EETimes: Cambridge Mechatronics (UK) has developed an actuator technology for optical image stabilization in small camera modules. The system is based on wires of nickel-titanium shape memory alloy (SMA) and an associated control and heating ASIC. The alloy has the property that it contracts and expands in a precise and reliable manner under heating and cooling at frequencies of 1 to 30-Hz in response to gyroscope measurements of handshake:
The prototype camera modules are said to provide more than 24dB (more than 4 optical stops) of hand shake suppression for 8.5-mm by 8.5-mm by 5.7-mm 8MP module. The motor is controlled by XC104 SMA Motor Processor IC developed in collaboration with Swindon Silicon Systems. The chip is based on 8051 core that controls integrated MOSFETs that deliver up to 30-mA to heat and control the SMA wire. The chip is being manufactured by IBM at Burlington in a 0.18um process.
The company's business model is to license lens and camera module integrators to use its SMA actuator patent portfolio and provide the control ASIC, its CEO Simon Calder Calder said. Cambridge Mechatronics is targeting mass production of 8- and 13-MP OIS-plus-AF cameras in Q2 2012.