By Tony Henning
The latest Squiggle motor from New Scale Technologies, Inc. is the smallest linear motor on the market, the company announced last week. At 1.5 x 1.5 x 6 mm, New Scale says the new SQL-1.5 piezoelectric motor is half the size of competing micro-motors. It also offers a 20 gram push force and sub-micron position resolution, performing ten times better than its closest competitor on both counts. The company says the SQL-1.5 is easier to manufacture and draws lower power than the liquid lens approach. It is also much further down the road to commercialization — having already been designed into next-generation auto-focus and optical zoom assemblies by leading camera module developers, who support the top tier handset manufacturers.
“The SQL-1.5 opens a whole new range of performance for miniature electronic systems such as phone cameras and medical devices,” said New Scale president David Henderson. “Designers of leading edge mobile devices finally have a precise, reliable linear motor that fits within their size and power budgets. They can add motion — and hence new capabilities — where they were unable to do so before.”
The SQL-1.5 is also of interest to medical device manufacturers for a new class of implantable drug pumps and micro-valves. The motor itself is tiny, but its high precision is what enables the most dramatic reduction in overall device size. It provides more precise valve control, which permits more concentrated medications and therefore smaller fluid reservoirs. The patented ceramic motor design [“New Scale Patents Squiggle Motor,” MIR #160, November 23, 2005] generates no magnetic fields and can be made of non-ferrous materials, making it MRI-safe and image compatible.