Camera bugs love zoom lenses, but they tend to be too bulky for cell phones and many miniature digital cameras. A research team at the University of Central Florida (U.C.F.) led by optics professors Shin-Tson Wu and Hongwen Ren has developed zoom lenses that can be dramatically smaller than conventional zooms. Whereas traditional zoom lenses move sets of lens elements mechanically to adjust focal length (and therefore magnification), the group’s adaptive lenses alter focal length nearly instantaneously without changing the position of the lenses.