Eamex Corp. has developed an actuator for use in optical image stabilizers targeting phonecam modules. Compared to the previous electromagnetic actuators, it boasts "a thinner profile as well as simpler structure, lower cost and reduced power consumption," says a spokesperson. The actuator is what is referred to as an artificial muscle and formed of ion exchange resin having a characteristic of expanding and contracting on application of a voltage.
The prototype is as thin as 1.5 mm and measures 14 mm in diameter. A lens holder is disposed in the center. The ion exchange resin that supports the lens holder expands and contracts to tilt the lens (2 MB MPEG video). By linking the tilt and camera shake caused by the photographer's hands, degradation of picture quality can be prevented.
In general optical image stabilizers, a lens is movable only in a vertical direction with respect to the optical axis. Although the latest actuator operates without any vertical movement with respect to the optical axis, "it is expected to provide sufficient correction effect and resolution," boasts Shingo Sewa, President of Eamex.
The maximum tilt angle and speed are ±2.9° and 14.13° per second, respectively. The power consumption is 15-35 mW. These values can "meet the specifications required by optical component manufacturers," explains Sewa. The drive voltage is ±4 V.