Monday, January 20, 2020

Samsung-Corephotonics Unveils Foveated Automotive Camera

Smartphone folded-zoom lens and multi-camera solutions developer Corephotonics acquired by Samsung a year ago, announces its first product since the acquisition - Roadrunner automotive camera:

Thanks to AB for the pointer!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Omnivision Aims to Close the Gap with Sony and Samsung and Lead the Market in 1 Year

IFNews quotes Laoyaoba interview with Omnivision's SVP of Global Sales Wu Xiaodong giving a lot of interesting info about the company plans:
  • Omnivision's 64MP high-end smartphone sensor is expected to enter mass production soon this year
  • Although in terms of global market share Omnivision ranks third with 12.4%, it scores first with 48% share in security, second with 30% share in autonomous vehicles, first with 50% in computing, first with 48% in emerging businesses such as IoT, and first with 81% share on medical CIS market
  • From 2018 to 2019, the overall CIS market size grew at AAGR of 20%. After 2020, AAGR is expected to go down to 10%.
  • In the end of August 2019, Will Semi has completed the acquisition of Omnivision and Superpix and officially renamed them to Omnivision Group
  • Omnivision Group currently has more than 2,000 customers, with annual chip shipments exceeding 13 billion.
  • Omnivision has R&D centers in the US, Japan, Europe, China, and Singapore.
  • So far, Omnivision employs a total of 1,300 engineers and has more than 4,000 patents.
  • Omnivision Group cooperates with TSMC, SMIC, Huali (HLMC), Dongfang (DDF), and other foundries.
"In the past, our gap [with Sony and Samsung has been,] may be, about one year. Last year, we were half a year behind, and our goal is to achieve new products to be leveled this year, and to achieve a lead next year," says Wu Xiaodong.

IRNova on LWIR Polarimetric Imaging

As mentioned in comments, Sweden-based IRNova publishes an application note "Polarimetric QWIP infrared imaging sensor" talking about its Garm LW Pol camera.

"Quantum well infrared photodetectors (QWIP) are by design inherently suited for polarization sensitive imaging. The detection principle in regular QWIPs relies on etched 2-D gratings to couple the light to the quantum wells for absorption. By replacing the 2D gratings with 1D (lamellar) gratings polarization sensitivity is added to the thermal detection.

Thermal imaging is a great way to detect objects, but it requires the objects to be of different temperature or to have different emissivity than the background. Polarization detection further extends the possibility to differentiate between objects that have the same temperature but consist of different materials, since infrared polarized light can be generated by reflection or emission of radiation from planar surfaces. This allows for detecting objects that are previously undetectable by an infrared detector since they may be covered under a canvas or they may have a low thermal signature like an UAV.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Event-Based News: Prophesee, Inivation, Samsung

EETimes publishes Junko Yoshida's interview with Luka Verre, Prophesee CEO. Few quotes:

"The commercial product we have is a VGA sensor. It’s in mass production. We are currently deploying shipping for industrial applications.

We have a new sensor generation, which is an HD sensor, so one million pixels, 720p. This is the result of joint cooperation we have done with Sony, which will be published at ISEC [ISSCC, probably] in February in San Francisco.

There has been some research work done together with Sony. Yes, Sony is indeed interested in event-based technology, but unfortunately I cannot tell you more than that. One of the main challenges we have been solving, moving from the VGA sensor to the HD sensor is the capability now to stack the sensor, to use a very advanced technology node that enables us to reduce the pixel pitch. So to make actually the sensor much smaller and cost-effective.

Automotive remains one of the key verticals we are targeting, because our technology, event-based technology, shows clear benefit in that space with respect to low latency detection, low data rate and high dynamic range.

...we did some tests in some controlled environments with one of the largest OEMs in Europe, and we compared side by side the frame-based sensor with an event-based sensor, showing that, while the frame-based camera system was failing evening in fusion with a radar system, our system was actually capable to detect pedestrians in both daylight conditions and night light conditions.

iniVation wins Best of Innovation award from the CES 2020 in the category ‘Embedded Vision’.

The award is for the company's newest product, the DVXplorer that uses an all-new custom-designed sensor from Samsung. DVXplorer is said to be the world’s first neuromorphic camera employing technologies suitable for mass-production applications.

Thanks to TL for the link!

Samsung's Hyunsurk Eric Ryu presented their event driven pixels at the 2nd International Workshop on Event-based Vision and Smart Cameras:

Friday, January 17, 2020

NIT Presents 7.5um Pixel InGaAs SWIR Sensor

New Imaging Technologies (NIT) is announces its first commercially available SWIR InGaAs sensor with a pitch of 7.5µm, resulting from several years of R&D development of an in-house hybridization process. This process does not use the classical indium bumps and allows manufacturing hybrid sensors with very small pitches with high yield at a reduced cost.

The first available component at 7.5µm pitch is a line array with the following characteristics:
  • Pixel Number: 2048
  • Pitch: 7.5µm
  • Line speed: 60KHz @ full line
  • Well Fill: 25 Ke-
  • Readout Noise: less than 70e-
  • Dark Current: 8 fA @ 15°C

Omron Demos its People Recognition Sensor

Inavate: Omron is to demo its second-generation digital signage body and face detection/face recognition system. The Human Vision Component HVC-P2 with OKAO Vision software features ten image sensing functions including body detection, face recognition, hand detection, age estimation, gender estimation, and expression estimation. The OKAO software can recognize faces up to 3m away and can detect a human body up to 17m away.

Sony Automotive Sensors, LiDAR, ToF

Sony publishes a video presenting its safety cocoon devices:

Thursday, January 16, 2020

FLIR Updates its Periodic Table of Image Sensors

FLIR (former Point Grey) publishes an 2020 version of its Periodic Table of Image Sensors:

"Updated for 2020 - now with over 130 machine vision sensors, incluing third generation Sony Pregius and fourth generation Sony Pregius S global shutter sensors.

With so many sensors to choose from, we understand that it could be tricky to keep track of them. This handy chart organizes over 130 sensors from classic CCDs to the latest CMOS technology by resolution and speed. We suggest printing off this free poster and laminating it, then pinning it up on your wall for easy reference.

Thanks to TL for the link!


Optics Express paper "3D LIDAR imaging using Ge-on-Si single–photon avalanche diode detectors" by Kateryna Kuzmenko, Peter Vines, Abderrahim Halimi, Robert J. Collins, Aurora Maccarone, Aongus McCarthy, Zoë M. Greener, Jarosław Kirdoda, Derek C. S. Dumas, Lourdes Ferre Llin, Muhammad M. Mirza, Ross W. Millar, Douglas J. Paul, and Gerald S. Buller from Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities, UK, presents a concept design of LiDAR with a SPAD detector cooled down to 100K:

"We present a scanning light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system incorporating an individual Ge-on-Si single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) detector for depth and intensity imaging in the short-wavelength infrared region. The time-correlated single-photon counting technique was used to determine the return photon time-of-flight for target depth information. In laboratory demonstrations, depth and intensity reconstructions were made of targets at short range, using advanced image processing algorithms tailored for the analysis of single–photon time-of-flight data. These laboratory measurements were used to predict the performance of the single-photon LIDAR system at longer ranges, providing estimations that sub-milliwatt average power levels would be required for kilometer range depth measurements.

... recently, the use of planar geometry devices [39] yielded a significant step change improvement in performance. Vines et al. [39] reported a normal incidence planar geometry Ge-on-Si SPADs with 38% SPDE at 125 K at a wavelength of 1310 nm and a noise–equivalent power (NEP) of 2 × 10−16 WHz-1/2. In addition, these devices clearly demonstrated lower levels of afterpulsing compared with InGaAs/InP SPAD detectors operated under nominally identical conditions. The high SPDEs of Ge-on-Si SPADs and their reduced afterpulsing compared to InGaAs/InP SPADs provides the potential for significantly higher count rate operation and, consequently, reduced data acquisition times. Planar Ge-on-Si SPADs exhibit compatibility with Si CMOS processing, potentially leading to the development of inexpensive, highly efficient Ge-on-Si SPAD detector arrays. Here we report a successful demonstration of LIDAR 3D imaging using an individual planar Ge-on-Si SPAD operating at a wavelength of 1450 nm.

Omnivision and Artilux to Collaborate on Ge-on-Si Sensors for Smartphones

PRNewswire: OmniVision and Artilux announce their execution of a formal letter of intent to collaborate on GeSi-based 3D sensors, after a series of evaluation and analysis. The main objective of this collaboration is to combine OmniVision's CMOS imaging technology and market position with Artilux's GeSi 3D sensing technology, and accelerate the delivery of comprehensive RGB and 3D imaging solutions to the mobile phone segment.

The new product offerings will not only cover the mainstream light sensing spectrum from visible light to 850nm/940nm, but will further extend to 1350nm/1550nm, for improved outdoor experience and eye safety for multiple growing digital imaging market segments.