Fluid device could find its way into pocket-sized gadgets.

Researchers have unveiled a fluid lens that can alter its focusing power at the flick of an electric switch. The device could find use in hand-held computers and camera telephones, its inventors say.

The FluidFocus lens…

as it is called, could speed the development of ever-tinier gadgets, says Koen Joosse, an engineer at Philips Research in Endhoven, the Netherlands. “There is always demand for smaller and smaller lenses,” he says.

It will be a year or two before the lens can be manufactured in wholesale numbers, Joosse adds. Its cost is still uncertain – that will depend on the application and the overall numbers produced, he says. Philips Research unveiled the device at this week’s CeBIT technology trade fair in Hanover, Germany.

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