Creative Sensors is increasing production of variable focus liquid lenses for zoom-enable camera phones, from 100,000 liquid lenses per month at the end of 2006, to 1 million units per month by the end of 2007. The lenses are being manufactured in Wuxi, China.
The developer of the liquid lens, French company Varioptic, agreed a production deal with Creative Sensor in August 2006.
Liquid lenses eliminate the need for moving parts in zoom and autofocus systems. While they are already utilised in other devices such as webcams, further development to reduce price and size has been necessary to facilitate their inclusion in camera phones.
Varioptic’s new variable focus lenses are 7.75 millimeters in diameter. The unit price is â‚¬1.5 for volume quantities. This is expected to drop to â‚¬1 by the end of year 2007.
Varioptic, which has several competitors in liquid lens technology, including Philips, is leading the way with product introduction and manufacturing. Lenses being manufactured by Creative Sensors in Wuxi include Varioptic’s new 7.75-mm lenses for camera phones and also previously introduced 10.5-mm devices, for use in webcams, barcode readers and medical equipment.
Varoptic signed an agreement with Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co. Ltd. in 2004 to allow integration of its liquid lenses in camera modules, in the expectation that this would lead to volume production. Varioptic signed with Avago Technologies in October allowing both companies to market a camera based on Avago’s 2MP image sensor and liquid lenses from Varoptic.