Monday, June 18, 2018

Gil Amelio on Patent Infrigements

Investors Business Daily publishes Gil Amelio article with a story of Pictos vs Samsung lawsuit:

"A typical small inventive company, Pictos Technologies, was put out of business after Samsung aggressively infringed its intellectual property.

Pictos invented an inexpensive image sensor that could be used in countless applications such as mobile phones and automobile cameras, to name only two. This next-generation Image Sensor was a follow-on to my dozen or so image-sensing patents that helped launch the solid-state image-sensor business years earlier. The Pictos technology, developed after years of investment and design, was protected by a portfolio of patents obtained at substantial cost.

In 2014, Pictos sued Samsung in federal court, alleging that it had "willfully infringed" its intellectual property. After years of costly litigation, the case went to trial, where Pictos lawyers introduced evidence that proved Samsung began as a Pictos customer, secretly copied its engineering designs and production process, and replicated them in Korea. Using our technology and its sizable scale, it went on to dominate this sector of the world electronics market.

Following lengthy litigation, the jury ruled in our favor and awarded substantial damages. The judge then trebled the damages based on "evidence of (Samsung's) conduct at the time of the accused infringement." Please note: Samsung's behavior was so egregious that the judge tripled the jury determination of the infringement costs to us.

That was just the first round, though. The verdict can be overturned on appeal, which, of course, Samsung has filed.

Update: Once we are at historical stuff, SemiWiki publishes Mentor Graphics CEO Wally Rhines memories from the early days of CCD and DRAM imagers in Stanford University in 1960s.

Microsoft Opens Access to Hololens Cameras

Microsoft opens access to a raw video stream from cameras in its Hololens AR headset, including 3D ToF camera:

"The depth camera uses active infrared (IR) illumination to determine depth through time-of-flight. The camera can operate in two modes. The first mode enables high-frequency (30 FPS) near-depth sensing, commonly used for hand tracking, while the other is used for lower-frequency (1-5 FPS) far-depth sensing, currently used by spatial mapping. In addition to depth, this camera also delivers actively illuminated IR images that can be valuable in their own right because they are illuminated from the HoloLens and reasonably unaffected by ambient light."

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Canon Explores Large Image Sensor Future

Canon publishes an article on its image sensor projects for academic and industrial customers.

The world's largest high-Sensitivity CMOS sensor is measuring ~20 cm square. As such, a 20-cm-square sensor is the largest size that can be manufactured on 300mm wafer, and is equivalent to nearly 40 times the size of a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor:

Canon has spent many years working to reduce the pixel size for CMOS sensors, making possible a pixel size of 2.2 µm for a total of approximately 120MP on a single sensor. The APS-H size (approx. 29 x 20 mm) CMOS sensor boasts approximately 7.5 times the number of pixels and 2.6 times the resolution of sensors of the same size featured in existing products. This sensor offers potential for a range of industrial applications, including cameras for shooting images for large-format poster prints, cameras for the image inspection of precision parts, aerospace cameras, and omnidirectional vision cameras.

Friday, June 15, 2018

TrinamiX Paper in Nature

Nature publishes BASF spin-off TrinamiX paper "Focus-Induced Photoresponse: a novel way to measure distances with photodetectors" by Oili Pekkola, Christoph Lungenschmied, Peter Fejes, Anke Handreck, Wilfried Hermes, Stephan Irle, Christian Lennartz, Christian Schildknecht, Peter Schillen, Patrick Schindler, Robert Send, Sebastian Valouch, Erwin Thiel, and Ingmar Bruder.

"We present the Focus-Induced Photoresponse (FIP) technique, a novel approach to optical distance measurement. It takes advantage of a universally-observed phenomenon in photodetector devices, an irradiance-dependent responsivity. This means that the output from a sensor is not only dependent on the total flux of incident photons, but also on the size of the area in which they fall. If probe light from an object is cast on the detector through a lens, the sensor response depends on how far in or out of focus the object is. We call this the FIP effect. Here we demonstrate how to use the FIP effect to measure the distance to that object. We show that the FIP technique works with different sensor types and materials, as well as visible and near infrared light. The FIP technique operates on a working principle, which is fundamentally different from all established distance measurement methods and hence offers a way to overcome some of their limitations. FIP enables fast optical distance measurements with a simple single-pixel detector layout and minimal computational power. It allows for measurements that are robust to ambient light even outside the wavelength range accessible with silicon.

In this paper, we demonstrated the measurement principle at distances up to 2 m and showed a resolution of below 500 µm at a distance of 50 cm. In the Supplementary Information S7, distance measurements up to 70 m can be found.

F-35 Gets 6 Cameras for Surround View

PRNewswire: Surround view cameras reach defense industry. Lockheed Martin selectes Raytheon to develop and deliver the next generation Distributed Aperture System (DAS) for the F-35 fighter jet.

The F-35's DAS collects and sends high resolution, real-time imagery to the pilot's helmet from six IR cameras mounted around the aircraft, allowing pilots to see the environment around them – day or night. With the ability to detect and track threats from any angle, the F-35 DAS gives pilots situational awareness of the battlespace.

imec is Back to Film, Organic Film

imec promotes its organic film image sensors:

"We demonstrated a first film measuring 6 by 8 cm – which can check 4 fingers simultaneously – and which has a resolution of 200ppi. The second film – designed for a single fingerprint – has a resolution of 500ppi. This level of accuracy is what would be typical for the FBI to identify someone correctly.

The image sensors detect visible light between 400 and 700 nm that is reflected by the skin. They can also detect light that penetrates the skin before being reflected. This latter feature is of value for detecting a heartbeat, which provides an extra security check.

The fingerprint and palm print sensor is made up of a layer of oxide thin-film transistors with organic photodiodes on top. These photodiodes can then be ‘tuned’ by using a different organic material so that they detect a different wavelength, such as near infrared. This enables the vein pattern in a hand to be visualized, which is even more precise for accurate identification than a palm print.

In addition to this fingerprint scanner based on photodiodes and light, imec and Holst Centre are also working on a scanner that uses thermal sensors (PYCSEL project). Once again a lower layer of oxide thin-film transistors is used. The upper layer is a material that measures electric temperature changes. The fingerprint is then detected indirectly by local variations in temperature changes that correspond with the pattern of the fingerprint. Here again a resolution of 500ppi is achievable.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

ON Semi Talks about Automotive Pixel Technologies

AutoSens publishes an interview with ON Semi talking about "Super Exposing" pixel that reduces LED flicker and other ON innovations for the automotive market:

Mazda CX-3 SUV Features Nighttime Pedestrian Detection

Nikkei: Mazda CX-3 compact SUV comes with, as a standard feature, an automatic emergency braking system that supports nighttime pedestrians detection:

"Nighttime pedestrians are detected by the monocular camera. To support nighttime pedestrians, in terms of software, the logic of detecting pedestrians was improved, enhancing the accuracy of recognizing pedestrians at night. Its hardware was also improved to increase the speed of exchanging data between the [Mobileye] EyeQ3 image processing chip and memory."

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

More AutoSens Detroit Interviews

AutoSens publishes more interviews from Detroit:

Xenomatix talks about many design wins for its LiDAR:

Tetravue talks about its technology:

FLIR talks about thermal camera for automotive applications:

Algolux talks about its ML algorithms: