For Mobile Phone CamerasVICTOR, N.Y., Feb. 3, 2006 -- New Scale Technologies Inc. demonstrated a new optical zoom module for mobile phone cameras at Photonics West 2006. The miniature module uses the company's Squiggle motor to achieve lens travel greater than 4 mm with better than 10 micrometer closed-loop repeatability and validates the piezoelectric motor technology’s ability to deliver both optical zoom and auto focus movement in a tiny package for next-generation handsets, the company said.
Using the newest and smallest Squiggle motor (a 2.4 mm x 2.4 mm x 6.5 mm linear motor), this reference design is an integrated motion subsystem incorporating the piezoelectric motor, a smooth linear guide, preload springs, limit stops and a position sensor. Computer control is demonstrated using an OEM motor controller that is smaller than a credit card. Single-chip controllers are under development by leading ASIC manufacturers and will be available by the second quarter of 2006, according to New Scale.
The demonstration module’s cross section of 10 mm x 12 mm is only slightly larger than the 8-mm-diameter lens. The module's 18-mm length reflects the typical optical and physical properties of the lens elements and image sensor. The final dimensions of a customer’s module will be determined by the customer's choice of optics and image sensor. Squiggle ultrasonic motor technology can scale to any camera design.
David Henderson, president of New Scale, said, "As phone cameras designers move to 3- and 5-megapixel (MP) CMOS image sensors, both auto focus and optical zoom will be required to deliver the image quality they want from those sensors. Our tiny Squiggle motor is uniquely suited to provide both the range and repeatability required for this in a tiny package."
Phone cameras with greater than 2-MP CMOS image sensors are currently in production, using auto focus mechanisms driven by short-stroke (less than 0.5 mm) piezoelectric actuators, voice coils or stepper motors. With higher resolution sensors, both auto focus and optical zoom are highly desirable but difficult to achieve without significantly increasing the phone size. A combined auto focus/optical zoom module requires at least two sets of moving optics with greater than 4 mm of stroke (zoom) and coordinated movement with better than 10 micrometer repeatability.
Compared to stepper motors and voice coils, SQUIGGLE motor-based modules scale to the smallest possible size, independent of the optics and image sensor. The simple and low-cost design eliminates gears, cams and barrels and provides better robustness to mechanical shock and temperature extremes. Squiggle motors have higher efficiency and longer battery life, holding the lens in position with zero power and high rigidity.
The Squiggle motor uses a threaded nut and screw to create precise linear movement in a very small space. Piezoelectric ceramics create ultrasonic vibrations in the nut, causing the screw to rotate and translate with high precision. Squiggle motors are used in nanotechnology research, microelectronics, optics, lasers, biotechnology, medical devices, aerospace and defense, fluid control, and office/consumer products including mobile phone cameras.
For more information, visit: newscaletech.com; e-mail: sales@NewScaleTech.com
New Scale Technologies Inc.
10 East Main Street, Suite 301
Victor, NY 14564
Phone: (585) 924-4450
Fax: (585) 924-4468