Lens Makers Put Miniature Camera Market Growth Into Focus

Wednesday, August 23rd 2017

Recent announcements by two large suppliers of optical components into the smartphone market confirm that the miniature camera market continues to grow at a healthy rate.

Sunny Optical, the largest manufacturer of smartphone camera lens in mainland China, reported half year results to the Hong Kong stock
exchange to show net profit for the six months was up 149% compared to same period last year.

Meanwhile world-leading lens manufacturer Largan Precision have announced that production of smartphone camera lens will begin this
quarter in a new $39 million facility.  Manufacturing capacity has been increased to satisfy demand from smartphone vendors on the back of the wider adoption of dual camera units in the premium smartphone segment.

CML notes the strong growth of two of the world’s largest camera component manufactures.  The number of miniature cameras per smartphone is increasing and therefore CML expects the growth trend in the miniature camera market to continue to outstrip the growth in the smartphone market.

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First Wearable Device Released Containing CML Licensed Technology

Tuesday, August 15th 2017

CML is pleased to report the first use of its licensed SMA technology in a ‘wearable’ product.  The Front Row wearable camera, launched today, contains CML’s unique patented shape memory alloy actuator technology.  CML’s technology has been used to provide Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), removing the effects of handshake to give a significant improvement in the quality of image.

Analysts expect miniature cameras to feature in an increasing number of wearable devices and the market to grow rapidly. CML’s SMA technology is ideal for applications that require small, lightweight and precise actuation in a high value, low cost package and is therefore ideally suited for use in the wearables market.

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More Evidence of Growth in Camera Market

Thursday, August 3rd 2017

This week both Apple and Sony released information to the market relating to their performance in the last three months. 

Apple revealed that they had sold 41 million iPhones in the last quarter.  Through a code release Apple also inadvertently revealed that the next iPhone will include facial recognition using an additional front facing infrared camera.

Sony’s consolidated financial results reported its highest-ever first-quarter operating profit.  The profit surge has been driven by sales of Sony’s market leading image sensors, used in smartphone cameras.  Sony are set to open additional production facilities that will increase image sensor manufacturing capacity by around 20%, reflecting confidence that the smartphone camera market will continue to grow.

CML thinks these announcements provide further evidence that the high demand for cameras in smartphones remains unabated.  The leak that the next iPhone will include a second front camera – taking the number of cameras up to four per smartphone - is in line with most analyst’s view that the volumes for camera modules is set to continue to increase.

It is also noteworthy that camera module ASPs are increasing.  In contrast to the view that margins in the smartphone market have been squeezed, particularly in China, the margins attached to smartphone cameras and the high quality optical components that differentiate one smartphone from another remain healthy.

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CML Receives Grant to Begin Development of Surgical Instruments

Wednesday, July 26th 2017

Cambridge Mechatronics and the University of Birmingham have received a grant from the UK Government’s Medical Research Council under its “Proximity to Discovery” Programme to work together on the development of a new surgical instrument for bladder cancer surgery. As part of the project CML will contribute to the design of a novel surgical device that makes use of shape memory alloy (SMA) actuation.

Dr Andrea Cantone, CMLs business development manager said "SMA is already used extensively in medical procedures for passive devices such as stents and is already established as fully compatible with the human body. We believe our SMA control technology is ideally suited to the development of medical devices as it allows the design of the small, lightweight, precise and powerful actuated tools needed for modern surgical procedures. We are delighted to be working with the University of Birmingham and are confident that this will be a successful and long-lasting partnership”.

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Smartphone Camera Market Set to Continue Growth

Thursday, July 20th 2017

A recent trading update by Sunny Optical, a large manufacturer of electronic equipment listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, gives hard evidence to the forecast by some analysts of significant growth in the smartphone camera market. Sunny Optical report year on year revenue growth of 77%, with profits up 126%, and position themselves as ideally placed to exploit the trend towards bezel free smartphone designs with high quality camera performance. Underlying these good results are strong sales of camera modules into the Chinese smartphone market, which have been driven by the launch of new models from the likes of Oppo, Xiaomi and Huawei all of which feature higher resolution and better quality dual cameras.

As cameras remain a key means of differentiation in the smartphone market, many analysts are expecting Sunny Optical to maintain high growth, predicting earnings CAGR of 45% for some years to come. CML shares the view that this market provides a significant opportunity and believes that our unique technologies will allow us to thrive in this environment.

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Two New Advisory Board Appointments

Friday, June 30th 2017

CML is delighted to announce that Sam Kim and Jorgen Lantto have joined the Advisory Board of CML. Biographical details of both are included in the "Team" website section.

Sam Kim was for many years until 2014, the President of ARM Korea. ARM is well known as the global leader in semiconductor IP business for mobile markets. Martin Knight, Chairman of CML, commenting on his appointment, said:" Sam's experience of commercial activity in S Korea , and particularly in the mobile space, will be most valuable to CML as we grow our business in S Korea."

Jorgen Lantto, as the former CTO and CEO of Fingerprint Card Sa(FPC), brings a wealth of relevant experience to CML: not only in the high tech end of the smartphone market , but also in managing the explosive growth of FPC from a small hardware engineering business to one which had a dominant and highly profitable position in the smartphone market, particularly in China. Martin Knight, Chairman of CML, commented: " Jorgen's understanding of how to manage a business in a period of extreme sales and profits growth , in precisely the market in which  CML is operating, will be extremely helpful to CML."

Martin Knight added: "CML is looking forward with great pleasure to working closely with Sam and Jorgen as we seek to grow CML' s activity at the heart of the smartphone market"

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CML Opens Three Offices in the Greater China Region

Thursday, June 29th 2017

Due to CML’s rapidly escalating customer activity in the Greater China market, CML has opened three additional offices located in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Taipei with commercial staff, project managers and engineers, to provide local promotion, sales and technical support for our smartphone camera and haptics products.

“CML recognises the importance of local representation to react quickly and efficiently to customer requests and ensure smooth
information flow. For our products and markets, we need to be in the hub of smartphone and device component development and commerce, hence the selection of the locations of our three new sites”, remarked CML’s Director of Marketing, Dominic Webber. “We have ensured excellent staff have been recruited into our new offices to ensure high quality support and relationship management. We are planning for these offices to grow in size and also open additional facilities throughout this year and the next.”

The General Manager of CML Greater China, Edwin Shiu, commented, “In the highly competitive China smartphone and device market,
genuinely new and breakthrough technologies that can offer a refined user experience, yet still allow miniaturisation and aggressive pricing are highly valued by the industry’s leading brands. CML’s SMA technology has been exceptionally well received by this market, leading to multiple follow-on projects and new enquiries, which are ideally supported in close proximity to the customer sites.”

In order to contact CML Greater China directly by email, please click here.

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CML Wins Wearable Haptics Product Award at IDTechEx Conference

Thursday, May 11th 2017

On 10 May, CML presented its new haptics product at Wearable Europe, a conference event as part of the IDTechEx Show! in Berlin. The conference focuses on wearable technologies, applications, and their commercialisation and looks at the capabilities offered by new technologies. It is aimed at the full ecosystem from fashion brands to material providers.

Fifty guests presented at Wearable Europe and CML was shortlisted as one of five keynote speakers. Two companies were honoured for their great achievements in developing and commercialising wearable technology. The judges of the awards were Ms Heidi Dohse from Google and Mr Ben Cooper from VF Corporation.

Mr. Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx presented CML with the award for Best New Material or Component Development. Collecting the award for CML was Dr Andrea Cantone, Business Development Manager and remarked,

"We are delighted to have received the IDTechEx Best New Material or Component Development award. There is no better recognition for Cambridge Mechatronics' innovation in the wearable market than one given by a leading research institution such as IDTechEx and their industry experts."

“The judges were particularly impressed with CML’s approach of delivering natural, localised haptic feedback with a miniature form factor – key for the wearable product segment. In combination with the ability to customise the sensation according to users’ preference made CML’s SMA haptics solution the clear winner for this product category,” said Mr Das of IDTechEx.

After establishing itself as a provider of precision SMA actuator platform technology and delivering products in the smartphone and drone camera markets, CML is now launching its new designs for next generation haptics experiences.

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CML to Present Keynote Haptics Speech at IDTechEx Conference

Thursday, May 4th 2017

IDTechEx provides independent market research and business intelligence to clients in over 80 countries, and will be hosting the IDTechEx Show! from the 10th to the 11th of May in Berlin. It is the world's largest end-user focused event on emerging technologies and covers wearables, printed electronics, sensors, Internet of Things, 3D printing, graphene, energy storage, electric vehicles and energy harvesting.

Part of the IDTechEx Show! is Wearable Europe – a conference and exhibition focusing on wearable technologies, applications, and their commercialisation. The event looks at the capabilities offered by new technologies and is aimed at the full ecosystem from fashion brands to material providers. Fifty guests will present at Wearable Europe and CML has been shortlisted as one of five keynote speakers.

After establishing itself as a provider of precision SMA actuator platform technology and delivering products in the smartphone and drone camera markets, CML is now launching a new design for a next generation haptic experience. Conventional products provide the user with a feedback sensation by shaking the entire device (smartphone or wearable), resulting in an unnatural effect. CML's solution creates a more sophisticated and nuanced experience by providing a localised feeling. SMA can create strong forces in a limited space without the use of magnetic parts, thus preventing compromise to antennae, audio speakers or NFC components' performance.

During the talk, CML will explain SMA actuator characteristics, its advantages when applied to haptics and how we are taking this technology to the mass market.

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CML Shareholder Presentations 28 & 29 March 2017

Thursday, March 30th 2017

Shareholder presentations were made in Cambridge and London on 28 and 29 March. The slides used in these presentations are available to CML shareholders on our website secure portal. Please login to download and view them.

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Join Us At Mobile World Congress

Thursday, February 23rd 2017

CML will be attending the Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona. It is the world’s largest gathering of the mobile industry.

We’ll be there to reveal to current and prospective customers, partners and other members of the mobile ecosystem:

  • our latest patented innovations in smartphone cameras
  • cameras in other mobile devices
  • advanced technology for additional applications, such as haptics.

Kindly contact us if interested in arranging a meeting there.

Mobile World Congress 2017, 27 February – 2 March, Barcelona

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Drones: flying high in the consumer market

Tuesday, February 14th 2017

The value of the drone market is rising fast. According to Goldman Sachs, it will be cumulatively worth $100 billion by 2020.

There are many potential applications for drones. Investment in them by the military and security forces is rising, while in the commercial market, usage of drones in construction, surveying, and oil pipe inspection, for example, is growing too.

Next-generation consumer drones
Photography and videography are thought to be the key applications for next-generation drones. Mainstream consumer usage is the dream, but safety concerns may prevent very early adoption. However, drones seem to be here to stay, and in increasing numbers.

To expand usage, with flight times of up to half an hour and travelling at speeds of at least 30mph to 40 mph, they will need to be safe and robust, as well as capable of being accurate in navigation to avoid buildings, trees, pylons and other flying objects. They will also need to be small and lightweight with high-precision performance.

Offering exactly these features, CML’s unique smart material technology will shortly ship in high-end consumer drones available to the global market. “We see drones as one of the most exciting new major emerging product trends," commented CML's marketing director Dominic Webber. "We’re delighted to be integral to the development of key components in this high profile segment.”

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Innovation And An Invitation: Improving Health and Quality of Life for Diabetics

Thursday, February 2nd 2017

CML will be at the 10th International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes (ATTD), 15 to 18 February.

Worldwide, an estimated 415 million people are suffering from diabetes, a life-long condition that can result in serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage. That total is projected to rise to 642 million by 2040, meaning that one in 10 adults would be diabetic.

Trillion dollar industry
Such a prevalence of disease demands a lot of money spent on treating it. The estimated global healthcare expenditure on diabetes treatment in 2015 came to $935 billion.

Most diabetics need regular injections of insulin. Yet current insulin delivery devices do not offer a satisfactory balance of size, weight, cost and dosing accuracy. Users claim their pumps, pens or syringes are indiscreet, too bulky or uncomfortable to live with.

Equally, most devices that offer both convenience and advanced functionality are prohibitively costly for healthcare providers and insurance policies, both in developed and developing nations.

Revolutionary insulin delivery
To help overcome these blocks – and positively impact the lives of diabetics everywhere – CML is now developing revolutionary next-generation insulin delivery devices. Our unique smart material platform technology allows us to create miniaturised lightweight products for this market at a low cost.

What’s more, our products offer as much precision in insulin delivery – a requirement recognised as critical to managing diabetes – compared even to the most sophisticated of products currently available.

We will be discussing our transformative plans and developments with pharmaceuticals manufacturers and device makers at ATTD 2017 in Paris. If you’d like to arrange a meeting with us there, please contact us to agree a convenient time.

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Trend Prediction: Dual and Selfie OIS Cameras

Tuesday, January 24th 2017

TechSpot blogger Tim Schiesser recently posted a very detailed description of his dream smartphone for 2017. He covers all the key features, including display, body, processor, cameras, battery and software.

What really caught our eye was Tim's wish for OIS functionality in both the main dual cameras and the selfie camera. Why? To improve low-light performance, traditionally the weak point of smartphone cameras.

Were Tim’s wish granted widely in premium handsets, it would represent a potential tripling of the overall market size in this segment, to over a billion units per annum – great news for OIS actuator suppliers.

To quote Tim’s wishlist:

  • Both rear cameras will feature optical image stabilization to improve low light performance. Both will also be capable of shooting 4K video at 30 FPS, alongside 1080p at 120 FPS and 720p at 240 FPS, with high quality stereo audio.
  • The wide angle camera will use an f/1.9 lens, while the zoom camera will use an f/2.2 lens as increasing the aperture of this 72mm lens any further would have led to a larger-than-reasonable camera module.
  • The front camera will be another Sony IMX260, this time paired with an f/1.7 24mm lens and OIS.
  • The ideal smartphone won’t be the first handset with OIS for its front facing camera (the HTC 10 included this feature), but it’s a smart inclusion that helps deliver the best low light selfies. Again, this sensor would pack 4K video recording.

We understand smartphone makers have already recognised the benefits and demand for dual OIS cameras but hit development issues with conventional products due to magnetic interference between the cameras and also with other critical components – such as loudspeakers and antennae – that compromised picture quality, audio and signal strength.

This is partly why CML SMA OIS products aren’t made with magnets, and simply don’t suffer these issues. Ever.

Camera technology pioneers hTC and Sony are the only smartphone makers so far to have launched selfie OIS cameras. As most major brands continue to increase camera resolutions and specifications, we predict that the selfie OIS will be a significant consumer trend soon.

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CES Wrap-up

Monday, January 9th 2017

Amidst CML’s customer meetings, four thousand exhibitors and one hundred and eighty thousand attendees, we reviewed the most popular technology areas of CES, Las Vegas. There were three key product groups attracting the most viewers and interest, and each had increased their occupied floor space significantly since last year.

Drones were on display from twenty six exhibitors with applications ranging from sports coverage to search and rescue. The US market for drones is expected to double this year.

Augmented reality joined virtual reality to double its exhibition size since 2016. Products ranged from glasses to headsets and crash helmets, offering experiences as varied as gaming, shopping and foreign travel.

Nearly one hundred and fifty exhibitors and nine car manufacturers populated the twenty thousand square metres assigned to vehicle technology. Overriding themes were Artificial Intelligence (AI) and autonomy with a number of concept self-driving cars.

CML welcomes the significant investment in these next generation products as they are key target applications for our smart metal platform technology. We look forward to sharing news of our latest projects and partners soon.

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CML Licensee TDK Corporation to Acquire Gyroscope Supplier InvenSense

Friday, December 23rd 2016

TDK and InvenSense have entered into a definitive agreement wherein TDK agrees to acquire all outstanding InvenSense shares for a total acquisition price of US$1.3 billion. InvenSense is one of the world’s leading gyroscope manufacturers, with its products used in current and next generation smartphone OIS camera modules. Read more here.

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Cambridge Mechatronics at CES, Las Vegas

Tuesday, December 20th 2016

Cambridge Mechatronics will be attending CES, held in Las Vegas from 5 to 8 January 2017. Please contact us if you would like to arrange a meeting.

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CML to Present at Renesas DevCon China Event

Monday, October 24th 2016

Renesas Electronics Corporation is a world-leading supplier of microcontrollers, analogue power devices and SoC products. On October 27, it will hold the Renesas Electronics Worldwide Developers Conference, gathering together its key customers, partners and developers at the Sheraton Shenzhen Futian hotel.

As part of the event, there will keynote speeches from senior Renesas executives and presentations covering the different major business areas of automotive, industrial, consumer electronics, office automation, and information and communication technology (ICT).

Renesas is one of the three major vendors supplying the leading smartphone brands with OIS camera controller and driver chips. Its products are qualified for use with CML’s SMA OIS actuators and as such, CML has been invited by Renesas to deliver one of the twenty event presentations. CML’s Director of Marketing – Dominic Webber – will discuss its SMA camera products, advantages and roadmap to an audience of smartphone industry professionals.

Renesas Senior Marketing Manager and event co-organiser, Angus Chan remarked, ”We much appreciate CML’s participance in this major Renesas event. CML’s unique SMA OIS solution delivers key advantages to the smartphone camera market and we highly value the strength of our partnership.”

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TDK Corporation Announces Completion of Acquisition of CML OIS Licensee

Thursday, October 6th 2016

TDK Corporation (“TDK”, TSE: 6762, Representative Director and President: Shigenao Ishiguro) today announced that TDK had completed its acquisition of Hutchinson Technology Incorporated (“HTI”), a global supplier of critical precision component technologies. Under the terms of the merger agreement, each outstanding share of common stock of HTI was cancelled and converted into the right to receive $4.00 per share, without interest. HTI’s common stock (NASDAQ: HTCH) has ceased trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. Nixon Peabody LLP acted as legal advisor to TDK on the transaction and Janes Capital Partners acted as TDK’s financial advisor. HTI was represented on the transaction by its legal advisor, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, and its financial advisor, BofA Merrill Lynch.

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Financial Times report: Smartphone manufacturers focus on cameras to boost sales

Wednesday, October 5th 2016

The Financial Times published a report today by Stephen Pritchard in its Connected Business series describing some of the key trends in smartphone camera technology and its influence on smartphone brands’ sales. The full article may be found here. Selected excerpts may be found below.

Smartphones have made personal photography ubiquitous. In the 1990s, the number of pictures taken on film stood at about 80bn images a year, notes Paul Lee, a partner in Deloitte’s technology, media and telecommunications practice. The number of images taken on digital cameras and smartphones has long since surpassed that figure. The growth is partly driven by rapid improvements in camera phone technology.

“Smartphones have become a direct substitute for digital compact cameras; camera sales have declined rapidly in recent years,” says Peter Becker-Pennrich, head of Vodafone’s handsets range. “Smartphone camera quality improvements have been achieved through better and bigger sensors, high-quality lenses, image stabilisation, fast and sophisticated image processing, and fun features like filters,” he says.

Annette Zimmermann at industry research company Gartner says: “The camera is one of the key uses for a smartphone, and vendors put a lot of effort into it to keep people interested [in new phones]. People expect to use their phones to take high-quality pictures.”

Ms Zimmermann sees camera manufacturers adding dual-lens cameras, which work better in low light, and even 360-degree cameras at the more expensive end of the market.

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Corporate giant TDK nears completion of acquisition of CML OIS licensee

Wednesday, September 28th 2016

With a workforce exceeding ninety thousand and facilities spanning thirty countries, TDK Corporation is a major supplier of key, high value smartphone components, including camera actuators, to the leading smartphone brands. TDK also supplies products into the automotive, industrial equipment and energy sectors, and is planning new businesses in wearables and healthcare.

In November 2015, TDK announced the planned acquisition of CML SMA OIS licensee Hutchinson Technology Incorporated.

Hutchinson today announced that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has granted early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended with respect to the proposed merger of HTI with and into a wholly owned subsidiary of TDK Corporation.

The early termination of the waiting period under the HSR Act satisfies one of the remaining conditions to the closing of the pending merger. The merger is currently expected to close no later than October 5, 2016, and remains subject to other customary closing conditions set forth in the merger agreement.

Details of Hutchinson’s SMA OIS products manufactured under license from CML may be found here.

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Cambridge Mechatronics at MWC, Barcelona 22-25 February 2016

Thursday, January 28th 2016

Cambridge Mechatronics will be attending MWC, Barcelona. Please contact us to arrange a meeting. Email.

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CML Licensee Hutchinson Technology to be Acquired by TDK Corporation

Monday, November 2nd 2015

Leading electronics company TDK Corporation has entered into a definitive merger agreement under which they will acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Hutchinson Technology Inc.

Hutchinson is a manufacturing licensee of CML's OIS actuator products for smartphone cameras. Their news release may be found here.

TDK employs over 88,000 staff globally and its extensive product range comprises electronic components, energy devices, power systems, flash memory and actuators, including those used in smartphone cameras.

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SMA OIS Actuators at LCA China Expo

Friday, September 25th 2015

This week, the Gaungzhou Nanfung International Convention Centre hosted the Optical Lens, Camera Module and Acoustic Components (LCA) Expo. Located near Shenzhen, the hub of China's smartphone design and manufacturing industry, key suppliers exhibited their latest technologies and products. Centre stage of the stand of autofocus (AF) actuator pioneer New Shicoh were parts and demonstrations of CML's latest OIS products.

New Shicoh is China's highest volume producer of AF camera actuators and supplies the market's largest brands.

New Shicoh has combined in-house VCM AF parts with CML's SMA OIS actuators to produce the industry's thinnest combined AF plus OIS actuators.

"New Shicoh is delighted to be collaborating with CML to deliver the industry's lowest height OIS solutions to smartphone camera producers and handset manufacturers. The expo has confirmed the huge and mounting demand for OIS cameras, particularly with thin form factors complementing the trend of slim handsets. Our AF plus OIS parts are currently being assembled into cameras by module integrators and we look forward to significant design awards and shipments in 2016," commented Jack Chang, New Shicoh's VP of sales and marketing.

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Ofcom Reports Smartphone 'Selfie' Photographs Boom

Thursday, August 6th 2015

Today the BBC reports that Ofcom - the UK's independent regulator and competition authority - released its twelfth annual Communications Market report, with a headline that the UK is now a "smartphone society".

The smartphone was found to be more popular than the digital camera for taking and storing photos, with 60% of adults and 89% of 16 to 24 year olds using their phone for photography.

It states that britons took 1.2 billion selfie photographs last year, 31% of which said they had taken a picture of themselves in the past year, with one in 10 adults taking at least one per week. Ofcom states that the rise in smartphones with increasingly good cameras was potentially fuelling the craze.

CML has recognised the dramatic rise in popularity of the front facing, selfie camera and is making available OIS actuators to deliver the next step change improvement in the quality of their photographs.

CML's products use its smart metal technology, which results in substantially smaller cameras than its competition from voice coil motors (VCM). This allows smartphone brands to produce slimmer handsets with narrower screen bezels for leading edge handset designs. Additionally, CML's smart metal actuators contain no magnets and do not interfere with the phone antenna, preventing compromises to its connectivity and call quality.

CML's first OIS actuator manufacturing partner, Hutchinson Technology, has stated its plans to make available parts to customers for selfie cameras later this year.

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Cambridge Mechatronics has Designed the World's Smallest Smartphone OIS Actuator

Friday, July 31st 2015

In response to the market demand for further miniaturisation of OIS cameras for slim handsets, CML has designed the world's smallest OIS actuator, based on its smart metal technology. The new product is more than 70% thinner than its predecessor and competition from voice coil motors (VCM). There is no compromise to its industry leading shake suppression performance and product reliability.

In order to deliver the size reduction, a design was developed using significantly fewer components. This has resulted in a reduced bill of materials and simplified assembly flow, in turn allowing manufacturing cost reductions. CML has protected its latest innovations with key additions to its patent portfolio.

The smart metal OIS actuator has been designed to be compatible with the latest 'bi-directional' and 'phase detection pixel' autofocus technologies to deliver cameras with fastest focussing speed and lowest power consumption.

CML's first OIS actuator manufacturing partner, Hutchinson Technology, is now supplying parts to customers to allow the assembly of the industry's lowest profile OIS cameras, providing clearer photographs in low light conditions and stabilised videos.

For further details please refer to Hutchinson's website and news release.

"Hutchinson has impressively transferred our designs into a product through its leading capabilities in precision component manufacturing and assembly. We are delighted with this development, given Hutchinson's capabilities to produce precision, miniature devices in ultra-high volume" said James Howarth, CML's Director of Engineering.

CML's first OIS actuator entered production at Hutchinson in 2014 for assembly into cameras by Foxconn. Smartphones containing theses cameras started shipping at the beginning of this year. CML's latest actuator is being supplied to several tier 1 camera module integrators to be made broadly available to the world's major handset brands.

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CML Board Adviser Appointed as Chief Executive of Rolls Royce

Thursday, July 2nd 2015

CML is delighted to announce that CML Board Adviser Warren East today begins his new appointment as CEO of the world renowned engineering giant Rolls Royce. Warren has been a non-executive director of Rolls Royce since January 2014 and will maintain his position of adviser to CML's Board.

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CML's OIS Product Enters India Smartphone Market

Friday, June 26th 2015

The InFocus M530 smartphone with CML's smart metal OIS camera was launched today in India. It is available to buy from India's leading online retailer SnapDeal.

India is becoming the next major growth market for smartphones, driven by low cost devices, expanding retail availability, and wealthier middle-class consumers. Analysts predict around 120 million smartphones will be sold in India this year, placing it as the third largest regional market following China and the USA.

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Ian Rogers joins CML as Electronics Commercial Director

Monday, May 11th 2015

Ian Rogers has joined CML as Electronics Commercial Director, where he will lead all commercial activities for silicon and electronics.

Ian graduated from Southampton University with a BSc in Electronics, and subsequently completed an MSc. Prior to joining CML, Ian led miniature camera R&D activities at Nokia and Blackberry, where he also held sourcing management positions.

Ian is really excited to be joining CML , and contributing to the company's ongoing success in developing and productionising OIS solutions for mobile applications.

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InFocus M530 Smartphone with SMA OIS Receives Glowing Camera Reviews

Thursday, March 19th 2015

The InFocus M530 is the first handset shipping with CML's SMA OIS cameras and has received universally positive feedback about the OIS camera performance.

Translations from the reviews sites have been included below, along with links to the original articles.

PC Online China

"Regardless of handshake, the InFocus easily takes good photos thanks to OIS technology, resulting in beautiful image quality."

"Photo quality could be among the best in similar class handsets. The camera maybe one of the InFocus M530’s strongest selling points."

PC Home China

"For photography during the day, the InFocus M530 is outstanding in comparison to other handsets of similar price."

"The rear facing 13MP camera with OIS produces eye catching night time photos."

"The 13MP combined with OIS shows very powerful capabilities at night, consistently taking extremely clear photos."

iMobile China

"Excellent camera performance outdoors, adjusting effortlessly between light and dark conditions."

Yide Communcations

"OIS is essential for night-time photography."

"Thanks to OIS, in poor lighting conditions whether indoors or outdoors, the InFocus M530 takes photos with no noticeable shake."

ePrice Taiwan

"Although the photo was taken in gloomy conditions... as a result of OIS, [it] showed no sign of handshake."

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Cambridge Mechatronics at MWC, Barcelona 2-5 March 2015

Tuesday, February 17th 2015

Cambridge Mechatronics will be attending MWC, Barcelona. Please contact us to arrange a meeting. Email.

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Analysts Predict Further Rapid Growth of Smartphone OIS Camera Demand

Monday, January 19th 2015

ResearchInChina has published its latest "Global and China CCM (CMOS Camera Module) Industry Report, 2014-2015." It highlights the surge in demand for OIS enabled cameras this year. Please find below excerpts from the report:

"In 2014, the global CCM market size was worth about USD16.402 billion, growing by 13.4% from 2013, mainly stimulated by higher pixel counts of mobile phone cameras and OIS. It is expected that OIS will expand rapidly in 2015, spurring the CCM market to rise by 15.9% to USD19.018 billion.

In 2014, the iPhone 6Plus took the largest share of OIS enabled mobile phones with shipments of 18.20 million (about 25%), followed by the Samsung Galaxy Note4 with shipments of about 6 million. It is projected that the Samsung Galaxy S6 and most flagship phones in China will use OIS, and next generation Apple phones will also fully adopt OIS. It is estimated that shipments of mobile phones adopting OIS will amount to 178 million in 2015, surging 145% from 2014, and will reach 361 million in 2017.

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Cambridge Mechatronics Patented OIS Camera Product Launches in Smartphones

Thursday, January 8th 2015

On 8 January 2015, Taiwanese smartphone brand InFocus launched its latest handset, marking the debut of SMA OIS actuators to the consumer marketplace. This follows over three years of development at Cambridge Mechatronics facilities, resulting in over 20 patents covering the design of smart metal micro actuators, precision control algorithms and drive electronics.

The InFocus M530 is a 5.5" screen device powered by the octocore Mediatek MT6595 processor. The 13Mpixel OIS camera is supplied by Foxconn and includes an SMA OIS actuator produced by CML's manufacturing partner Hutchinson Technology (HTI). HTI and Foxconn are in full mass production of SMA OIS actuators and cameras respectively in their manufacturing facilities in the US and China.

The M530 has a retail price of 7998 NTD (248 USD). The addition of OIS functionality to a handset at this price point is indicative of the mass adoption trend of OIS in smartphones, as handset brands continue to bring DSC specifications and ever improving camera image quality throughout their product range.

Benchmarks of the M530 camera demonstrate comparable shake suppression to flagship OIS handsets from the leading worldwide and Chinese brands. The design of CML's SMA product makes it particularly rugged to mechanical impact (drop testing) and provides high image quality by reducing optics de-focus from motion tilt. The simple structure also allows camera integration to ramp quickly to high capacity.

Gartner analysts forecast the size of the mobile device market to be over 2.1 billion units in 2015. CML and HTI are expanding their automated production lines to supply additional program awards and in preparation for the significant ramp of OIS adoption in smartphones by the middle of this year.

Full product details can be found on the InFocus website.

The phone can be purchased from the InFocus eStore.

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Foxconn is First Customer for SMA OIS Actuators

Friday, August 1st 2014

Cambridge Mechatronics Ltd. (CML) announced today that the first customer for its smart metal alloy (SMA) optical image stabilization (OIS) actuators is Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd, headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan.

CML and its partner, Hutchinson Technology Inc. (HTI) have been developing OIS actuators in collaboration with Foxconn's camera division for over 18 months to deliver the first SMA OIS smartphone cameras into production and to define a roadmap of next generation products. Following design wins in May, smartphones with cameras built by Foxconn using SMA OIS actuators will reach the market in September of this year.

The pairing of HTI's fully automated production facilities and the scale of Foxconn's manufacturing operations will allow OIS cameras using CML's smart metal technology to be produced in volumes of millions a month, with the ability to quickly ramp capacity according to customer demand. The three companies began collaborating to respond to the escalating demand for high resolution OIS smartphone cameras produced at a competitive cost.

"After our joint program of development and production investment, Foxconn is now in a position to integrate the SMA OIS actuator into its camera modules on high volume production lines to satisfy customer demand," said Kelvin Chu of Foxconn’s camera division sales.

Keith Johnson, HTI’s Director of New Business Development Marketing & Sales commented, "We are delighted to be working with Foxconn to deliver the first SMA OIS smartphone cameras to the market and to define future products that leverage our large scale, automated production capacity and our many years of experience as a critical precision component supplier to the hard disk drive industry."

"HTI and Foxconn constitute the ideal supply chain to deliver SMA OIS actuators into the market and produce the volumes and quality that the smartphone market requires," stated Dominic Webber, CML's Director of Marketing.

CML Contact:
Dominic Webber
Director of Marketing
44 (0) 1223 450190

HTI Contact:
Keith Johnson
Director of NBD Marketing & Sales
1 320 587 1203

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CML Announces Hutchinson Technology as OIS Actuator Manufacturing Partner

Friday, August 1st 2014

Hutchinson's expertise and volume manufacturing capability ideally suited to bring OIS product to the market

Cambridge Mechatronics Ltd. (CML) is pleased to announce that its development and manufacturing partner for its optical image stabilization (OIS) actuator products is Hutchinson Technology Incorporated (HTI).

Based in Minnesota, U.S. and with manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Asia, HTI is a leading manufacturer of micro-scale precision electromechanical products. Their scope of operations includes fully automated component manufacturing and assembly, in-house precision tooling, and state of the art quality systems.

HTI’s current core business is the design, development and manufacturing of suspension assemblies - the precision actuator component that holds the recording head in a hard disk drive - of which it produces in excess of one million per day. This capability makes HTI ideally suited to bring the OIS actuator product to the market.

"We recognize the potential for volume growth of OIS-enabled cameras for the smartphone market, and we are delighted to be able to supply a key component,” said Rick Penn, President and CEO of HTI. “CML's actuator design, based on its smart metal technology, is ideally suited to leverage our established expertise and capabilities, using the production equipment and manufacturing processes that we have developed and refined for our hard disk drive suspension assemblies. The smart metal based product has a number of competitive advantages for the smartphone camera market, including the ability to miniaturize, to provide a reliable volume supply and to ultimately drive down costs. HTI has decades of experience supplying precision components for products in the consumer electronics market with its unparalleled demands for capacity, quality, continuous improvement and cost competitiveness. We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to bringing this OIS actuator to the market in conjunction with CML."

Martin Knight, Chairman of CML, said, "HTI is perfectly suited to the mass manufacture of the OIS actuator product. Its ability to develop and manufacture precision components in large volume at competitive cost will enable us to further our existing market penetration of the smartphone camera market. We are excited by the huge potential for sales of this product."

CML Contact:
Dominic Webber
Director of Marketing
44 (0) 1223 450190

HTI Contact:
Keith Johnson
Director of NBD Marketing & Sales
1 320 587 1203

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Warren East Joins CML as Adviser to the Board

Friday, August 1st 2014

The Board of Cambridge Mechatronics is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Warren East as Adviser to the Board. He brings an unrivalled knowledge of the mobile phone market, from his position as CEO for twelve years of ARM Holdings plc, (ARM), the semiconductor and software design company. During this time, ARM's turnover increased fivefold and its market capitalisation grew to £12.3 billion, predominantly as a result of its penetration of the smartphone market.

Commenting on this appointment, Martin Knight, Chairman of Cambridge Mechatronics, said: "The Board of Cambridge Mechatronics will benefit a great deal from the advice and wisdom of Warren East as we grow our smartphone camera business. His experience of working with the major corporations that dominate the smartphone industry will be invaluable as we seek further adoption of our technology and products from a broad range of smartphone vendors and mobile phone camera integrators."

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Cambridge Mechatronics Making Available OIS for 20Mpixel Smartphone Cameras

Monday, June 9th 2014

The requirement for ever increasing pixel count in smartphones has increased the demand for large format image sensors delivering specifications up to 20Mpixels. Image sensor manufacturers are scaling up capacity for 1/2.3" and 1/2.6" arrays and CML will make available compatible OIS actuators. Customer evaluation parts are scheduled for Autumn 2014.

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Cambridge Mechatronics OIS Actuators Shipping to Production Orders

Friday, May 30th 2014

SMA OIS actuators are now shipping in production to customer orders following successful evaluation by camera module integrator and smartphone customers. SMA OIS cameras have been designed into handsets for launch in Autumn 2014 and actuator and camera production lines are ramping to meet demand.

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Analysts and Component Suppliers Forecast Strong Growth of Smartphone OIS

Monday, March 3rd 2014

The Mobile World Conference in Barcelona this year saw many announcements and product releases. However, respected online analyst Electronics 360 chose to focus on the impact of novel sensors on the smartphone market - in particular gyroscopes for Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS). Below are some extracts from the article.

"OIS removes hand jitter and improves picture and video image quality in smartphone cameras", said Ali Foughi, (gyroscope vendor) InvenSense's vice president of marketing and business development. "A sensor-based OIS solution will bring the digital SLR, still camera experience to mobile devices. OIS for mobile phones is ramping, and we see it as a significant growth area," Foughi said.

"Besides offering better picture quality, OIS may jumpstart consumer interest in the mature medium to high-end smart phone categories, segments that have seen recent sales slowing down as lower-end phones come to market with improved functionality", noted Marwan Boustany, senior analyst for MEMS and sensors in mobile and consumer technology, at IHS. "Until manufacturing processes mature to handle large volumes, we won't see this take off in a big way." Boustany said.

Throughout 2013, OIS handsets were steadily released by several brands and established this feature as a major trend for smartphones. Penetration reached around 5% however it is widely recognised that the capability of the OIS camera supply chain has limited its addition to models with relatively modest shipment volumes.

CML anticipated this scenario and expected the supply inertia of the classical voice coil motor products to limit the rate of OIS adoption. As such, its own OIS products are designed for ease of high volume manufacture - both of the lens motor and integrated camera module. CML is working with selected actuator and camera manufacturing partners with an exemplary track record of high volume, high yield production.

The key selection criteria for manufacturing partners specifically required highly automated production equipment that provides quality stability and high volume capacity, thus avoiding the performance variation and volume ramp inflexibility inherent in using manual processes and production lines.

Production of CML's OIS actuators and cameras has begun for initial programs, with capacity plans in place to deal with volumes of even the highest selling handset models.

The original Electronics 360 article can be found here.

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Cambridge Mechatronics Recruiting to Resource Transition to OIS Mass Production

Wednesday, February 26th 2014

Cambridge Mechatronics is entering an exciting new phase, bringing into production its new and disruptive OIS actuator products. Using CML's proprietary smart material technology, these make possible cameras with leading edge performance in the compact form factors demanded by the world's largest smartphone brands.

We are looking for dynamic and ambitious engineers to join our growing team of world-class technologists, who will make their mark on our products. These positions have arisen out of this exciting phase of transitioning from technology and product development to mass production.

For further details, please see our careers page.

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Cambridge Mechatronics at MWC, Barcelona 24-27 February 2014

Friday, January 17th 2014

Cambridge Mechatronics will be attending MWC, Barcelona from 24 to 27 February 2014. Please contact us to arrange a meeting. Email

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