While not likely to be implemented in the near future, Samsung‘s MEMS (Micro Electromechanical System) shutter is a technology to look out for in the world of mobile phones. Shutters allow light to the sensor for a determined amount of time and more quickly prepare the sensor for another shot by physically blocking light from the sensor as the image is transferred to memory. No matter the advantage to image quality, mechanical weight and voltage requirements have kept their application in the mobile phone arena impractical.
However, with Samsung’s technology, MEMS shutters could theoretically be made to work within the tiny bodies and power reserves of today’s mobile phones. Since launch, the iPhone’s camera has come under considerable fire for lack of autofocus, zoom, video, flash and very slow reaction times. While many of these are features deliberately left out of Apple’s firmware and may be addressed in OS 3.0, it is safe to say that in 2009, the iPhone’s camera is not sweating from being ahead in the races, but rather behind.
Samsung’s MEMS type shutter closes with a 30V electrical charge and opens again when no electrical force is applied. Samsung have not revealed if their technology is headed for consumer devices or not, but it is probably safe to say that as mobile phone cameras increase in pixel count the need for a shutter will come to light.