Sheba Microsystems released ShebaSR™, the world’s first miniature actuator that can improve the resolution of smartphone camera images by up to 9 times. That means 9 times less artifacts and 9 times more details in the image.
“This technology is ready for market entry as the actuator’s fabrication process has been already scaled up for mass production at a prominent MEMS foundry, the MEMS driver is readily available in the market, and it has been qualified for the standard reliability tests of smartphones.”
In a saturated mobile market where camera quality is consistently a top 5 issue for consumers, cameras integrated with Sheba’s actuators will stand out from the crowd by delivering “DSLR-quality” images.
ShebaSR™ achieves the image enhancement by leveraging pixel-shift super-resolution. This technology is quickly gaining popularity in the professional camera market. In the last 6 years, major players such as Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony have released multiple models in their DSLR and mirrorless product lines with pixel-shifting abilities. Using pixel-shift super-resolution, these cameras can achieve a substantial increase in resolution which can be equivalent to up to a 4 time increase in sensor pixel count, as well as reduced noise and artifacts within each pixel using a 1/2 pixel shift. The fact that these products were all praised by reviewers for their high-quality images points to the potential of this technology in the mobile phone market.
However, image sensors for mobile phones are much smaller than professional cameras. The actuator needs to reliably shift the image sensor by sub-micron increments. The electromagnetic actuators that can work for DSLR and mirrorless cameras are too bulky to fit in the tight spaces of mobile devices and they lack the speed and accuracy to provide more than 4x the image resolution. Therefore, integrating pixel-shift technology remained difficult – until now.
“By leveraging its expertise in the MEMS actuation field, Sheba is bringing a new DSLR camera feature, long desired by smartphone camera users, into the smartphone world. ShebaSR™ can precisely shift the image sensor by a distance equal to 1/3 that of a pixel, with a repeatability of <20 nm, and an extremely high-speed response; making it not only match but surpass the most advanced DSLR pixel shifting capability using only simple super resolution algorithms.” said Faez Ba-Tis, CEO of Sheba Microsystems. “This technology is ready for market entry as the actuator’s fabrication process has been already scaled up for mass production at a prominent MEMS foundry, the MEMS driver is readily available in the market, and it has been qualified for the standard reliability tests of smartphones.”
ShebaSR™ is also remarkably rugged. The product can be subjected to shocks, drops, tumbles, as well as temperature and humidity fluctuations without deterioration in performance.
ShebaSR™ technology’s combination of unique features such as high accuracy, speed, ruggedness, durability, and reliability will effectuate a paradigm shift in the smartphone camera space.
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