[CEATEC] Low-cost Anti-shake Technology Developed for Phonecams

Oct 7, 2008
Katsumi Yamashita, Nikkei Electronics
The effect of the new anti-shaking technology being demonstrated. On the left is the photo shot with the anti-shaking capability turned off. The shutter speed was 1/15 second and the ISO sensitivity was 50. On the right is the photo taken with the anti-shaking capability activated. The technology reduced the blur by raising the shutter speed to 1/333 second and setting the ISO sensitivity at 1,100 in accordance with the shutter speed.
The effect of the new anti-shaking technology being demonstrated. On the left is the photo shot with the anti-shaking capability turned off. The shutter speed was 1/15 second and the ISO sensitivity was 50. On the right is the photo taken with the anti-shaking capability activated. The technology reduced the blur by raising the shutter speed to 1/333 second and setting the ISO sensitivity at 1,100 in accordance with the shutter speed.
[Click to enlarge image]

Epson Toyocom Corp developed and demonstrated a new anti-shaking technology for digital camera function of small devices such as mobile phones at CEATEC JAPAN 2008.

The technology corrects photos by calculating the amount of blur using an angular velocity sensor (gyro sensor) as existing technologies do, but it detects the amount of blur at a different timing.

The new technology predicts the amount of blur at the moment of releasing the shutter, using the data it collects immediately before the release. The existing technologies refer to the amount of blur at the moment of releasing the shutter.

"The amount of blur does not vary much between the moment immediately before releasing the shutter and the moment of releasing the shutter," Epson Toyocom spokesperson said. "Therefore, the degree of shaking at the moment of releasing the shutter can be predicted with high accuracy using the data that the angular velocity sensor detects right before releasing the shutter."

The anti-shaking technology adjusts the shutter speed and the ISO sensitivity based on the amount of shaking predicted in this manner. In other words, when a large amount of shaking is predicted, it raises the shutter speed and optimizes the ISO sensitivity in line with the shutter speed.

"The technology sets the shutter speed as low as possible in accordance with the amount of blur," the spokesperson said. "That's because the photo becomes dark if the shutter speed is too high."

The advantage of the new technology is "the fact that it can realize an anti-shaking capability at a low cost," he continued. "It realizes a stabilizer system at a low cost because the technology only requires a microcontroller and an angular velocity sensor." Existing anti-shaking technologies require a dedicated optical system and a memory chip for image processing, for example.

The new technology is, however, inferior to the existing technologies in photo quality after the blur correction.

"It's a simple technology. It is, therefore, suited for such applications as mobile phones, which have a limited packaging area and are under severe cost pressure," the spokesperson said.

As the development is already completed, Epson Toyocom can offer the technology at anytime if requested by clients, he said.