The Latest German-Designed Imaging System

Have You Heard About The Newest Imaging System Designed By The German Engineers? 

Telescopes and microscopes are optical devices which, for centuries have relied on sliding lenses to magnify and to focus. In order to fine-tune the received amount of light, conventional devices use mechanisms like blades that function like modifiable aperture in cameras.

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Unconventional Methods To Focus Light

The medical field continues their demand for really smaller imaging systems. And medical researchers are putting their efforts in finding ways to create unconventional methods to focus light. It is this vision that has driven a group of engineers from the University of Freiburg in Germany to build a new type of imaging system – one that draws inspiration from the relative mechanical simplicity of the human eye.

New microscopes and imaging instruments intended for the medical field and research may one day be developed and produced from this technology. Devices with miniature lamps to detect early signs of skin cancer or early visual clues for food spoilage may soon be made available in the market. 

The New German-Designed Imaging System

The innovative imaging system designed and built by the German engineers is the first type to exhibit imaging capabilities of some of the unusual focusing techniques through the replacement of conventional and solid lenses with a malleable lens and a liquid component that is iris-like. The device focuses an efficient amount of light in an almost exact way as its biological counterpart in people. Said imaging system was described in a paper featured in the Optic Letters – a journal of The Optical Society (OSA). 

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In Contrast With The Human Imaging Process

The relatively simple mechanical apparatus is in direct contrast with the complex imaging process occurring in the human brain and the eye. Muscles deform like a stretchable lens which would cause the distance between the lens and the point at which the light rays are made to focus, to change. This is one of the complex parts of the image processing in the brain. Depending on the amount of light that can penetrate through the lens the eye’s iris opens and closes to control the incoming light.

Two Imaging Elements

The German engineers used two imaging elements – a lens they made of silicone enclosed by numerous miniaturized motors that allow the adjustment of focus by deforming the lens. It’s much like squeezing and stretching your eyes when adjusting its focal length. An iris-like component is included in front of the lens. This component has two liquids contained in one chamber. The opaque liquid envelopes the clear liquid and they form a kind of black-inked donut. The clear liquid is oil-based while the dark liquid is water based. With both liquids having exactly the same density, they stay in place even if you rotate or shake the device.


When electrical voltage is applied to these liquids, some of their properties are changed such as the way a droplet beads up on a surface. Such behavior is called electrowetting and it allows the researchers to manipulate the liquid. The dark ring is expanded and contracted to let in more or less light through the clear liquid at the center.

State-of-the-Art Lens

While this new device may not be considered as good as the other topnotch conventional visual imaging systems, it can be considered state-of-the-art for a lens that can be tuned. The device is able to achieve incredibly high quality images with its ability to image things that a normal person wouldn’t be able to see.



  Care to share your view on this new innovation?

5 thoughts on “The Latest German-Designed Imaging System

  1. Bobby says on June 22, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    The business of optics and imaging systems is a complex area. This technology has come a long way. From the day 3M made the first thermo-fax machine for transmitting images, to the redefining of advertising with the first digitally printed, wall-sized graphics. Other companies have invented multilayer optical films that create crisp, vibrant images for electronic displays and counterfeit-resistant security marks. It is amazing how far this technology has come. Now it seems we are seeing the beginning of nano technology.

  2. Ella says on June 23, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    This is an amazing post and the Germans really have found something that sounds like it will make better images and faster images then the most costly imaging device we have in the US. I can’t wait to see what the Chinese have thought because they are light years ahead of the rest of us it seems. Keep up the good work this is a great post.

  3. Randy says on June 24, 2014 at 11:59 am

    I know this may not be on topic here but I have been really amazed at the images we can capture and the clarity of those images jus in the last ten years or so. I am mainly talking about the 3D images we can now get of an unborn baby in a sonogram type setting. That is amazing technology and if they can do that they can do anything.

  4. Jerry says on June 25, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I have to say that I was reading this article and it never crossed my mind what Randy was saying about the technology to take certain kinds of images these days. The fact that they are improving on that even makes me think that this is going to be a major breakthrough for all imaging technology every where. Keep up the good work this is a great post.

  5. Sharon says on June 27, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Are they saying that this is a better imaging system then what we have in place already in the US? If so I am not surprised it seems like we always use other people’s ideas and try to make them our own after they have been in use for some time in other countries. Very good post though great to know what is coming down the pike.

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