New Scale awarded U.S. patent for UTAF piezoelectric motor being commercialized in next-generation smart phone cameras
New ultrasonic motor enables "Ultra-Thin Auto Focus" cameras: smaller, faster devices that offer better image and video quality while using less power
Victor, NY – November 18, 2010 - New Scale Technologies, Inc. has received its fifth U.S. patent for miniature piezoelectric motor technology. Trade-named the UTAF motor (for Ultra-Thin Auto Focus, its target application), the tiny new device integrates all ultrasonic motor functions into a single piezoelectric ceramic beam measuring only 4.5 X 0.82 X 0.7 mm.
U.S. patent # 7,786,648 was issued Aug. 31, 2010 to inventors Qin Xu and David Henderson by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Technology and licensing
Piezoelectric ceramics vibrate in response to electrical signals; ultrasonic motors translate those micrometer-scale vibrations into larger motion through friction contact. The UTAF motor uses an innovative co-fired multi-layer ceramic process to create a single beam composed of many thin layers of piezo ceramic. Sub-segments of the monolithic beam are energized independently, causing the beam to vibrate simultaneously in two orthogonal directions as its motion mechanism. Frequency, phase and amplitude of the ultrasonic vibrations are controlled by a two-phase drive circuit. Because the layers are very thin, they respond to signals of only 3 volts or less. This is a significant advantage in smart phone camera applications, as it allows the UTAF motor to operate directly from the phone battery.
New Scale has licensed its UTAF motor patent to TDK-EPC (EPCOS), a world leader in manufacturing advanced multi-layer piezoelectric ceramics. "The UTAF motor combines the motor design innovation of New Scale Technologies with the world-class manufacturing capabilities of EPCOS," stated David Henderson, New Scale's founder and co-CEO. "Together we have created a truly unique solution for adding high-performance auto focus to smart phone cameras."
UTAF motor enables ultra-thin auto focus cameras
The UTAF motor is combined with several other patent-pending innovations to deliver a complete ultra-thin auto focus actuator module for next-generation ultra-thin mobile phones with image sensors better than 8 MP. These innovations include advanced drive electronics incorporated into New Scale's NSD-2101 driver IC, a compact lens module design with a high-efficiency pin-bushing guide, and "Smart Step" control software that optimizes speed and accuracy while minimizing acoustic noise. The UTAF Ultra-Thin Auto Focus module enables continuous auto focus for video capture, as well as faster focus more rapid picture taking. The complete UTAF actuator module measures less than 4 x 8.5 x 8.5 mm.
"Each year more than 1 billion cameras are purchased by consumers in mobile phones. The fastest-growing segment is smart phones, where the camera is expected to replace stand-alone digital still cameras," said Henderson. "The patented UTAF motor and the integrated UTAF actuator module meet the most demanding smart phone camera requirements for speed, image sharpness, video quality, and battery life. We're excited to be part of this major market opportunity."
For more information
Request a copy of the technical paper, "Continuous Auto Focus for Next Generation Phone Cameras," describing the operation of the UTAF motor and the integrated UTAF actuator module. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 (585) 924-4450 x2.
About New Scale Technologies
New Scale Technologies, Inc. (www.newscaletech.com) is an innovation and micro-manufacturing company delivering ingeniously small motion systems. We serve worldwide markets for mobile products, medical devices, defense and security systems and industrial instruments. Every day our creative engineers and scientists use their deep understanding of micro-mechatronic technologies to solve the most demanding customer problems. Since 2002, the company has been awarded six patents (U.S. and international) with more pending. We combine our talents with the capabilities of our global strategic partners, who provide "best in class" integrated circuits, ceramic components and high-volume manufacturing. Through direct customer engagements, continuous innovation and strategic partnerships, we deliver disruptively small, precise and low-power motion systems that enable our customers to create smaller feature-rich products.