Case Study

SMA sensor shift actuator for optical image stabilisation

Cambridge Mechatronics introduces SMA sensor shift actuator for optical image stabilisation (OIS)

Cambridge Mechatronics Ltd (CML), which continues to lead the way in the development of Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) technology, launch a brand new sensor shift actuator for optical image stabilisation (OIS).

With smartphone cameras adopting many of the features of state-of-the-art digital stills cameras, promising Hollywood quality movie making, the requirement for optical image stabilization (OIS) has never been more vital. One solution, sensor shift OIS, moves the image sensor in response to smartphone handshake motion. By moving the image sensor instead of the lens, heavy lenses and variable apertures can be used. In addition, rotational motion can now be stabilized, not possible with lens shift OIS, enabling 5-axis stabilisation.

The main challenge in sensor shift is the requirement to move the image sensor whilst simultaneously connecting it to the handset. Traditional voice coil motor (VCM) actuators use magnets and electromagnetic coils, which are limited in the force they can generate. Further limitations of VCM include components and assembly processes, and the requirements to move both the image sensor and interconnect, increasing the camera footprint and bump-out size. Additionally, VCM designs don’t allow for the 5th axis of motion, roll, as they are prohibited by one smartphone brand’s patent portfolio, limiting usage to the wider market.

CML has developed a sensor shift OIS actuator design controlled using the new SMA wire. The actuator uses a simple design of 4 SMA wires of 25um diameter in a square configuration around the image sensor. These SMA wires contract upon heating above a transition temperature – the image sensor position and motion are therefore achieved by controlling the wire lengths thermally. CML’s designs ensure no compromise is made to the camera performance.

SMA 8-wire AF+OIS

The development of the new 8-wire Autofocus (AF) + Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) actuator from Cambridge Mechatronics Ltd (CML) is designed to bring premium camera performance to mid-high range handsets, utilsing CML’s world class Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) technology, and direct from proven and experienced supply chains in China and Japan. 8-wire AF+OIS has been designed as an integrated closed-loop camera that is more efficient in terms of its size, component count, material use and production cost, compared to traditional Voice Coil Motor (VCM). The 8-wire AF+OIS product is free from electromagnetic interference (EMI) and can be placed in close proximity to other EMI emitting products such as antennae, loudspeakers or camera modules thus providing greater design flexibility.

Cambridge Filmworks have partnered with CML to produce a suite of 3d animations to visualise this cutting edge new technology.

To find our more please visit:

Cambridge Filmworks

Cambridge Video Production

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