Tessera introduces new low-cost optical zoom technology for camera phones

April 30, 2008
Tessera Technologies announced the OptiML 3X zoom capability for camera module and handset manufacturers.

April 30, 2008, San Jose, CA--Tessera Technologies, Inc., provider of miniaturization technologies for the electronics industry, has announced its OptiML Zoom solution is now available for licensing. This innovative image-enhancement solution combines unique lens design with specialized algorithms to replace traditional mechanical zoom capabilities, enabling 3X optical zoom capabilities in a compact camera module without moving parts.

Mechanical zoom solutions require moving parts, making them too expensive and too large for handset manufacturers to integrate into today's smaller, thinner cell phones--they also have the potential for mechanical failures. Digital zoom solutions are inexpensive but provide poor image quality. The OptiML Zoom solution enables camera phone module makers to integrate high-quality optical zoom functionality at a significantly lower cost and with higher reliability, while enabling a reduction in the overall size of the camera module.

The OptiML Zoom technology incorporates an innovative lens design that increases the resolution in the center of the image without narrowing the field of view. The result is true optical magnification without loss of detail.

"Current Sony-Eriksson phones that offer 3X zoom are too expensive and too large for wide adoption," said Erak Kali, VP marketing, Tessera Smart Optics division (Tel Aviv, Israel). "A 3X optical zoom in a 5 megapixel sensor requires an optical track measuring between 50 to 80 mm—a prohibitive module height for compact cameras. The perception is that any mechanical solution must be confined to between 4.5 to 9 mm. Existing classical optical solutions don't fit in that."

The Tessera zoom technology incorporates an optical reticle with "extreme" redesigned optics, including an ultrafast lens that increases the light energy without compromising image quality, according to Kali. Computational algorithms offer digital signal processing that improves resolution within the field of view.

"Tessera's OptiML Zoom technology addresses many of the issues that have plagued camera phones since day one," said Tony Henning, senior analyst at Future Image, Inc. "We're optimistic about the adoption of Tessera's non-mechanical zoom capabilities by handset OEMs and module manufacturers, and the subsequent widespread availability of higher quality camera phones in the near future."

The company did not disclose which cell phone company might be incorporating the technology, but a public announcement in late December revealed Tessera had entered a non-exclusive license agreement with Toshiba for its OptiML deep-field focusing technology. Bruce Williams, CEO, has often stated that Tessera's philosophy is to offer non-exclusive licensing of its technology to multiple vendors in the industry to save time to market and reduce the need to "recreate the wheel."
For more information about the company's portfolio of image enhancement solutions, please visit: www.tessera.com/technologies/.

Other LFW articles on Tessera and OptiML technology can be found at:
www.laserfocusworld.com/ articles/323729,
www.laserfocusworld.com/ articles/318886, and

About the Author

Valerie Coffey-Rosich | Contributing Editor

Valerie Coffey-Rosich is a freelance science and technology writer and editor and a contributing editor for Laser Focus World; she previously served as an Associate Technical Editor (2000-2003) and a Senior Technical Editor (2007-2008) for Laser Focus World.

Valerie holds a BS in physics from the University of Nevada, Reno, and an MA in astronomy from Boston University. She specializes in editing and writing about optics, photonics, astronomy, and physics in academic, reference, and business-to-business publications. In addition to Laser Focus World, her work has appeared online and in print for clients such as the American Institute of Physics, American Heritage Dictionary, BioPhotonics, Encyclopedia Britannica, EuroPhotonics, the Optical Society of America, Photonics Focus, Photonics Spectra, Sky & Telescope, and many others. She is based in Palm Springs, California. 

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