Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mediatek P90 SoC Imaging Capabilities

Mediatek unveils its high end P90 application processor for smartphones, aimed to compete with Qualcomm's SD 855. The new processor has an impressive imaging capabilities:

"MediaTek Helio P90 lets you capture the best pictures ever with support for a supersized 48MP camera or 24+16 MP dual cameras, bringing consumers the highest resolution advanced smartphone photography. Users can capture at 48MP with up to 30 frames per second (FPS) with zero shutter delay, or enjoy super slow-motion at 480FPS in HD to capture every moment. MediaTek brings a resolution revolution to imaging with upgraded triple image signal processors (ISPs) capable of 14-bit RAW and 10-bit YUV processing so photography enthusiasts have even more flexibility to capture and process stunning photos.

The new ISP AI engine, specially designed to provide AI camera experiences, can accurately detect faces and scenes in real-time under low light and motion conditions, making a great shot easier than ever for any user.

K-Lens Startup Presents its 3D Camera

German startup K-Lens presents its lens extension that allows 3D depth image capture with a single lens and a sensor:

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Pixels with Deeply Depleted PDs

9th International Workshop on Semiconductor Pixel Detectors for Particles and Imaging, PIXEL2018, being held these days in Taipei, Taiwan, publishes Sensor Creations Stefan Lauxtermann presentation on deep depleted pixel challenges and rewards:

Front Camera-Less Vivo Phone Officially Announced

PRNewswire: The rumor about dual display Vivo phone that eliminates the need in front selfie camera has been officially confirmed.

"With an additional 5.49-inch Super AMOLED display gracing the phone's back, NEX Dual Display Edition successfully delivers an unconventional smartphone experience by allowing greater flexibility in using the rear cameras. Snapping high-quality selfies is now easier than ever before, as users can simply use the main cameras along with the rear screen to get the perfect angles for selfies."

On the rear of the phone, there are 3 cameras:

"NEX Dual Display Edition's triple camera setup consists of a 12MP Dual-Pixel main camera (featuring a Sony IMX363 sensor and 4-axis OIS), a specialized Night Video Camera and an innovative Time of Flight (TOF) 3D Camera.

The three cameras make the perfect combination for capturing beautiful moments and taking selfies from any angle. The pro-level Night Video Camera helps users film clear and stable footage in motion and low-light environments, while the TOF 3D Camera empowers users to see the world with an added dimension. Its 3D sensing capabilities not only enables point-to-point distance measuring, but also supports 3D Modeling of the user's face for enhanced facial recognition, protection and personalized beautification.

PhoneArena publishes nice explanatory pictures of the new phone:

Rumor: Sony to Announce 38MP Sensor For Smartphones

DeviceSpecifications reports a rumor that Sony is about to announce 1/1.8-inch 38MP sensor for smartphones. The new sensor is said to have a number of interesting features:
  • Quad Pixel Phase Detect AF (QP2DAF)
  • Ambient Light Sensor (ALS)
  • 24fps speed at full resolution
  • Dual sensor synchronization
  • Dual Bayer and White HDR coding pixel array

Monday, December 10, 2018

Gigajot Raises $4m

Gigajot files a form on completion of $4m fundrising. Not much more info has been revealed so far.

CEA-Leti Curved Sensor Technology Flyer

CEA-Leti Pixcurve technology flyer promotes the technology:

"Pixcurve is a proof of concept, introducing Leti’s latest curving technology for various optical components, such as visible imagers, ┬Ádisplays, bolometers and IR detectors. This technology addresses companies’ growing interest in a range of curved optical components that will help them achieve higher levels of performance and compensation for optical aberrations, while minimizing the vignetting effect and enhancing field of view. It makes cameras, imagers or microdisplays even more compact and easy to assemble."

Facial Recognition Controversy

The Verge, Independent, Seattle Times: AI Now Institute consisting of Microsoft, Google and New York University employees publishes "AI Now Report 2018" talking about dangers of facial recognition for society. The group calls on governments to regulate the use of AI and facial recognition technologies before they can undermine basic civil liberties.

Microsoft President Brad Smith posted a similar message in the company's blog:

"We believe it’s important for governments in 2019 to start adopting laws to regulate this technology. The facial recognition genie, so to speak, is just emerging from the bottle. Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues. By that time, these challenges will be much more difficult to bottle back up.

After substantial discussion and review, we have decided to adopt six principles to manage these issues at Microsoft. We are sharing these principles now, with a commitment and plans to implement them by the end of the first quarter in 2019.

ACLU: Department of Homeland Security published details of a U.S. Secret Service plan to test the use of facial recognition in and around the White House. The ultimate goal seems to be to give the Secret Service the ability to track “subjects of interest” in public spaces.

Voice of America, KCRA: Atlanta International Airport, which is the Delta Airlines hub, has become the first in the US to permit passengers to use facial recognition technology to get on flights. After the first check-in, passengers can also use face recognition to pass through security and to get on the plane. Delta says the system prevents the need for travelers to present their passport up to four times during the usual check-in process.

Singapore's Changi airport, Amsterdam's Schiphol, and Aruba International Airport already offer biometric check-in and boarding capability at some gates and terminals. Airports in Japan are rolling out facial recognition boarding facilities at several airports this year. China's Hongqiao International Airport is also using facial recognition for security screening. London's Heathrow plans to start testing an end-to-end facial recognition program next year.

FedScoop: A recent NIST research says that facial recognition accuracy has improved dramatically over the last 5 years:

"The technology has undergone an “industrial revolution” that’s made certain algorithms about 20 times better at searching databases and finding matches."

Sunday, December 09, 2018

CCD Dark Current Might Have Traces of Dark Matter

In the past, pixel dark current has been used for various purposes: identifying traps and defects (dark current spectroscopy), generating random numbers, measuring temperature, forensic picture analysis, random telegraph noise analysis, etc. One could think that nothing else can be in it. However, there appears to be one more thing. A recent Fermi Lab paper examines CCD dark current for the traces of Dark Matter. paper "SENSEI: First Direct-Detection Constraints on sub-GeV Dark Matter from a Surface Run" by Michael Crisler, Rouven Essig, Juan Estrada, Guillermo Fernandez, Javier Tiffenberg, Miguel Sofo Haro, Tomer Volansky, and Tien-Tien Yu:

"The Sub-Electron-Noise Skipper CCD Experimental Instrument (SENSEI) uses the recently developed Skipper-CCD technology to search for electron recoils from the interaction of sub-GeV dark matter particles with electrons in silicon. We report first results from a prototype SENSEI detector, which collected 0.019 gram-days of commissioning data above ground at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. These commissioning data are sufficient to set new direct-detection constraints for dark matter particles with masses between ~500 keV and 4 MeV."

Yonit Hochberg (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) review "Direct Detection of Dark Matter" explains the detection principle (DM means Dark Matter in the slides):

The Skipper CCD used in this experiment has been presented in 2017 paper "Single-electron and single-photon sensitivity with a silicon Skipper CCD" by Javier Tiffenberg, Miguel Sofo-Haro, Alex Drlica-Wagner, Rouven Essig, Yann Guardincerri, Steve Holland, Tomer Volansky, and Tien-Tien Yu. The group was able to achieve an impressive performance, such as pixel dark current of 1 electron in 3 years:

"We have developed a non-destructive readout system that uses a floating-gate amplifier on a thick, fully depleted charge coupled device (CCD) to achieve ultra-low readout noise of 0.068 e- rms/pix. This is the first time that discrete sub-electron readout noise has been achieved reproducibly over millions of pixels on a stable, large-area detector. This allows the precise counting of the number of electrons in each pixel, ranging from pixels with 0 electrons to more than 1500 electrons. The resulting CCD detector is thus an ultra-sensitive calorimeter. It is also capable of counting single photons in the optical and near-infrared regime. Implementing this innovative non-destructive readout system has a negligible impact on CCD design and fabrication, and there are nearly immediate scientific applications. As a particle detector, this CCD will have unprecedented sensitivity to low-mass dark matter particles and coherent neutrino-nucleus scattering, while astronomical applications include future direct imaging and spectroscopy of exoplanets."

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Ambient Light Rejection in SPAD-based LiDAR

MDPI Special Issue The International SPAD Sensor Workshop publishes "Background Light Rejection in SPAD-Based LiDAR Sensors by Adaptive Photon Coincidence Detection" paper by Maik Beer, Jan F. Haase, Jennifer Ruskowski, and Rainer Kokozinski from Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems, Duisburg, and University Duisburg-Essen.

"In this paper we present a novel method based on the adaptive adjustment of photon coincidence detection to suppress the background light and simultaneously improve the dynamic range. A major disadvantage of fixed parameter coincidence detection is the increased dynamic range of the resulting event rate, allowing good measurement performance only at a specific target reflectance. To overcome this limitation we have implemented adaptive photon coincidence detection. In this technique the parameters of the photon coincidence detection are adjusted to the actual measured background light intensity, giving a reduction of the event rate dynamic range and allowing the perception of high dynamic scenes. We present a 192 × 2 pixel CMOS SPAD-based LiDAR sensor utilizing this technique and accompanying outdoor measurements showing the capability of it. In this sensor adaptive photon coincidence detection improves the dynamic range of the measureable target reflectance by over 40 dB."