Friday, July 18, 2014

DALSA on CMOS Sensors Today and Tomorrow

Spectronet publishes Teledyne-DALSA presentation "CMOS Today & Tomorrow." Few slides from the presentation:

Maybank Forecasts Wide Adoption of Dual Cameras

Maybank's Largan report predicts that dual cameras with depth perception will appear in 10% of Chinese smartphones in 2015:

"we assume Largan will continue to outgrow the smartphone industry driven by more dual/multi-camera devices. We think dual cameras can not only support 3D applications but also decrease response time, and have better depth-sensing & low light performance without increasing thickness. We estimate 10% of Chinese smartphones will bundle dual cameras in FY15 which should help Largan extend its global No.1 position and help the company to increase its ASP due to requirements for more precise technology."

Toshiba's 20MP 1.2um Pixel Sensor

In March 2014, Toshiba quietly published a web page for T4K46, a 1/2.3-inch 20MP image sensor aimed to smartphone camera market. The sensor is based on 1.2um BSI pixels. Its RAW10 frame rate is 12fps at full resolution, and 60fps in 1080p video mode. The sensor's ADC supports up to 12b resolution.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

TowerJazz Plans Dual Sourcing of 110nm CIS Process

TowerJazz Q2'14 Newsletter publishes a message from Avi Strum, VP and GM of CMOS Image Sensors Business Unit, and VP of Sales for Europe. He has served as the head of the CIS BU since its inception in 2005. Few quotes:

"Although we served this very demanding and competitive market segment in the early days up until 2008, we took a calculated decision to concentrate in the high end market segments including: photography (mainly broadcasting and cinematography), large X-ray sensors for dental and medical applications, industrial high speed global shutter sensors, 3D gesture control and automotive and security sensors."

"...the high volume products that require 65nm technology will go to TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Company while the products that require high flexibility and customization will go to TowerJazz. Both companies can also enjoy the 110nm CIS technology of Panasonic that will be transferred to Israel and thus, provide our customers dual source for their products."

"...in the X-ray sensor market, due to our patented stitching technology, we have become the largest source for such sensors and our customers dominate around 70% of the worldwide market share in the intra oral dental sensor market."

Toshiba Promotes "Bright Mode"

Toshiba publishes a Youtube video demoing its "Bright Mode" announced half a year ago:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Baird: Omnivision Regains Market Share in China

Yahoo, SeekingAlpha: Baird said its checks indicate OmniVision is regaining smartphone market share in China. Baird's analyst sees strong PureCel design activity, and forecasts margin expansion.

Imaging Companies in EETimes Hot Startups List

EETimes list "Silicon 60: Hot Startups to Watch" includes quite a lot of imaging companies:

Cognivue Corp. (Gatineau, Quebec) was spun off in 2009 from Korea's MtekVision to focus on so-called cognitive processing that uses parallel processing engines optimized for tasks such as image recognition and identification. Cognivue provides SoCs, software, and IP to capture, analyze, and render video and images for smart cameras.

Dual Aperture Inc. (Palo Alto, Calif.), founded in 2009, has developed a dual aperture RGB-IR sensor technology that can combine imaging and depth perception in a single sensor. The company is pitching the technology to form the basis of gesture recognition command and control in consumer, automotive, and industrial products.

Geo Semiconductor Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), founded in 2009, is a fabless semiconductor company that designs video and geometry processing integrated circuits (ICs). Its chips have found use in consumer displays and projection systems, and the company is extending its reach into automotive and security applications.

Gpixel Inc. (Changchun, China) develops high-end CMOS image sensor solutions for industrial, medical, and scientific applications. Founded in 2013, the company worked with foundry Tower Semiconductor Ltd. to produce a 150 Mpixel full-frame CMOS image sensor.

InVisage Technologies Inc. (Menlo Park, Calif.) is a fabless semiconductor company developing QuantumFilm, an image-sensing technology that it claims has superior performance to silicon. Its first product enables the high-resolution images from handheld devices such as camera phones and PDAs. Founded in 2006, InVisage Technologies is venture funded by RockPort Capital, Charles River Ventures, InterWest Partners, and OnPoint Technologies.

Isorg SA (Grenoble, France), founded in 2010 as a spinoff from CEA-LITEN, converts plastic and glass surfaces into smart surfaces through the application of printed, organic, optoelectronic sensors. The possibility of 3D product integration allows the recognition of many shapes and form factors. The company name is a contraction of Image Sensor ORGanic.

Pelican Imaging Corp. (Santa Clara, Calif.), founded in 2008, is commercializing array cameras for the mobile market. Pelican's array camera, essentially replacing a single image sensor with an array of devices, captures depth information and addresses challenges posed by conventional camera design and small pixels.

Softkinetic SA (Brussels, Belgium), founded in 2007, is a developer of sensor-to-software 3D gesture recognition systems. It has licensed its platform to Texas Instruments and Melexis.

TeraDeep Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.) was founded in December 2013 as a spinoff from Purdue University to focus on the design of mobile coprocessors and neural network hardware for the understanding of images and videos.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2014 Imaging Forum Registration Opens

Solid State Imaging Forum being organized by Albert Theuwissen announces its 2014 theme and a lecturer: "Advanced Digital Image Processing" by Majid Rabbani, an adjunct faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the University of Rochester (U of R), IEEE and SPIE Fellow member, and a Kodak Distinguished Inventor. The Forum is to be held on Dec. 11-12, 2014, in Voorburg, the Netherlands. The audience will be strictly limited to enhance and stimulate the interaction with the speaker as well as to allow close contacts between the participants.

The tentative agenda is:
  • Review of fundamentals
  • Resizing or Interpolation Algorithms
  • Dynamic Range Compression (DRC)
  • Sharpening Techniques
  • Motion Estimation
  • Noise Reduction
  • Image Deblurring (Restoration)
  • Super-resolution from multiple image captures (e.g., video)
  • Object detection, recognition and image matching

The Forum registration is open now.

Monday, July 14, 2014

TSV and Image Sensors

Yole Developpement's 2014 update of "3DIC & 2.5D TSV Interconnect for Advanced Packaging" report shows that image sensors keep being the biggest application for TSV technologies in the nearest years:

ON Semi Announces Improved 8MP CCD

Business Wire: ON Semi's new KAI-08051 CCD provides improved light sensitivity, reduced read noise, and improved color accuracy compared to the previous generation device for applications such as Intelligent Traffic, Surveillance, Medical Imaging, and Industrial Inspection. The KAI-08051 shares the same 5.5um pixel architecture, 8MP resolution, 15fps readout rate, and 4/3 optical format as the existing KAI-08050, but improves its performance through the use of an improved amplifier design, newly optimized microlens structure, and new color filter pigments in both Bayer and Sparse color configurations. The KAI-08051 is backward compatible with the KAI-08050, requiring at most minor modifications to the firmware used in existing camera designs.

"CCD image sensors continue to provide the critical image quality required in many key applications," said Chris McNiffe, VP Image Sensor Business unit at ON Semiconductor. "The enhanced performance available from the new KAI-08051 Image Sensor reflects our on-going commitment to improve the capability of our existing products and to deliver the industry’s most advanced image sensors using both CCD and CMOS technology."