Friday, July 20, 2018

Andor Teases BSI sCMOS Sensors

Andor publishes a teaser for its oncoming Sona BSI sCMOS sensor-based cameras calling them "the world's most sensitive," to be officially unveiled on July 24, 2018:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Nobukazu Teranishi Receives Emperor Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon

Nobukazu Teranishi receives the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon from the Emperor of Japan. The Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon is awarded for great achievements in science, engineering, sports, arts.

3D-enabled Smartphone Shipments to Exceed 100M in 2018

Digitimes quotes China-based Sigmaintell forecast that Ggobal shipments of smartphones with 3D sensing cameras are to top 100m units in 2018, with Apple being the primary supplier, followed by Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.

Light Raises $121m from SoftBank and Leica

Light Co. announces a Series D funding round of $121m, led by the SoftBank Vision Fund. Leica Camera AG too participated in the financing.

The new funding will allow Light to expand its platform into security, robotic, automotive, aerial and industrial imaging applications. Later this year, the first mobile phone incorporating Light’s technology will be available to consumers around the world.

Light’s technology is a revelation, showing that several small, basic camera modules, combined with highly powerful software, can produce images that rival those produced by cameras costing and weighing orders of magnitude more. We’re just getting started. Having the support of SoftBank Vision Fund as a strategic investor means this technology will see more of the world sooner than we could have ever imagined,” said Dave Grannan, Light CEO and Co-founder.

With the rapid development of the computational photography, partnering with the innovators at Light ensures Leica to extend its tradition of excellence into the computational photography era,” said Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Leica Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

It is humbling to have the support of the most iconic camera brand in the world. We are excited by the overwhelming potential of the collaboration with Leica,” said Dr. Rajiv Laroia, Light CTO and Co-founder.

The SoftBank Vision Fund investment will be made in tranches, subject to certain conditions.

Light’s technologies, including its Lux Capacitor camera control chip and its Polar Fusion Engine for multi-image processing, are available for licensing for use in applications like smartphones, security, automotive, robotics, drones, and more.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Imaging Resource on Nikon Image Sensor Design

Imaging Resource publishes a very nice article "Pixels for Geeks: A peek inside Nikon’s super-secret sensor design lab" by Dave Etchells. There is quite a lot on Nikon-internal stuff that has been publicly released for the first time. Just a few interesting quotes out of many:

"Nikon actually designs their own sensors, to a fairly minute level of detail. I think this is almost unknown in the photo community; most people just assume that “design” in Nikon’s case simply consists of ordering-up different combinations of specs from sensor manufacturers.

In actuality, they have a full staff of sensor engineers who design cutting-edge sensors like those in the D5 and D850 from the ground up, optimizing their designs to work optimally with NIKKOR lenses and Nikon's EXPEED image-processor architecture.

As part of matching their sensors to NIKKOR optics, Nikon’s sensor designers pay a lot of attention to the microlenses and the structures between them and the silicon surface. Like essentially all camera sensors today, Nikon’s microlenses are offset a variable amount relative to the pixels beneath, to compensate for light rays arriving at oblique angles near the edges of the array.
"

Apparently, Nikon uses Silvaco tools for pixel device and process simulations:

Taiwanese CIS Makers Look for New Opportunities

Digitimes reports that Silicon Optronics and Pixart, and backend houses Xintec, VisEra, King Yuan Electronics (KYEC) and Tong Hsing Electronic Industries are moving their focus to niche markets as they fail to find grow in the mainstream smartphone cameras.

Kingpak manages to survive on smartphone market due to its contract with Sony to provide backend services for CIS. Other Taiwan-based CIS suppliers are unable to grow in smartphone applications, despite promising demand for multi-camera phones.

Meanwhile, Silicon Optronics (SOI) has held its IPO on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) on July 16. Its share price has raised by 44.55% in its first day of trading.

Mantis Vision Raises $55m in Round D

PRNewswire: Mantis Vision announces the closing of its Series D round of $55m with a total investment of $83m to date. New funds will serve to extend the company's technological edge, accelerate Mantis Vision's go-to-market strategy, expand its international workforce and support external growth opportunities. The Series D investment was led by Luenmei Quantum Co. Ltd., a new investor in Mantis Vision, and Samsung Catalyst Fund, an existing shareholder of the company.

Mantis Vision and Luenmei Quantum also announced the formation of a new joint venture, "MantisVision Technologies", to further strengthen Mantis Vision's position and growth in the Greater China Market.

Mantis Vision is planning to double its global workforce with an additional 140 employees in Israel, U.S., China and Slovak Republic by the end of 2020. As part of the latest series funding, Mantis Vision will expand its pool of talent engineers for advanced R&D algorithmic research in computer vision and deep learning, advanced optics experts, mobile camera engineers, 3D apps developers and 3D Volumetric studio experts amongst other open positions in program management and business development.

According to So Chong Keung, Luenmei Quantum Co. Ltd. President and GM: "Luenmei Quantum is closely following the Israeli high-tech industry, which creates outstanding technology. Mantis Vision's versatile and advanced 3D technologies is well positioned and suited for mobile, secure face ID applications and entertainment industries in China. We found that Mantis Vision is the right match for Luenmei Quantum, combining hi-tech, innovation and passion."

According to Gur Arie Bitan, Founder and CEO of Mantis Vision: "This latest announcement is another proof of Mantis Vision's meteoric advancements in this recent period, technologically and business-wise. We regard our continued partnership with Samsung Catalyst Fund and Luenmei Quantum Co. as a strategic partnership and thanks to our new joint venture, we will be able to further strengthen our grip in the Greater Chinese market."

NIST Publishes LiDAR Characterization Standard

Spar3D: NIST's Physical Measurement Laboratory develops an international performance evaluation standard for for LiDARs.

An invitation was sent to all leading manufacturers of 3D laser scanners to visit NIST and run the approximately 100 tests specified in the draft standard. Four of the manufacturers traveled to NIST (one each from Germany and France) to participate in the runoff. Another sent an instrument during the week for testing. Two other manufacturers who could not attend have expressed interest in visiting NIST soon to try out the tests. These seven manufacturers represent about four-fifths of the entire market for large volume laser scanners.

The new standard ASTM E3125 is available here.

Monday, July 16, 2018

PMD Presentation at AWE 2018

PMD VP Business Development Mitchel Reifel presents the company ToF solutions for AR and VR applications at Augmented World Expo:

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Panasonic PIR and Thermopile Sensor Presentation

Panasonic publishes a video presenting its PIR and Thermopile sensor lineup: