Monday, October 14, 2019

Imec Hyperspectral Camera Detects Pythons

CBS reports that Researchers at the University of Central Florida and Imec propose to use hyperspectral camera to help Florida’s fight against the invasive Burmese python in the Everglades. The python is typically very difficult to detect because of its camouflage markings. Thermal imaging doesn’t work because pythons are cold-blooded and adopt the temperature of their surroundings.

The new hyperspectral camera works in conjunction with an LED light source that together detect a python’s reflection, rather than its heat signature:

Imec Imaging Spin-offs

Imec publishes a list of its spin-offs in chronological order. Quite many of them are imaging-related:
  • FillFactory, high speed imagers (acquired by Cypress, then sold to ON Semi)
  • XENICS - IR ROICs and imagers
  • Camargus is a start-up centered around multicamera and video stitching technology for the broadcasting market
  • Magcam - imaging of magnetic fields
  • Morrow - tunable lenses optics for everyday people’s glasses
  • Midiagnostics - lens-free-imaging based disposable blood tests
  • Spectricity - spectral sensing sensors
Recently, Imec has setup a local VC fund imec.XPAND to support the creation of more start-ups.

SmartSens Receives Award, Announces Automotive Intentions

Smartsens wins the “China’s Most Promising Company Award 2019,” jointly hosted by Ernst & Young and Fudan University School of Management. SmartSens was founded as a company focusing on security applications. While it continues to advance its lead in the Security & Surveillance industry, SmartSens is expanding its portfolio of products for artificial intelligence (AI), automotive and ADAS applications.

We are honored to have been recognized by Ernst & Young and Fudan University, and to have received the ‘China’s Most Promising Company’ Award,” said SmartSens Co-Founder Li Yue. “In recent years, China has seen historic growth in research capabilities at unprecedented speeds, and it is changing the competitive landscape of a multitude of industries, including that of CMOS image sensors. SmartSens will continue leveraging its technological edge and collaboration with industry partners to meet the demands of new applications, driving CMOS image sensing technology into a new era.

SmartSens also announces the launch of its own LED flicker suppression technology. "LED flicker suppression is a must-have feature for automotive CMOS image sensors," said Chris Yiu, CMO of Smartsens. "This time, through the independent research and development, it has been implemented on domestic CMOS image sensors. This function is believed to be a great success in the development of China's automotive electronics industry. In the future, CMOS image sensor chip products launched by Smartsens for the automotive electronics market will be equipped with this technology to help customers improve automotive electronic systems."

IHS Markit Market Data

Korea Joongang Daily quotes IHS Markit data on CIS market shares:

IFNews quotes IHS Markit report on smartphone camera market: "IHS Market states that though global smartphone market declines, yet the camera market is growing in 2019. Considering the image sensor size is increasing 40%~50% while upgrade from 16MP to 48MP or even 64MP, and total wafer demand will increase about 50% in 2019."

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Caeleste HDR, GS, BSI, Radhard Imager

Caeleste announces its presentations at Toulouse CMOS Image Sensors Workshop to be held on November 26-27, 2019. One of them is about ELFIS project - a rad-hard, GS, true HDR, BSI image sensor, already reported earlier:

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Two World's Largest Security Camera Companies Added to the US Sanctions List

Nikkei, Bloomberg, IPVM: China's largest security camera makers and face recognition AI companies have been added to the US trade sanctions list.

Hikvision is the world's largest security camera company. Hikvision has a close cooperation with Sony. The rumor is that Sony makes special image sensor versions optimized to Hikvision requirements that are exclusive to the company. From the company's web site:

"According to yearly independent research data from IHS Markit, Hikvision accounted for 19.5% of market share in global video surveillance industry in 2015, up from 4.6% in 2010, and has been ranked the No.1 market share leader globally for video surveillance equipment for five consecutive years. In 2015, Hikvision was ranked first in EMEA market with 12.2% market share, and was ranked second in Americas market with 7.3% market share.

Hikvision has established partnerships with world technology leaders including Intel, Texas Instruments, Ambarella, Sony, Hisilicon, Western Digital and Seagate.

From Dahua web site: "Dahua Technology has been ranked 2nd in the global CCTV & video surveillance equipment market according to an IHS report since 2014, and was ranked 2nd in “2018 a&s Security 50”."

According to the recent IDC report, "China's video surveillance market is relatively concentrated, with the top three vendors (Hikvision, Dahua and Uniview) having a combined market share of 56.4%. The concentrated market enhances top vendors' economies of scale effects."

Alibaba-backed Megvii filed for an IPO this summer of at least $500m in Hong Kong, while SenseTime raised $620m in a second round of funding in just two months last year and is one of the world's most valuable unicorns in artificial intelligence.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Veoneer on Automotive Thermal Camera Challenges

Veoneer presents some of the challenges in design and use of thermal camera in automotive applications:

NIT Presentation on InGaAs Imaging in Space Applications

New Imaging Technologies presentation "SWIR imaging and space applications" by Simon Ferré shows the company's solutions for space:

Counterpoint Research: Sony and Samsung Captured 85% of Smartphone CIS Market

Counterpoint Research publishes its analysis of smartphone image sensor market. Its key points are:
  • An annual revenue growth rate of up to 10%
  • The total revenue from smartphones is likely to grow above $12b
  • Smartphones is the single largest end-market accounted for nearly 70% of the overall CIS revenue in 2018
  • In 2018, each smartphone featured 2.4 image sensors on average
  • By 2020, this number is expected to be over three
  • In 1H 2019, over US$5b worth of CIS were sold in smartphones.
  • Sony Image Sensor Solutions accounted for over 20% of Sony’s total operating income during the quarter ending June 2019
  • In Q2 2019, Sony earned 195 billion yen or over US$1.8b from image sensor sales
  • Sony is planning to invest in CIS ~700 billion yen (~$6.5b) during the period of 2018~2020
  • Samsung LSI is to invest KRW 133 trillion (roughly $10.8b) for non-memory semiconductors
  • Samsung CIS business stands at ~$2.46b in terms of revenue
  • Samsung’s image sensors are used in its own phones as well as in Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Vivo, and OPPO
  • During H1 2019, Sony and Samsung together occupied approximately 85% of sales revenue
  • Smaller players like OmniVision and SK Hynix are primarily used in front cameras or multi-camera setups as supplementary sensors
  • SK Hynix plans to transform part of its DRAM fabs to production of CIS

Thursday, October 10, 2019