Friday, October 18, 2019

AAA Tests Pedestrian Detection

AAA report on pedestrian detection in modern cars ADAS emphasizes a limited efficiency of the camera-based systems. The night time tests were especially disappointing:

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Sony and Yamaha Launch Cart for Night Journeys

Sony announces that the Sociable Cart SC-1, jointly developed with Yamaha Motor, will begin service on November 1, 2019. The first phase of this service launch will take place in Okinawa Prefecture's Kanucha Bay Resort in Nago City, and the Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City.

Sociable Cart SC-1 features image sensors capable of vision beyond that of human capacity on all sides of the vehicle, allowing it to sense the surrounding environment using images that are in-focus in all directions. Moreover, the ultra-high sensitivity characteristics of the image sensors and the high-resolution display installed inside the vehicle allow the passengers to see their surroundings at night even without any headlights. The SC-1 also incorporates mixed reality (MR) technology developed by Sony that can superimpose computer graphics onto the surroundings being displayed on the monitor. This turns the area that used to be taken up by windows, where passengers could only see the scenery, into an entertainment area, thereby enabling a more enjoyable mobility experience.

The initial service, Moonlight Cruise, is a night-time showcase where passengers ride on SC-1 after dark. Rather than being controlled by the passengers, SC-1's ultra-high sensitivity image sensors and high-resolution display start by showing the night-time scenery and overlaying entertainment content generated by the MR technology, while passengers are free to sit back and enjoy the experience.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

AnandTech on Huawei 7680fps Slow Motion

AnandTech attempts to figure out the technology behind Huawei Mate 30 Pro smartphone 7680fps slow motion:

One of the headline features of the Mate 30 Pro is its super slow motion capabilities. Most smartphones available on the market today, if they offer slow motion, do it at either 120 fps, 240 fps, or up to 960 fps. This typically comes in the form of a sensor and system that can take 120 frames per second video and do clever interpolation to appear as if it is a higher frame rate. We’ve seen some good and bad solutions here.

The way that traditional slow motion cameras work is on a sliding scale – the trade-off between frame rate is resolution. If you reduce the area of the sensor that needs to take the image by one quarter, then technically the fast memory storing the video data can store 4x as much – as long as you can poll data from the sensor at 4x the speed, it should be good to go.

It seems that Huawei is doing a mix of things here to get 7680 fps. The camera offers several settings, which comes with a slider from 2x to 256x. Any setting 32x or lower gives a 1080p video, while 64x and higher gives a 720p video:

  • 1080p at 120 fps = 4x speedup
  • 1080p at 240 fps = 8x speedup
  • 1080p at 960 fps = 32x speedup
  • 720p at 1920 fps = 64x speedup
  • 720p at 7680 fps = 256x speedup

Samsung Doubles its Efforts to Overtake Sony

BusinessKorea: Samsung is trying to leverage its advantage in advanced processes to overtake Sony on image sensor market. "Samsung Electronics' System LSI Business Division is expected to boost its image sensor sales and market share as it secured LG Electronics as one of its corporate customers. Major smartphone makers including China's Xiaomi and Oppo also reportedly adopted Samsung's image sensors for their latest products. Therefore, Samsung's share in the image sensor market is expected to grow."

FLIR Launches Deep Learning Camera, Lattice Demos SensAI

FLIR Firefly DL combines Sony image sensor with Intel-Movidius AI processor in a compact body for relatively low price of $299:

Charbax publishes a demo of similar compact AI camera based on Lattice SensAI FPGA framework:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

IPVM Tests Laser Impact on Security Cameras

IPVM publishes the results of its testing of lasers impact on surveillance cameras:

"Our testing showed it is difficult to permanently damage surveillance cameras because:
  • Close range required: Permanent damage did not occur from distance of ~50 feet or further from the camera, regardless of the strength of the laser we tested.
  • Aiming by hand difficult: Targeting a laser towards a camera is difficult from more than ~10' away. Attaching the laser to a stationary object for aiming makes sensor damage much more likely.
Striking or shooting a camera is far more likely to damage a camera than using a laser.

Finally, at close range (5-10'), even small, less than 5 mW laser pointers using AAA batteries (e.g., the ones used to play with pets) were able to damage sensors, albeit only a few pixels at a time. High powered 30,000 mW lasers more quickly damaged sensors and in larger "chunks" of pixels, but were also able to effectively "cook" the camera, creating smoke within a few seconds of steady aiming."

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

PRNewswire: 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."