Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have come up with this freaky adaptive liquid-lens that can capture 250 in-focus images per second. It's essentially droplets of water in a pair, trapped in a chamber and driven by a high-frequency sound wave to oscillate.
As the drops wiggle back and forth, surface tension changes the droplet's shapes, and thus the light-focusing performance each has: images are then captured by a standard sensor placed at the focal point behind the droplet assembly. Bespoke imaging software then coordinates with the in-focus moments and records the images, disposing of the out-of-focus ones.
Basically the system makes photos that're "almost always in focus - no matter how close or far away it is from an object" according to the project leader. And since the tech is cheap and relatively simple to implement, the science team thinks it's the sort of thing you'll see in mobile phones in the future, and possibly in UAVs and other gadgets with imaging requirements. [Physorg]