ASTRI licenses ground-breaking phone camera technologies to APP
[Hong Kong, 30 September 2010] The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) held a special ceremony today (30 September) to formally license its home-grown anti-shaking compact camera module technologies to AP Photonics Limited (APP), a newly established Hong Kong-based company tapping into the global camera phones market.
The agreement was signed by Dr Cheung Nim-kwan, ASTRI’s Chief Executive Officer, and Dr Kam Lau, Founder and Chairman of APP, and witnessed by Miss Janet W.C. Wong, Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, and Dr Patrick Wang Shui-chung, Chairman of the Board of ASTRI.
ASTRI CEO Dr Cheung Nim-kwan (sitting, left) and APP Founder and Chairman Dr Lau Kam-chiu (sitting, right) signed the agreement. The signing was witnessed by Ms Janet Wong Wing-chen, Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, and Dr Patrick Wang Shui-chung, Board Chairman of ASTRI.
Dr Cheung was delighted to see that another ASTRI’s technology was transferred to the industry for commercialization. He said, “The signing of this licensing agreement is a recognition of Hong Kong’s competitiveness in technology-related industries. I am confident that the commercialization of ASTRI’s intellectual properties by APP will not only attract further investments in related industry sectors, but also significantly enhance Hong Kong as a spawning ground for technology.”
The agreement involves eight patents developed by ASTRI’s specialists in the last three years. They allow anti-shaking and auto-focusing functions to be combined into one compact module, which will enhance phone cameras to produce clear images under poor lighting and shaky conditions. With its innovatively-designed actuator at a size of 8.5mm x 8.5mm x 4.8mm, the module is known to be the first and the most compact of its kind in the industry worldwide.
In addressing the audience at the Ceremony, Dr Lau said, “ASTRI has proven and strong R&D team credentials and is an industry leader in compact size anti-shaking technology. To me, it is a ‘hidden gem’ in technology.” By signing the agreement, Dr Lau saw an enormous market opportunity for his new business ahead. “The projected high demand for digital camera translates into a global market size of 1.2 billion units for camera phones in 2013. As components of the conventional optical anti-shaking technologies of digital still camera are too large to be applied to phone cameras, ASTRI’s high-quality, innovative module becomes highly attractive to top tier mobile phone producers,” he said.
Dr Lau, an alumnus of the Hong Kong Polytechnic (the forerunner of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University), has spent more than 30 years in the US and is now an established US entrepreneur. He obtained his bachelor and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and had served as a Research Engineer at the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) in the US.
APP was founded as a subsidiary of the US-based Automated Precision Inc. (API), another enterprise founded by Dr Lau in 1987, and a vehicle for its new consumer electronics business and related R&D activities targeting at the global market. With its strong commitment in commercialising the ASTRI technologies, APP has set up its headquarters in the Hong Kong Science Park in proximity to the research institute, allowing further collaboration in R&D. Hong Kong will benefit from the operation of APP by not only the potential tax revenue, but also the wealth of experience and knowhow in technology commercialization of its founder, which will further encourage entrepreneur endeavour in the local high-tech industry. Furthermore, APP plans to employ 40 to 50 staff in the Hong Kong office within the next five years, offering technological training to talents in Hong Kong.
Automated Precision is the world leader of advanced metrology solutions for industrial and research applications. Founded by Dr Kam Lau in 1987, API has pioneered progressively higher standards of accuracy for coordinate measuring and machine tool operations. API products are installed and used by all of the world’s leading aerospace, automotive, machine tool, and CMM manufacturers, including the US Department of Defense, Ford, GM, Mercedes Benz, Pratt-Whitney, Caterpillar, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. API’s experienced engineering team is unmatched in its ability to deliver advanced metrology products which meet the needs of rapidly evolving industrial technologies.