Security Into The Future

Mobile phones, fax machines, personal computers, PDA’s, the Internet and DVD players – these are just some of the items we have come to take for granted in our daily lives. Items which just twenty years ago, would have been the stuff of science fiction – in the same realm as laser guns and teleporters. In fact, given the rapid rate of technological develop which has occurred over the last twenty years, one cannot help but wonder where we might be ten years from now.

The security industry, like so many areas of society, is currently experiencing a massive transformation as many of the traditional analogue technologies with which we have become so familiar give way to the digital revolution. IP cameras and increasingly sophisticated digital recording systems have, in just three short years, rendered tape and coax based systems obsolete while innovations in the field of biometrics are threatening to replace even the most advanced access control and identification systems. In fact, wooden teether so rapidly is technology developing, that in many instances, new and cutting edge technology is often superseded by even newer and better technology before it even makes it off the drawing board. Given this state of affairs, we though it might be fun to take a speculative look at the sorts of new developments currently being researched with a view to better understanding what the security industry might look like in year 2015.

For the betterment of society they say, gizmos and gadgets are being made, but kept secret from the general public – that is, until now. In the new age of information, accessing he kinds of information once hidden from public view can now be found in the sprawling and never ending labyrinth that is the Internet – one need only know where to look.

Fluid Lenses

Imagine a fully functional varifocal CCTV lens, which incorporates no moving mechanical parts, is not digital and still has the ability to zoom. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this lens, however, is that it is roughly the size, height and width of typical shirt button. While it sounds amazing, that is exactly what researchers at Phillips Research are currently working on.

Genius in its design, the FLUID FOCUS SYSTEM mimics the human eye in almost every way, even down to the movement and texture of the lens. This amazing lens is able to zoom and focus thanks to a breakthrough process known as electrowetting.

Electrowetting is the process of manipulating the shape of the lens via the application of an electric field across a special hydrophobic coating on the outside of the lens.

The lens consists of two types of fluid, one fluid is electrically conductive while the other is non-conductive. When an electrical charge is introduced to the fluid in the lens, the fluid reacts, creating surface tension, which bends the sidewalls of the lens. This in effect allows the lens to be made either completely flat (no lens affect), or into a concave shape for zoom and focus.

Switching over the full focus range is obtained within a 10 milli-second period. The lens is DC powered, consuming an amazing.01 of a volt near zero usage, the lens itself is shock proof and able to be operated over a massive temperature range and has also been tested executing over 1 million focusing operations with out any optical loss at all.

The Fluid Focus Lens might play a major role in the development of future generation of miniaturized digital cameras and security cameras – especially the hidden kind. Schematic cross section of the Fluid Focus lens principle.

When a voltage is applied, charges accumulate in the glass wall electrode and opposite charges collect near the solid/liquid interface in the conducting liquid. The resulting electrostatic force lowers the solid/liquid interfacial tension and with that the contact angle and hence the focal distance of the lens. (C) To (E) Shapes of a 6-mm diameter lens taken at different applied voltages.


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