small, precise, smart… in motion

Subscribe to our newsletter

Privacy by SafeSubscribe View the archive ›

Custom engineering: from R&D and new product development, to customized micro motion solutions for OEMs.

Custom engineering of micro motion systems

Creating next-generation products? We can help you build them smaller … make them smarter… and do it faster!

We work with you to develop custom motion modules and systems that meet your exact requirements, using our configurable M3 design platform or developing a full-custom micro motion module. 

Feasibility Studies - your first step to faster, lower-risk product development

Our motion system feasibility studies are your first step to faster, lower-risk product development. We start with your idea and provide two weeks of dedicated engineering time to…

A fixed-fee $14,000 feasibility study is an affordable way to quickly test your idea and keep your product development on the right track. You quickly get the hard data you need to drive decisions.

Ready to get started? Download the feasibility studies checklist (PDF)  

Custom project examples

This page presents just a few examples of our custom motion system projects. Most were started with a fast feasibility study.

piezoelectric hexapod

Prototype hexapod with SQUIGGLE motor motion system 

Hexapod system

We collaborated with Carnegie Mellon University to develop a hexapod system using six piezoelectric SQUIGGLE micro motors integrated with miniature bearing assemblies, motor mounts, flexures and spring preloads. Drive electronics, integrated into the miniature handheld micromanipulator, dynamically adjust drive parameters to optimize performance of each motor under varying conditions including changing temperature and side loads.

Development continues under a Phase 1 SBIR grant awarded by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), preparing the way for a clinically-compatible product ready for commercialization. 

Learn more 

The fundamental hexapod design is available as a launch point for further development and customization in other applications. 

 Download preliminary information (PDF)

M3-L multi-axis positioner

Eight-axis positioning system fits in 80 mm of space.

Multi-axis positioning systems

We develop multi-axis positioning systems that operate on 3.3 V and accept high-level motion commands over standard serial interface.

In this example, two-axis linear positioners fit in an 80 mm space for eight independent axes of motion with closed-loop position resolution of 0.5 μm. View the video.


M3 module focus system for gigapixel camera

Slim focus module provides lens motion for each of the hundreds of tightly-packed cameras in the system.

Focus for a gigapixel camera

Our motion modules provide automated micrometer-scale lens adjustments in each of the hundreds of sub-cameras that make up an AWARE camera system, a ground-breaking gigapixel camera developed at Duke University and commercialized by Aqueti. Hundreds of 14-megapixel microcameras are grouped around a spherical lens, with each microcamera capturing a specific area of the field of view and using our focus module for extreme high resolution. The system creates a single image with wide field of view and unprecedented detail across the entire image. Learn more 

two-mirror beam steering module

Custom two-mirror M3 beam steering module has wide range of motion and compact optical path.  It requires a collimated beam. (US Patent 9,377,619)

Custom beam steering modules

The two-mirror beam steering module features two mirrors that rotate independently on orthogonal axes, with motion similar to that of a commercial galvo. The mirrors angles ΦX and ΦZ are equal to half the beam angles ΘX and ΘY respectively. The large range of motion delivers a wide beam range of +/-40 degrees.

The two-mirror module contains two UTAF™ piezoelectric motors, two angle sensors, driver ICs and a microcontroller with closed-loop firmware. The 6 mm thick module is incorporated into a 20.5 x 10 x 7.8 mm³ package. This module is significantly smaller than a galvo, needs no separate controller, uses less than 0.9 W while moving, and holds mirror position in sleep mode to further minimize power consumption.


single-mirror beam steering system


This single-mirror beam steering system is our smallest, fastest M3 beam steering concept and works with convergent and divergent beams. It has a smaller range of motion than other M3 modules and the input beam must be 45° to the mirror face when the mirror position is in the center of its range. (Patent pending)

The single-mirror beam steering module has one mirror that rotates around two orthogonal axes ΘX and ΘY to create a tilting mirror system without a nested gimbal mechanism.  The X and Y axes are in the plane of the mirror. The Z axis is orthogonal to the mirror surface. This simple and compact design has a single pivot point at the center of and slightly behind the mirror surface.

Two UTAF™ piezoelectric motors drive the outer edge of the mirror in the +/- Z direction to rotate the mirror in ΘX and ΘY. The motors and contact points are oriented at 90° to produce independent and orthogonal rotations. Opposite each motor contact is a position sensor that independently measures the ΘX and ΘY rotations. Behind the mirror assembly, the drive and control electronics are integrated on a rigid PCB.

This novel tilting mirror module offers greater range of motion in a MEMS-sized package with excellent dynamic response. The typical arrangement has the nominal incident beam angle at 45° and the reflected beam at 90°. The beam rotation angle is twice the mirror rotation. The mirror shape, material and coating reflectivity can be optimized for each application.  For example, an elliptically shaped mirror can be specified with an aluminum substrate and dielectric coating with extremely high reflectivity at a specific laser wavelength.


ultra-compact Risley device

Compact Risley device accommodates the highest power laser beam of the M3 beam steering solutions, and has an efficient in-line optical path. It has higher inertia (slower response) and requires non-linear conversion of prism rotation angle to beam angle.

A Risley device beam steering module has two co-axial wedge-shaped prisms that rotate independently around the optical axis, steering an incident beam over a continuous range of directions. The prism rotation angles Θz1 and Θz2 are converted to beam directions ΘX and ΘY .

The Risley device’s straight clear aperture delivers high transmission and opto-mechanical simplicity. It is smaller, uses less power, and weighs less than a gimbal mirror system.

New Scale’s ultra-compact Risley M3 module has micro ball bearing guides that support each prism with very low friction and low wobble. A UTAF™ piezoelectric motor is frictionally coupled to the outside diameter of each prism, enabling continuous bi-directional rotation with +/- 0.35° resolution, +/- 2° accuracy and no jitter. Position sensors and control electronics are integrated in the module. It was originally developed for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's endoscopic laser scalpel. Learn more.

 Performance comparison for custom beam steering modules

Custom Module Type Two-mirror  Single-mirror  Risley Device 
Beam motion      
Range of ΘX and ΘY (deg) +/- 40 +/- 19 +/- 6
Speed (deg/s) 5760 3820 379
Acceleration (deg/s2) 1,664,000 10,000,000 41,667
Resolution (deg) 0.04 0.04 0.1
Accuracy (deg) 0.1 0.1 0.6
Maximum beam diameter (mm) 2 3 6
Fastest beam stepping time for:       
    0.1 deg (msec) 0.49 0.2 4.38
    1 deg (msec) 1.55 0.63 13.86
    10 deg (msec) 4.9 3 61.88
Approx. module size (mm) ~20x10x10
including controller
including controller
~16 (dia.) x 15 (length)
including controller
Approx. module volume (mm2) 2,000 500 3,000
Controller built-in built-in built-in


COBRA fiber positioner

Two rotary SQUIGGLE motors (SQR-RV-2.4 and SQR-RV.3.4) in a theta-phi configuration, with drive electronics.

High-torque two-stage rotary motor system

This custom rotary SQUIGGLE motor and drive system has high stepping resolution and twice the torque of similar-sized DC micro motors. With no gear reduction mechanism, it has no backlash and delivers high peak torque at sustained speeds as well as high holding torque. Friction directly drives the stator and locks it in place with the power off.

This rotary micro motor can be optimized for other design parameters including smaller size, higher torque or higher speeds. It is scalable to less than 2 mm diameter. Input to the controller is simple, high-level commands over standard serial interface.

These slender rotary micro motors were originally developed for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's "Cobra" fiber positioner to be commissioned on the Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. In this application, two rotary motors are mounted in a theta-phi configuration.

Electrically integrated drive electronics are physically separated from the motor by a short flex cable, to meet the form factor requirements.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan under Award No. 037151, the University of Japan, the John Robinson Endowment and the California Institute of Technology.

Learn more about the Cobra fiber positioner project

Water-resistant piezo motor

Piezoelectric motor with moisture-resistant housing.

Moisture-resistant motor

A SQUIGGLE micro motor is customized with a water-resistant housing for operation in high-moisture environments or implantable medical devices. The housing also enables operation in clean room settings.

The motor measures 7 mm diameter, has a force of 2 Newtons and moves with a position resolution of 0.5 micrometers. It has an external driver. View the video.

High force, high resolution piezoelectric SQUIGGLE motor

Custom piezoelectric motor offers 20 nm resolution and 50 mm of travel.

Custom high-force motors

New Scale developed our flagship SQL-1.8 piezoelectric motor to be the world's smallest linear motor. For applications where greater push force or higher resolution are more important than absolute smallest size, we offer custom piezo motor systems to meet those requirements.

A SQUIGGLE micro motor is customized with a water-resistant housing for operation in high-moisture environments or implantable medical devices. The housing also enables operation in clean room settings.

The motor measures 7 mm diameter, has a force of 2 Newtons and moves with a position resolution of 0.5 micrometers. It has an external driver.

rotary microdrive

Compact rotary micro-drive: No jitter, off-power hold and no magnetic fields.

Rotary micro-drive eliminates jitter

Unlike servo drives, this compact piezo rotary drive system has no measurable jitter. Ultrasonic vibrations of piezoelectric elements drive the motor, which locks into position and holds it even when power is off. In contrast, servo drives use an active control loop to continually seek a target position, resulting in unavoidable jitter and requiring continuous power use.

The piezoelectric motor generates no magnetic fields when moving, eliminating a source of potential interference with sensitive instruments in the OEM system.

It is also smaller than a servo drive, offers higher position resolution, and exhibits excellent velocity, acceleration and repeatability characteristics.

It integrates a high-torque direct-drive piezoelectric motor, precision ball bearings with low run-out and wobble, optical encoder with zero reference mark, and New Scale drive electronics and closed-loop control system. The device is PC-controlled using New Scale Pathway software for rapid evaluation and system development.

Learn more

We work with our OEM partners to develop custom motion modules and systems that meet your exact requirements, using our configurable M3 design platform or developing a full-custom motion module for a specific application. Contact our custom development team to learn more.