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M3-FS mini all-in-one focus module has improved tilt, accuracy and dynamic stability for high-performance embedded camera systems.

Smart module for precision lens motion minimizes pixel shift with changing camera orientations in high-performance industrial, medical and scientific instruments

Victor, NY — August 13, 2014 — New Scale Technologies, Inc. (www.newscaletech.com) today announced the M3-FS focus module, its newest miniature all-in-one focus module for high-performance industrial, medical and scientific OEM cameras. The M3-FS focus module is a drop-in replacement for the company’s original M3-F focus module, with compatible size and identical electrical connections and software commands. It offers a 3x improvement in dynamic tilt and linear accuracy. The M3-FS also has superior dynamic stability to minimize pixel shift with changing camera orientation, making the M3-FS ideal for use in miniature handheld, portable and mobile systems.

Like all M3 smart modules, the M3-FS features embedded closed-loop control and takes simple high-level motion commands from the camera processor for straightforward system integration. It operates on 3.3 VDC with very low power needed to move the lens, and zero power needed to hold the lens in any position, making the M3-FS ideal for battery-powered devices.

At 20 x 23 x 16 mm it requires no more space than a typical fixed lens mount.

“The M3 focus module is the world’s only all-in-one focus system for OEM cameras, working directly from the camera processor with no additional control electronics needed,” said David Henderson, chief technical officer at New Scale Technologies. “The new M3-FS offers even higher performance in the same easy-to-integrate platform.”

Aluminum housing and internal ball gearing guide boost performance

The aluminum structure and innovative ball bearing lens guide mechanism give the M3-FS a 3x improvement in tilt and accuracy over the original M3-F module, which uses a molded polymer construction and internal pin-bushing lens guide. New zero-clearance bearings result in high dynamic stability. The M3-FS accepts lens diameters up to M16.

The original M3-F focus module remains an economical choice for lower precision requirements or fixed camera positions. It accepts lens diameters up to M12.

M3-FS Specifications*

  • Size: 20 x 23 x 16 mm
  • Image sensor area: 17 x 17 mm
  • Lens position resolution: 0.5 microns
  • Linear accuracy: +/- 12 micron
  • Dynamic tilt: < +/- 0.05 degrees
  • Dynamic concentricity: < +/- 0.002 mm typical
  • Input voltage: 3.1 to 3.6 VDC
  • Lifetime: > 1 million steps (any orientation)

For complete specifications see https://www.newscaletech.com/micro-motion-modules/m3-fs-m3-f-focus-modules/

M3 micro-mechatronic module platform delivers key benefits

The new M3-FS focus module is built on New Scale’s M3 micro-mechatronic module platform, which enables the smallest, highest resolution, and most repeatable closed-loop positioning solutions available. These “all in-one” smart modules require no separate electronics and are ready to plug-and-play directly with the OEM system processor and power supply for fastest time to market with the lowest total cost.

Each M3 smart module is a fully engineered solution that integrates New Scale Technologies’ patented and proprietary SQUIGGLE® piezo motor, drive, sensing, guide and control technologies. These unique components combine to create the world’s smallest closed-loop linear or rotary motion solutions.

Precision focus for high-performance camera systems in miniaturized instruments

Compared to stepper motor focus systems, the M3-FS focus module provides ten times better precision in about one quarter the volume. It meets the demanding optical requirements of high-performance embedded camera systems.

Compared to liquid lens systems, the M3-FS accepts a wider range of high-performance lens assemblies with larger aperture (up to M16) and higher transmission, to gather more light and fit the unique optical requirements of the camera. It operates on 3.3 VDC, while liquid lens systems require continuous internal drive voltage of ~100 volts.

Compared to plastic camera mechanisms, the M3-FS has one third the lens tilt with ten times less pixel shift, even when the camera is moving rapidly in a dynamic environment such as on the end-effector of a robot, the inspection point on a machine tool, or a flying in an airplane. The novel ball bearing guide mechanism and machined and anodized aluminum construction require no more space than conventional pin-bushing assemblies while providing zero clearance and negligible friction.

Price and availability

The DK-M3-FS-1.8-61.5-M12/16 developer’s kit is available now at $900. The kit includes one M3-FS Focus Module which accepts an M16x1 threaded lens, an adapter to accept an M12x0.5 threaded lens, New Scale Pathway™ software and a USB adapter to connect the module to a PC for evaluation and system development, cables and instructions.

About New Scale Technologies

New Scale Technologies develops small, precise and smart motion systems for critical adjustments of optics in imaging devices and many other micro positioning applications. Our simple and elegant solutions deliver best-in-class performance in handheld, portable and mobile instruments for medical, scientific and industrial applications. We design and manufacture custom products and license our technology to manufacturers worldwide. Our customers benefit from complete, “all-in-one” motion solutions that are tailored to their unique requirements and easily integrated into their next-generation instruments.

SQUIGGLE is a registered trademark, and New Scale Pathway and UTAF are trademarks of New Scale Technologies, Inc.

* Please note: Press releases are current as published, but are not updated after posting. Refer to our main pages for current information including specifications.