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Yes, I think I used an iPad for that particular shot, so it must have auto-focused on the area inside the lens. And I haven't done any formal measurements on the lens as of yet, but that could be an interesting next step!
Yes, they're definitely based in large part on that project!And AFAIK, lenses in the eye work similarly, except that the amount of fluid stays the same, only the shape is changed by the surrounding muscle...
Yes, this depends in part on how taut the silicone membrane is pre-stretched and how much oil (read: how large the lens is) is inside of it. And being horizontal definitely helps, though I imagine it would lead to a different form of distortion...
DIY Adjustable Focal Length...View Instructable »