UTAF micro motor technology
Ultrasonic motor enables “Ultra-Thin Auto Focus” cameras: smaller, faster devices that offer better image and video quality while using less power
New Scale’s patented UTAF™ motor was named for its target application: Ultra-Thin Auto Focus systems for phone cameras. This technology is available for licensing in high-volume applications.
The tiny UTAF motor integrates all ultrasonic motor functions into a single piezoelectric ceramic beam measuring only 4.5 X 0.82 X 0.7 mm.
The UTAF motor uses an innovative co-fired multi-layer ceramic process to create a single beam composed of many thin layers of piezoelectric ceramic material. Sub-segments of the monolithic beam are energized independently, causing the beam to vibrate simultaneously in two orthogonal directions. The vibrations are used to move an object - such as a lens - placed in direct contact with the beam.
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.
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 for more rapid picture taking. The complete UTAF actuator module measures less than 4 x 8.5 x 8.5 mm.
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.
The UTAF motor is described in our technical paper, "Continuous auto focus for next-generation phone cameras," by David Henderson and Daniele Piazza, presented at the Actuator 2010 conference in Bremen. Contact us to request a copy.