Transmissive liquid lenses use two immiscible fluids, each with a different refractive index, to create variable-focus lenses of high optical quality as small as 10 µm (microns). The two fluids, one an electrically conducting aqueous solution and one a nonconducting oil, are contained in a short tube with transparent end caps. The interior of the tube and one of the caps is coated with a hydrophobic material, which causes the aqueous solution to form a hemispherical lens-shaped mass at the opposite end of the tube. The shape of the lens is adjusted by applying a dc voltage across the coating to decrease its water repellency in a process called electrowetting. Electrowetting adjusts the liquid's surface tension, changing the radius of curvature in the meniscus and thereby the focal length of the lens. Only 0.1 microjoules (µJ) are needed for each change of focus. Extremely shock and vibration resistant, such a lens is capable of seamless transition from convex (convergent) to concave (divergent) lens shapes with switching times measured in milliseconds. In addition, the boundary between the two fluids forms an extremely smooth and regular surface, making liquid lenses of a quality suitable for endoscopic medical imaging and other space-constrained high-resolution applications like microcameras and fiber-optic telecommmunications systems.
Interesting stuff. I think if this technology can be successfully implemented in consumer (as opposed to industrial and scientific) camera lenses then it would render the the current lens system obsolete. If I understand it correctly the lens would be lighter, shorter, faster and much less expensive all while increasing resolving power.
This is a link for a liquid lens manufactured by varioptic which also develop liquid lenses:
It seems that temperature variations are not a big problem since the lens can operate between -20 to 60˚C although I'm not sure if quality will still be the same at all temperatures.