Liquid zoom lens
Samsung has filed a patent for a new type of liquid lens that provides not only autofocus capability, but also true optical zoom capability. Liquid lenses, with their small form factor and lack of motors or moving parts, are ideal for use in compact cameras, phones, and other mobile devices. Where a conventional liquid lens may provide only autofocus, Samsung's design uses two separately controllable liquid lenses in a single array to provide both functions.
A liquid lens is basically a small amount of one or two types of fluid in a small chamber. Similar to a drop of dew magnifying a blade of grass, the fluid acts on light passing through the chamber. Using liquids that don't mix (such as oil and water) allows the lens to contain optical layers. The shape of the fluid layers can be changed using a small electric current, thereby changing the optics of the liquid lens.
Source: gizmag.comAdded: 15 November 2010