image plane in a given range by grabbing the image ‘in sync’ with the
oscillations. The liquid lens is constructed by coupling two droplets through

a cylindrical hole
with pinned contact lines against a hydrophobic substrate. The change in the curvature of the
droplets induces a change in focal length. The opposing curvature of droplets creates a spring
like force that makes the system a natural osci
llator, as it acts on its mass. By oscillating the lens,
the task of changing the focal length is effectively transformed from a mechanical manipulation
to the electronic timing of image capture, which can be achieved much more quickly. As image
capture ti
ming is electronic, it can be achieved rapidly. However, the frequency response of the
lens is only limited by its resonant frequency. Theoretical predictions demonstrate that a faster
response is possible with smaller lenses. High
fidelity imaging is demo
nstrated at 100 Hz for a
scale liquid lens, which is driven at resonance and features pinned contact lines. At
the resonant frequency, the motion can be sustained with very little energy input. The electronic
control is much faster than mechanic
al manipulation of a static droplet.

Picture Showing: Droplets Oscillating Through Cylindrical Hole

Appendix T

escription of Traditional Mechanical Len
s and How They A


is an

device which


, converging or diverging the
beam. Traditionally lenses are made of


. It is the most important part
of the camera. Its main function in the camera is to focus/ redirect the incoming light in front of
the imaging film. Focal len
gth is the distance from the center of the lens to the principal focal
points. It measures how strongly a lens converges or diverges light. Typically focal length has
been adjusted manually moving the lens in the camera to and forth and then taking the pic
ture at
the desired focus, based upon the judgment of the photographer. Advances in technology have
also resulted in auto focusing technique.

is a feature of modern

systems that
allows them to obtain (and in some systems to also continuou
sly maintain) correct

on a
subject, instead of requiring the operator to adjust focus manually. The speed and accuracy of
lens optical auto focusing is now often more precise than what can be achieved
manually with an ordinary viewfinder.

Most multi
sensor autofocus cameras allow manual
selection of the active sensor, and many offer automatic selection of the sensor using

which attempt to discern the location of the subject. The data collected from autofocus sensors is
then used

to control an

system that adjusts the focus of the optical system.

Picture Showing: Traditional Camera Lens


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Power Liquid Lens.

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Technology Review:

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Liquid Lenses Promise Picture
Perfect Phone Cam

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Varioptic and Seiko to Bring Liquid Lenses to Cellphones, Finally.

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Scientists in Singapore Create Liquid Lens that Zooms Without

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Unknown, A. (2008).
Bringing the Digital Camera Feel to Mobile Phones .

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Unknown, A. (2008, September 22).
Controlling Light With Sound: New Liquid Camera Lens as
Simple As Water and Vibration.

Retrieved November 25, 2008, from RPI:

own, A. (2007, July 1).
Global revenues of camera phones to increase to more than $120
million by 2011.

Retrieved November 26, 2008, from Encyclopedia:

Unknown, A. (2008, March 31).

Retrieved November 26,
2008, from US SEC:

Unknown, A. (2008).
Power Liquid Lens: An adjustable
focus lens made of two drops of
er could be used in small cameras.

Retrieved November 24, 2008, from 4engr:

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Always In Focus.

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