Patents by Inventor James Howarth

James Howarth has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Publication number: 20240229778
    Abstract: A shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator assembly (1) comprising: a movable part (100); a support structure (3); one or more SMA wires arranged, on contraction, to tilt the movable part relative to the support structure about two orthogonal axes that are perpendicular to a primary axis (O) of the support structure; and axial translation constrainers (16) configured to limit axial translation of the movable part relative to the support structure along the primary axis of the support structure, wherein the axial translation constrainers are arranged to prevent all points of the movable part from simultaneously reaching their most extreme position along the primary axis of the support structure allowed by the range of possible tilt of the movable part relative to the support structure.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 29, 2022
    Publication date: July 11, 2024
    Inventors: Nicolas Heijne, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, James Howarth, Adam South
  • Publication number: 20240188659
    Abstract: Haptic glove for providing haptic feedback to a user's hand, the haptic glove comprising: a base portion and one or more finger portions extending from the base portion, wherein each finger portion is pivotally movable relative to the base portion, and one or more cables, each comprising a distal end connected to a respective finger portion and a proximal end extending towards the base portion; and one or more cable control assemblies, at least one cable control assembly comprising: a constrain mechanism configured, when engaged, to constrain movement of the proximal end of a respective cable relative to the base portion, thereby constraining movement of a respective finger portion relative to the base portion, and an SMA wire arranged, on contraction, to engage or disengage the constrain mechanism.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 13, 2022
    Publication date: June 13, 2024
    Inventors: Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, James Howarth, Stephen Matthew Bunting, David Ooi
  • Publication number: 20240133366
    Abstract: A shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator assembly (1) comprising: a movable part (100); a support structure (3); one or more SMA wires arranged, on contraction, to tilt the movable part relative to the support structure about two orthogonal axes that are perpendicular to a primary axis (O) of the support structure; and axial translation constrainers (16) configured to limit axial translation of the movable part relative to the support structure along the primary axis of the support structure, wherein the axial translation constrainers are arranged to prevent all points of the movable part from simultaneously reaching their most extreme position along the primary axis of the support structure allowed by the range of possible tilt of the movable part relative to the support structure.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 28, 2022
    Publication date: April 25, 2024
    Inventors: Nicolas Heijne, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, James Howarth, Adam South
  • Patent number: 11953701
    Abstract: An SMA actuator is arranged to tilt the mirror in a zoom camera to effect optical image stabilization. The actuator may comprise four angled-V SMA wires. The actuator may alternatively comprise a gimbal flexure and SMA wires. In this case there may be four SMA wires or two SMA wires and two springs. The SMA wires may be straight wires or wires hooked in a V shape.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 2, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 9, 2024
    Assignee: CAMBRIDGE MECHATRONICS LIMITED
    Inventors: Robin Eddington, James Howarth
  • Patent number: 11927181
    Abstract: An SMA actuation apparatus (1) comprises a support structure (2) and a movable element (3) supported thereon by a suspension system (8, 10) that supports the movable element on the support structure and guides movement of the movable element along a movement axis. Two closely spaced lengths of SMA wire (4) that are close to parallel and inclined at the same acute angle with respect to a plane normal to the movement axis are connected to the support structure and to the movable element so as to apply respective forces to the movable element with respective components parallel to the movement axis that are in opposite directions. The two lengths of shape memory alloy wire apply a couple to the movable element perpendicular to the movement axis and the suspension system includes a pair of flexures or bearings that resist the resultant couple applied to the movable element by the lengths of SMA wire.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2019
    Date of Patent: March 12, 2024
    Assignee: CAMBRIDGE MECHATRONICS LIMITED
    Inventors: Andrew Brown, Andreas Flouris, James Howarth
  • Publication number: 20240035454
    Abstract: Broadly speaking, the present techniques provide specific arrangements of shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator wires in SMA actuation apparatuses. In one arrangement, a single straight shape memory alloy actuator wire may be used, which may be inclined at an acute angle greater than 0 degrees with respect to a plane normal to the movement direction. In another arrangement, two straight lengths of shape memory alloy actuator wire may be used, where the SMA wires may be inclined at an acute angle greater than 0 degrees with respect to a plane normal to the movement direction.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 6, 2023
    Publication date: February 1, 2024
    Inventors: Stephen Matthew Bunting, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, Marc-Sebastian Scholz, James Howarth
  • Publication number: 20240026866
    Abstract: A shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator assembly comprising: a support structure (211); a moveable part (213) moveable relative to the support structure; at least one SMA wire (202) having a first portion and a second portion respectively attached to the support structure and the moveable part, the said SMA wire is configured to, on contraction, drive movement in the moveable part at least in a primary axis along which the shortest side of the SMA actuator assembly extends; an intermediate component (220) engaging the SMA wire at a location between the first and second portions, the second portion of the SMA wire being arranged at an oblique angle to both the primary axis and the first portion of the SMA wire.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 6, 2021
    Publication date: January 25, 2024
    Inventors: Robert Langhorne, Robin Eddington, James Howarth, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown
  • Publication number: 20230400702
    Abstract: An actuator assembly (2) comprising: first (50) and second (60) parts that are movable relative to each other; and one or more actuating units, each actuating unit comprising: a force-modifying mechanism (72) connected to the first part (50); a coupling link (78) connected between the force-modifying mechanism (72) and the second part (60); and an SMA wire (80) connected between the first part (50) and the force-modifying mechanism (72) for applying an input force on the force-modifying mechanism (72) thereby causing the force-modifying mechanism (72) to apply an output force on the coupling link (78) and causing the coupling link (78) to apply an actuating force on the second part (60); wherein the coupling link (78) is compliant in a direction perpendicular to the direction of the actuating force.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 22, 2021
    Publication date: December 14, 2023
    Inventors: Robin Eddington, James Howarth, Valerio Polenta, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, Adam South, Konstantinos Pantelidis, Stephen Matthew Bunting
  • Publication number: 20230384862
    Abstract: Broadly speaking, embodiments of the present techniques provide haptic button assemblies in which the haptic button has a low profile while still providing a satisfying tactile response or sensation to a user. Advantageously, the haptic button assemblies may have a profile that, for example, enables the assembly to be incorporated into the free space along an edge of a portable computing device. The haptic assemblies may, for example, be arranged to move the button perpendicularly with respect to the edge of the device.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 7, 2023
    Publication date: November 30, 2023
    Inventors: David Kuan Wei Ooi, Peter Van Wyk, Joshua Carr, Thomas James Powell, Marc-Sebastian Scholz, Andreas Flouris, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, Stephen Matthew Bunting, Dominic George Webber, James Howarth
  • Patent number: 11815073
    Abstract: Broadly speaking, the present techniques provide specific arrangements of shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator wires in SMA actuation apparatuses. In one arrangement, a single straight shape memory alloy actuator wire may be used, which may be inclined at an acute angle greater than 0 degrees with respect to a plane normal to the movement direction. In another arrangement, two straight lengths of shape memory alloy actuator wire may be used, where the SMA wires may be inclined at an acute angle greater than 0 degrees with respect to a plane normal to the movement direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 2022
    Date of Patent: November 14, 2023
    Assignee: CAMBRIDGE MECHATRONICS LIMITED
    Inventors: Stephen Matthew Bunting, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, Marc-Sebastian Scholz, James Howarth
  • Publication number: 20230328348
    Abstract: An actuator assembly comprising: a support structure; an image sensor assembly comprising an image sensor having a light-sensitive region, the image sensor assembly being suspended on the support structure in a manner allowing movement of the image sensor assembly relative to the support structure; and at least two flexible printed circuits, each electrically connected at one end to the image sensor assembly, wherein the flexible printed circuits fold around the image sensor assembly such that their other ends are at the same side of the image sensor assembly.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 31, 2021
    Publication date: October 12, 2023
    Inventors: Konstantinos Pantelidis, Adam South, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, James Howarth, Robin Eddington, Paul Windle, Andreas Flouris
  • Patent number: 11782287
    Abstract: Embodiments of the present techniques provide methods for assembling and manufacturing shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator assemblies, which may also advantageously simplify the process of, speed-up the process of and/or reduce the cost of manufacturing SMA actuator assemblies.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 30, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 10, 2023
    Assignee: CAMBRIDGE MECHATRONICS LIMITED
    Inventors: Robin Eddington, James Howarth
  • Patent number: 11781534
    Abstract: Broadly speaking, embodiments of the present techniques provide an actuator that comprises segments of shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator wire that can be used to deliver a relatively large output stroke. In particular, two segments of SMA actuator wire may be mechanically coupled together around a corner of a static component of the actuator such that a displacement (e.g. contraction) of one segment causes a displacement (e.g. contraction) of the other segment. In this way, the displacement of each segment combines in an additive manner to generate a large output stroke that is able to move a moveable component of the actuator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 16, 2022
    Date of Patent: October 10, 2023
    Assignee: CAMBRIDGE MECHATRONICS LIMITED
    Inventors: James Howarth, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, Robin Eddington
  • Publication number: 20230296731
    Abstract: A resonant actuator assembly (1) comprising: a support structure (3); a movable part (5) that is capable of relative motion with respect to the support structure; and an actuator arrangement (7) arranged to drive relative motion of the movable part, the resonant actuator assembly being arranged to provide a restoring force to the movable part on displacement from an equilibrium position with respect to the support structure, and the actuator arrangement being arranged to drive the relative motion of the movable part at a resonance of the resonant actuator assembly, the restoring force being non-linear with the displacement.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 1, 2021
    Publication date: September 21, 2023
    Inventors: Joshua Carr, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, James Howarth
  • Publication number: 20230296961
    Abstract: A camera assembly is disclosed. The camera assembly comprises: a first part; a second part tiltable with respect to the first part, the second part including an image sensor and a lens system, wherein the lens system is above the image sensor with respect to a primary axis passing through the image sensor; a drive system configured, in response to drive signals, to cause tilting of the second part with respect to the first part, wherein the tilting is about first and/or second axes which are not parallel and which are perpendicular to the primary axis; and one or more flexible connectors operatively connected to the second part, wherein the one or more flexible connectors are routed to pass between the second part and the first part below the image sensor with respect to the primary axis.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 16, 2021
    Publication date: September 21, 2023
    Inventors: Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, Adam South, James Howarth, Joshua Carr, Robin Eddington, Stephen Bunting
  • Patent number: 11762468
    Abstract: Broadly speaking, embodiments of the present techniques provide haptic button assemblies in which the haptic button has a low profile while still providing a satisfying tactile response or sensation to a user. Advantageously, the haptic button assemblies may have a profile that, for example, enables the assembly to be incorporated into the free space along an edge of a portable computing device. The haptic assemblies may, for example, be arranged to move the button perpendicularly with respect to the edge of the device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 2019
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2023
    Assignee: CAMBRIDGE MECHATRONICS LIMITED
    Inventors: David Kuan Wei Ooi, Peter Van Wyk, Joshua Carr, Thomas James Powell, Marc-Sebastian Scholz, Andreas Flouris, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, Stephen Matthew Bunting, Dominic George Webber, James Howarth
  • Patent number: 11725636
    Abstract: Broadly speaking, embodiments of the present techniques provide mechanisms for electrically connecting shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator wires of an actuation device to a power or current source via at least one connection element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2021
    Date of Patent: August 15, 2023
    Assignee: CAMBRIDGE MECHATRONICS LIMITED
    Inventors: James Howarth, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, Stephen Matthew Bunting, Robert Langhorne, Martin McBrien
  • Publication number: 20230250810
    Abstract: A shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator comprising: a support structure (10); a moveable part (20) movable relative to In the support structure; plural SMA components (30) connecting the support structure and the movable part, the SMA components are operable to controllably change the position and/or orientation of the moveable part in two or more degrees of freedom; a controller (12) for controlling the operation of the SMA components in a first operating mode during normal operation and a second operating mode in response to an event; and means configured to, during the second operating mode, maintain at least partial control of the moveable part with a subset of the plural SMA components.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 17, 2021
    Publication date: August 10, 2023
    Inventors: Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, James Howarth, Robert Langhorne, René Kist
  • Publication number: 20230236474
    Abstract: An actuator assembly (23) includes a first part (24), a second part (25), and a bearing arrangement (26) mechanically coupling the first part (24) to the second part (25). The actuator assembly (23) also includes a drive arrangement (11, 20) including a total of four lengths of shape memory alloy wire (141, 142, 143, 144). The drive arrangement (11, 20) and the bearing arrangement (26) are configured such that the second part (25) is movable towards or away from the first part (24) along a primary axis (z), and the second part (25) is movable relative to the first part (24) along a first axis (x) and/or a second axis (y). The first and second axes (x, y) are perpendicular to the primary axis (z) and the second axis (y) is different to the first axis (x).
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 16, 2021
    Publication date: July 27, 2023
    Inventors: Stephen Matthew Bunting, Oliver Hart, Joshua Carr, David Ooi, Andrew Benjamin Simpson Brown, James Howarth, Robin Eddington
  • Publication number: 20230213836
    Abstract: A shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator (100) for a camera assembly, comprising:—a support structure supporting an electronic component, wherein the electronic component is susceptible to interference caused by magnetic flux;—a moveable part moveable relative to the support structure; one or more SMA components (12) connected between the moveable part and the support structure, wherein the one or more SMA components are configured to, on contraction, drive movement of the movable part;—a first electrical path and a second electrical path defined between, and/or including, each of the one or more SMA components (12) and respective electrical terminals (3a); and wherein the first and second electrical paths of each of the one or more SMA components are configured to, at least in part, extend adjacently to and in parallel with each other, and enabling the electrical current in the respective paths to flow in opposite directions, so as to minimise combined magnetic flux from the first and second electrical paths into
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 26, 2021
    Publication date: July 6, 2023
    Inventors: Robin Eddington, James Howarth, Konstantinos Pantelidis, Stephen Matthew Bunting, Daniel John Burbridge, Oliver Hart, Joshua Carr, Peter Van Wyk, Stephen Kindness