A patent filed with the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) could result in Huawei being the first to market with a phone sporting a “liquid lens” camera.
Indeed, we might even see the technology debut on the Huawei P50 next year.
Liquid lens technology uses optical grade liquid inside a cell structure rather than optical glass. This is more fluid, so when adjusted mechanically or electronically, it can completely change its shape, and therefore alter focal distance more effectively and speedily.
Modules that use liquid lens tech can therefore greatly shorten the response time when focusing, when compared to those using conventional lenses. It is also a more effective technology for optical image stabilisation.
It’s not a new technology, having been used in manufacturing machinery, microscopes and even the camera systems on professional-grade drones before, but its not yet appeared in a phone camera.
Huawei’s patent shows a camera module made up of several parts, including a liquid lens. It states that the adoption of the tech will indeed improve the camera’s autofocus and image stabilisation properties.
It is also more stable: “This structure [is] used to move the liquid lens to achieve autofocus and optical image stabilization. Moreover, the solution also improves the stability and reliability of the motor under conditions such as impact or drop,” it says in the patent document, as reposted by Huawei Central.
The patent was initially filed on Christmas Day 2019, and approved on 7 April 2020.
Hopefully that means we’ll see the tech used in a product in the next year.