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Embedded Lens Controllers

CL160 Embedded Lens Controllers

Embedded Lens Controllers

Key features:

  • One channel output
  • Include constant current lens drive and lens EEPROM data communications
  • -400 mA to +400 mA in 0.11 mA steps
  • Compatible with Optotune EL-16-40 TC lens
  • Full current calibration with lens temperature compensation (pre-calibrated lenses only)

Application benefits:

  • Precision, embedded controller for Optotune lenses
  • Compatible with the most common communication protocols for embedded devices

Gardasoft can now offer embedded lens controllers in addition to stand-alone industrial lens controllers. The Embedded Lens Controller will be available as a compact PCB and supplied as a completed, tested, miniature solution that is designed to be fitted inside the lens or into the user’s equipment.

This controller is currently available in small quantities as an engineering sample for development use only. The product will become available in volume quantities during 2022. Full documentation on use of the Embedded Lens Controller Engineering Sample will be available from January 2022. If you would like further information, please contact Gardasoft and we will be very glad to help.

It may be possible to purchase the product as a design module that can be pasted into the user’s PCB design files. If you are interested in this option, please contact Gardasoft for further information.

The Embedded Lens Controller includes a constant current lens driver, in addition to an EEPROM communications link. The communications link can extract calibration data from lenses that have temperature compensation data stored on an internal EEPROM, such as the EL-16-40. However, the Embedded Lens Controller can still service applications without any embedded EEPROM calibration data.

With a fast focus change, the Embedded Lens Controller offers dynamic lens control in Machine Vision Applications; for example, those that deal with varying height objects such as packaging logistics.

Microscopy and Life Sciences are also key market sectors for tunable lens control, addressing applications such as Z slices, Light sheet imaging, in vivo (live tissue) imaging, and many types of automated imaging.

The Embedded Lens Controller can be communicated with using I2C or UART covering the most commonly used interface protocols for embedded equipment. This communication can be used for:

  • Changing the configuration of the lens
  • Setting the optical power
  • Checking the status of the lens
  • Detecting errors, such as a disconnected lens

For additional ease of use, it is not necessary for the user to configure the Controller. Gardasoft is able to pre-configure it to the requirements prior to shipping. Also, the Controller has a non-volatile memory, so automatically retains the configuration and calibration settings during power outages.

The Embedded Lens Controller is designed specifically for high-volume, OEM applications. For lower volume applications please refer to the CL180 Industrial Lens Controller.


Compatible with Optotune focus tunable lenses

Optotune lenses

Optotune’s focus tunable lenses provide a versatile and compact solution to adjust the focus within milliseconds. As no translational mechanics are involved such systems are robust and achieve billions of cycles.

The technology of Optotune’s shape-changing lenses is based on a combination of optical fluids and a polymer membrane. To tune the lens, fluid is pressed into the center of the lens by a current controlled voice coil thus changing the curvature of the membrane and with that the focal length of the lens.

The waveform can be continuously output or can be output once for each application of an external trigger signal. The repetition period of the sequence can be set from 5ms (200Hz) to 30 seconds. For other focus profiles, the lens optical power can also be controlled by an analog input voltage. The user can configure the mapping of analog voltage conversion to optical power store it in onboard memory. Again, Gardasoft can install this configuration prior to shipping the unit.


In many applications, the tunable lens will be required to cycle through a repetitive focus profile. The Embedded Lens Controller can accommodate this by featuring built-in focus sequences as follows:

  • Square wave
  • Sawtooth
  • Sine
  • Staircase
  • Triangle
  • User configurable

Embedded Tunable Lens Controller Sample Specification

Parameter Embedded Lens Controller Sample Specification
Output channels One channel, including constant current lens drive and lens EEPROM data communications. Automatically reads data from EEPROM inside lens which calibrates the controller for temperature. The performance of the controller is therefore automatically tailored to each individual lens.
Lens compatibility Compatible with following Optotune lens ranges
Full current calibration with lens temperature compensation
Operating modes Three operating modes:
1. Single configurable optical power
2. Two optical powers, selected by digital input
3. Optical power set by analog input
4. Configurable single-shot or continuous waveforms 0.03Hz to 200Hz
Input Accepts digital or analog input. Active voltage can be customised from 1V to 24V. 12-bit analog measurement
Refocus latency 3ms including lens response (ideal circumstances dependent on lens specification and required focal tolerance)
Output current -400 mA to +400mA in 0.11 mA steps
Output voltage Up to 3V
User interface command and configuration interface options IIC at up to 1MHz. TTL UART up to 115200 baud
Power Input 5V to 24V DC
Operating temperature 0°C to 40°C
Humidity Up to 95% non-condensing
Operating temperature 5 to 50°C
Humidity Up to 95% non-condensing
Dimensions 26.1 mm x 19.3 mm
Standards CE, RoHS, WEEE, FCC