CML Applications

Applications

High volume technology applications

SMA actuators

SMA-based actuators function as miniature motors and can be used across a range of electronic devices. CML's camera actuators are already in mass-production and we are developing technology for further applications in haptics, facial recognition and augmented reality. The end-user applications are currently smartphones, wearables and drones. These suit SMA actuator characteristics within high volume markets. CML are also targeting additional consumer electronic end-user products.

CML has three camera actuator products with multiple licensees, shipping in millions of units. A sample design for a haptic actuator is in development alongside designs for the facial recognition and AR products.

Huawei P20 Lite Smartphone

Cameras

Camera modules contain actuators to significantly enhance image quality by moving optical components with a high level of precision. CML has designed, developed and licensed actuators to provide Autofocus (AF), Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and combined AF and OIS to a range of top tier manufacturers. Millions of CML’s camera actuators are being shipped under license in devices globally.

AF ensures the subject of the image is sharp. Almost all modern smartphones have at least one AF actuator. OIS is used to counteract shake a camera experiences whilst capturing images and is used mainly in premium handsets. See the effect of OIS to remove shake-induced blur in the graphic below.

As camera resolution continues to improve, image sensors increase in size making the lenses larger and heavier. Conventional actuators struggle to move them, but CML's SMA actuators provide ten times the force and are well-suited to address this trend. These actuators do not cause magnetic interference, allowing the close arrangement of additional camera modules as well as antenna and audio components. This enables high packing density, minimising bezels and maximising battery capacity.

 

OIS blur
OIS focused
Smartphone and SMA Haptic Actuator

Haptics

Haptic actuators allow users to interact with technology using the sense of touch. They fit below the surface of an electronic device providing a tactile sensation across a surface removing the need for protruding components such as mechanical buttons.

CML’s SMA haptic actuator, currently under development, creates a range of realistic local tactile sensations. CML's technical expertise has designed an actuator capable of producing a high force movement in a miniature form factor, providing a satisfying localised tactile sensation. The ability to control the movement of SMA wires and generate precise waveforms allows the feel of the button to be varied according to user preferences and applications.

CML's haptic technology boasts minimal power consumption compared to competing solutions and runs on a low drive voltage for a simple, easy to integrate solution.

Engineer working on facial recognition

Facial recognition

CML is developing actuator technology that will increase the accuracy when identifying user features in 3D face recognition systems. This is expected to result in a tenfold improvement in security.

The SMA actuators fit within miniature 3D face recognition modules, allowing easy integration of CML's technology to optimise performance. As smartphone vendors adopt bezel-less designs, the dimensional constraints on front facing 3D sensing modules increases. This favours the miniature form factor of CML's actuators.

Engineer using augmented reality

Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) describes the immersive experience where computer generated images are overlaid on top of the real world through a screen, either on a mobile device or an AR headset.

Mobile AR uses sensors to create a depth map of the surrounding landscape in order to overlay images on top of the real world. Current 3D sensors have a limited range of interaction of around 4 metres. CML is developing SMA actuator technology to improve the range and accuracy of augmented experiences tenfold, providing a more immersive experience.

Nighttime city

Global Markets

CML’s main product applications for our SMA-based actuators are smartphones, wearables and drones.

Markets