San Francisco Samsung Electro-Mechanics has developed a rotation module for cell phone cameras that automatically changes the captured field from landscape to portrait mode.
The auto camera drive (ACD) operates in 500 milliseconds and has been tested for 70,000 cycles effectively, 20 pictures a day for 10 years. Most mobile phones are replaced in five years, said Ki-Young Lee, principal engineer with the company's Precision Motor R&D Group in Seoul, South Korea. This means this component will likely outlive its cell phone host.
Power consumption is 60 milliamps.
The ACD can be designed as a single unit with the camera module or as a separate unit, depending on the mobile phone's form factor design, Samsung said.
The first design consideration for any new camera phone will be resolution, said Martin No, an associate with the company's Motor Sales Group. Once all camera modules tout the same picture quality, he said, the ACD can offer an additional incentive for buying a given model, supplying product differentiation for the vendor.
A survey of more than 500 mobile- phone users in Korea disclosed that the ACD is a value-added function that consumers place at the top of their preference list, No said.
Samsung Electro-Mechanics is continuing to develop precision and micro-geared motors for consumer applications, commented Lee, the principal engineer. The company now has devices for automatically opening and closing various mobile-phone types, including flip-phones and units with sliding covers.
A key technology thrust is to change the contact-point structures between brush and commutator radial, Lee said. In addition to extending product life, it makes the motors even smaller, he said.