AutoFocus & Optical Image Stabilisation
Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)
Cameras are seen to be central to the use of smartphones, because they encompass their three core features - communication, vision and functionality. It is no coincidence, therefore, that smartphone vendors focus on camera performance in their advertising; and that they seek constantly to improve that performance to maintain or enhance their competitive position.
CML’s OIS technology started shipping in international smartphones in 2014. OIS is widely recognised as the top improvement to smartphone camera quality in recent years. We are confident that OIS will achieve mass penetration of the smartphone market.
CML's OIS actuators use our patented shape memory alloy (SMA) technology. The technology, plus a single piece of SMA wire, gives force, motion, precision and excellent position control.
Our design makes OIS products much smaller, simpler, and more robust. The structure comprises simply of thin SMA wire and only three additional parts. Each is the thickness of a human hair, produced and assembled using fully automated processes.
With its intrinsic cost advantages, automated manufacture promises high production capacity with:
- a stable yield
- tight quality control and
Small and slim
SMA actuators are less than a third of the height of competing technologies, and allow the addition of OIS and AF to miniature cameras without adding height to the device.SMA actuators may be used to remove the unsightly bulge seen on the back of many smartphones.
SMA wires produce high driving forces, which combined with our patented control algorithms, give industry-leading hand-shake suppression performance and image quality.
Longer Battery Life
SMA actuators use approximately 20% of the power of competing technologies, extending smartphone battery life and reducing heat generation.
Cameras using competing technologies use several strong magnets to move the lens, which lead to magnetic fields interfering with critical handset components. SMA actuators eliminates magnetic interference and allows a compact design.
SMA is uniquely suited to use in dual cameras because the actuators can be placed close to one another, allowing optimal positioning of the camera apertures and the most compact design.The dual camera configuration is challenging for competing technologies because the magnets used for actuation on the two cameras interfere with one another, which means that the lenses are further apart.
The selfie or front facing camera is frequently used for taking the high-quality stills and video, previously only possible on the rear facing camera. The trend towards bezel free screen designs, means that the available space for the selfie camera is being significantly reduced. The simple, compact structure of SMA actuators is therefore emerging as the best solution for AF and OIS on the front face of a smartphone.
AutoFocus + OIS
Consumers' appetite for enhanced camera performance led to an OIS adoption rate of 15% of main cameras in smartphones in 2016. This feature is still predominantly in high-end handsets, and has not yet significantly penetrated the high-volume, mainstream smartphone market. To do that, the difference in size and cost of AF and AF+OIS actuators needs to reduce.
CML is developing actuators using our smart metal technology for both AF and OIS functions. The result is a highly integrated, simple structure, smaller in size than standard AF-only VCM products. We aim to reduce the difference in size and cost of AF and AF+OIS cameras to allow OIS functionality to be included in almost every smartphone.