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Soft Robot. 2018 Aug 29. doi: 10.1089/soro.2017.0146. [Epub ahead of print]

A Robust Soft Lens for Tunable Camera Application Using Dielectric Elastomer Actuators.

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1 Smart UI/UX Device Research Section, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) , Daejeon, South Korea .
2 Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems , Stuttgart, Germany .
3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology , Daejeon, South Korea .


Developing tunable lenses, an expansion-based mechanism for dynamic focus adjustment can provide a larger focal length tuning range than a contraction-based mechanism. Here, we develop an expansion-tunable soft lens module using a disk-type dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA) that creates axially symmetric pulling forces on a soft lens. Adopted from a biological accommodation mechanism in human eyes, a soft lens at the annular center of a disk-type DEA pair is efficiently stretched to change the focal length in a highly reliable manner. A soft lens with a diameter of 3 mm shows a 65.7% change in the focal length (14.3-23.7 mm) under a dynamic driving voltage signal control. We confirm a quadratic relation between lens expansion and focal length that leads to large focal length tunability obtainable in the proposed approach. The fabricated tunable lens module can be used for soft, lightweight, and compact vision components in robots, drones, vehicles, and so on.


actuator; lens; mimic; tunable


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