Rifle Scope's Adaptive Lens Holds Promise for Other Applications

by | Oct 28, 2014


The RAZAR adaptive zoom scope, developed by Sandia National Laboratories, changes the focal lengths of two or more lenses by varying the curvature of the lenses' surfaces.

Optical engineers at Sandia National Laboratories designed and developed a new adaptive electronic rifle scope that can quickly focus on new targets with the push of a button.

The Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR) uses an adaptive approach where the curvature of two or more lenses is changed without consuming much power. A piezoelectric actuator changes the flex of the lenses, similar to the way human eye muscles change the curvature of our eyes to focus near or far.

The researchers were responding to a 2006 Department of Defense request. Having found no commercially available solutions, they developed new tools and a manufacturing process, including computer models that helped them trace the path of light through optical systems.

This new zoom technology holds promise for other imaging applications, such as closed-circuit security camera monitoring, night vision, medical imaging, binoculars, spy scopes, cell phone cameras and perhaps even imaging cameras on unmanned aircraft or even satellites.

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