Miniature cameras are commonly used in compact imaging systems for security, medical, and industrial environments. They typically consist of an image sensor mounted on a small printed circuit board, with a fixed lens mounted over it.
However, for many applications, replacing the fixed lens with a miniaturefocusing system provides the benefit that images can then be captured over a wider depth of field.
When faced with the need to produce a variant of its fixed-lensCamelot smart camera that sported just such an autofocusing system, designers at Imaging Diagnostics (Ness Ziona, Israel) turned to New Scale Technologies (Victor, NY, USA) for assistance.
Using New Scale Technologies' miniatureM3-F focus module, they created a variable-focus camera system with the same package size as their earlier Camelot fixed-focus smart camera, while maintaining the Camelot system's ability to operate on USB power alone.
New Scale's M3-F focus module itself is an integrated micro-mechatronics system that incorporates a piezoelectric "Squiggle" micromotor, position sensor, motor drive ASIC, and microprocessor in a 20 x 22 x 16-mm housing. It operates on 3.3 V and holds focus with the power off.
In theImaging Diagnostics design, the M3-F moves a custom lens from Sunex (Carlsbad, CA, USA) with 0.5-micron position resolution. The custom smart camera also sports a 5-Mpixel sensor and embedded Blackfin DSP from Analog Devices (Norwood, MA, USA) that handles processing and data transfer. Autofocusing capability is also available on Imaging Diagnostics' 5-Mpixel IP cameras.
-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor,Vision Systems Design