When a drop of rain in the eye interferes with a human’s view of the world, he simply blinks and the offending drop is removed. It’s not so simple for a camera lens. Over the years, a number of devices have been employed to enable a camera to “blink.” David Lean adapted a spinning window from the maritime world for the film “Ryan’s Daughter.” Over the years, a plethora of devices have explored variations on that technique. They tend to be bulky and often noisy.
Pickfair Institute is exploring an approach that may solve for some of the shortcomings of the prior technology. We envision a cylindrical voice coil large enough to surround the body of the lens. Across the front face of the coil we affix a thin transparent membrane, or pellicle. The coil is driven to an ultrasonic vibration (and thus well beyond hearing) in which state standing waves will form in the membrane, effectively (we believe) repelling water, or anything, from adhering to the membrane.