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Snap! Nokia's gyro stabilised camera tech now on open market

Nothing stays still for long in camera development

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The tech that makes Nokia's smartphone cameras so awesomely good has become available on the open market for the first time.

Gyroscopic stabilisation, which means cameras' shutters can stay open for longer without blurring the final image, has been around for a while in digital cameras.

Cramming the technology into the minute space available inside a mobile phone – even one with a small bulge on the back – has been something pretty unique.

Chipmeisters ST Microelectronics have now announced the L2G2IS, a tiny two-axis gyroscope for image stabilisation. The packaged chip is 2.3 x 2.3 x 0.7mm and includes a sensing element which puts out the angular rate through a digital interface. The mechanics are micro-machined on silicon.

It's not a cheap part, at $1.70 per unit in quantities of 1000. By contrast, that's about three times what a handset manufacturer pays for a cheap set of headphones, but with the multi-million pound deals any substantial handset manufacturer would do, there is plenty of room for the price to come down.

Favoured customers will have been apprised of the device for a while so it may appear in some phones at Mobile World Congress at the end of Feburary, with possible shipments later this year. ®

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