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25 February, 2019 - 14:28 By Kate Sweeney

Qualcomm chips into Cambridge Mechatronics technology

Cambridge technology has been integrated into US giant Qualcomm’s Snapdragon application processors for mobile phones.

The coup has been clinched by Cambridge Mechatronics (CML), a smart materials engineering company that designs miniature motors using Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) for use across a variety of substantial global markets.

CML says its software and algorithms will be combined with InvenSense’s, a TDK Group Company, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) camera software controller and integrated into Snapdragon.

The combination of TDK and CML’s software removes the requirement for a dedicated OIS controller chip. This reduces the SMA OIS camera size and cost as well as simplifying system integration.

Smartphone camera actuators using CML’s SMA technology are also being manufactured by TDK, who has been a CML licensee for several years. 

Actuators within smartphone camera modules improve image quality by moving optical components with a high level of precision. OIS actuators counteract disturbances such as handshake which allows increased camera exposure times without incurring shake-induced blur and improves low light photography.

One of the benefits of SMA OIS actuators is their ability to move heavy masses accurately. As the resolution of smartphone cameras continues to increase, the optics become larger and heavier which the industry’s incumbent conventional actuators are unable to manage. 

This issue is expected to be exacerbated by a trend of increased glass content in smartphone camera lenses to further improve image quality.

Andy Osmant, managing director at CML, said: “This is a further endorsement of our longstanding partnership with TDK, with whom we are working closely to provide our SMA technology and the associated software control algorithms for use in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips.

“The launch of the new SMA OIS controller should accelerate the adoption of our SMA technology across smartphone OEMs. We continue to expand our product portfolio and are enabling next-generation technological solutions for smartphone cameras, to meet the evolving demands of the industry.”

• Image courtesy – Cambridge Mechatronics (CML),

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