With nearly two billion mobile phones and 800 million digital cameras shipping each year, there has been an ongoing need for faster focus, rapid picture taking, and continuous auto focus for clearer video capture. A key motion technology that has emerged in these applications is piezoelectric micro motors, which, coupled with innovative micro-mechanical design, is minimizing lens tilt and enabling extremely high-precision imaging in micro-camera formats.
New Scale Technologies offers a micro-motion design solution for phones and cameras based on its piezoelectric motor, which uses an ultrasonically vibrating beam. This approach uses custom, ultra-thin, auto focus actuators that combine a motor with a linear guide mechanism to create an autofocus lens module. The beam is oriented perpendicular to the optical axis, and contacts the lens at two points to maximize stability and driving force.
The technology uses a unique vibration mode that optimizes resolution and speed for the autofocus function. The actuator assembly is only 3.8 mm high, and is thinner than the lens assembly, so the lens, not the motor, determines the module size.
New Scale’s patented lens actuator module measures less than 9 mm x 9 mm x 4 mm and has extremely low lens tilt of less than 0.1 degree, for high-resolution imaging in ultra-compact cameras. (Source: New Scale Technologies)
New Scale Technologies, Inc. has received a U.S. patent for its UTAF (ultra-thin auto focus) piezoelectric lens actuator module measuring only 8.5 x 8.5 x 3.8 mm. The UTAF actuator module integrates New Scale’s UTAF piezoelectric beam motor with a drive IC and position sensor IC for closed-loop motion control. Patent # 8,279,541 extends coverage to the module’s precision pin bushing system that moves the lens in a straight line with dynamic tilt of less than 0.1 degree. This low tilt is a critical requirement for high-megapixel cameras and imaging systems. The patent also covers a unique flexure preload or magnetic preload system that produces substantially zero additional friction in the bearing guide, irrespective of the location along the optical centerline. This allows the module to lift a mass at least three times greater than the typical lens mass of 0.25 grams, insuring a low sensitivity to gravity orientation for the camera system…
“This precision lens actuator module enables development of high-performance vision systems that fit into smaller and smaller form factors -- from thin smart phones, to ultra-compact devices for medical imaging and diagnostics,” said David Henderson, CTO and co-CEO of New Scale Technologies. “At the same time, our high level of electronic and mechatronic integration makes it easier for system designers to use this powerful new technology: they simply provide high-level digital commands for step and velocity over a standard SPI or I2C interface.”
The UTAF motor is produced under license by New Scale's technology partner, TDK-EPC (EPCOS), using multi-layer co-fired ceramic processing. It is manufactured as a single part that operates directly from the phone battery, less than 2.8 V.
New Scale Technologies develops and manufactures custom precision motion systems for critical adjustments of optics in imaging devices and other micro positioning applications. They create disruptively small motion systems that enable design engineers to create smaller products which results in new levels of performance to phone cameras, medical devices. The UTAF piezoelectric lens actuator is one more addition to their list miniature devices.
This technology is certainly very unique, especially with its ability to provide closed loop control and sensor inputs in such a small package. Plus htting the price targets required for these applications. Very impressive.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.