Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Next iPhone Dual Camera Rumors

DPReview quotes Business Weekly Taiwan newspaper speculations that the next Apple iPhone might have a dual rear camera, similar to HTC M9+ and Huawei Honor 6+ phones. The original article talks about an interview with Largan CEO Linen Ping and the chances that Largan business would surge in future. No credible source was cited for these rumors.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Plasmonic Color Filters Review

Glasgow University, UK thesis "Structured Photonic Materials for Multi-Spectral Imaging Applications" by Iain James Hugh McCrindle presents a nice overview of the progress in plasmonic and metamaterials-based color filter designs. There are still not really competitive with pigment-based CFAs, but might improve over time:

Plasmonic CFA response (on planar surface)

IFTLE on Stacking Technology Progress

Insights From Leading Edge blog overviews image sensor stacking progress and recent publications. "Given the continued, aggressive stacked CIS development underway from independent device manufacturers (IDM) and foundries it’s predictable that stacked chip adoption will occur very rapidly over the next few years."

Sony ISX014 Stacked dice (Chipworks)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Free Book on Photon Seeing

It came to my attention that The National Academies Press book "Seeing Photons: Progress and Limits of Visible and Infrared Sensor Arrays" (2010) is available for free download. The authors of the book are stated as Committee on Developments in Detector Technologies, Standing Committee on Technology Insight—Gauge, Evaluate, and Review, and Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences. The book is heavily skewed toward military and space applications:

Talking about the progress of single photon detecting technology, the book has predicted in 2010:

There is also in interesting graph comparing DRAM capacity with imager resolution growth:

and a comparison of LWIR technologies:

Friday, June 26, 2015

Sony Fast 1-inch Sensor Videos

Imaging Resource posts a nice compilation of Sony 1-inch sensor 960fps slow motion videos. While other slow motion videos were published in the official RX100 and RX10 Sony playlist, these video clips have long advertisement tails:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

DALSA TurboDrive Compresses Image Data on the Fly

Marketwired: Teledyne Dalsa presents TurboDrive, a proprietary and patent-pending data encoding technology that allows some DALSA GigE Vision cameras to achieve breakthrough speeds, increasing throughput by as much as 150% while retaining 100% image data.

"We're pleased to deliver an innovative speed advantage to customers who need to push beyond the current GigE bandwidth limitations with no loss of data," commented Mark Butler, Product Marketing Manager for Teledyne DALSA, "It's available now in our low-cost Linea line scan cameras, and will continue in future area cameras set to launch in the fall."

The company's technology primer explains how the compression works:

"Leveraging neighborhood effect Image entropy is the first principle used in TurboDrive. But to reduce even further the number of bits required to encode pixel information (with no loss of information), TurboDrive considers the neighborhood effect. The neighborhood of a pixel is the collection of pixels that surround it. Although the exact distance of a neighbor can vary, in this analysis, we will limit our example to the adjacent pixels (i.e. those that directly touch the reference pixel).

For most pixels, there is little pixel to pixel variation and a lot of redundancy. Therefore, it is possible to efficiently use the information of the adjacent pixels to more efficiently encode the reference pixel. One way to see this is looking at a high-pass 2D filter implemented using a convolution. A simple high-pass filter has the sum of all of its coefficients equal to 0. The filter we use in our model has a 3x3 mask and it provides the largest weight to the center pixel.

The result of this filter provides the difference between the reference pixel at the center, and four of its closest neighbor. It can be seen that, for a uniform image, the 9 pixels have the same value and the result out of this filtering operation is 0. Essentially, the less pixel to pixel variation, the smaller the value output by this high-pass filter. One can intuitively understand it takes less bits to encode a small value than to encode a large value. Obviously, it is possible to play with the weights of the 9 filter coefficients of this model to adapt to the image content."

Sharp Launches 14 New Progressive CCDs

Sharp keeps investing in CCD development, presenting 14 new products and few more marked "under development:"

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pixpolar MIG Pixel in Space Applications

ESA Technology Exchange: Pixpolar pixel has been considered for ESA space programs, although the original article only mentions "A Finnish company [that] has developed a new image sensor technology based on patented MIG (Modified Internal Gate) pixel architecture."

"The Company has participated in the development of a silicon drift detector (SDD) for X-ray applications within the TRP activity. The main goal of the project was to introduce extremely low noise SDD macro-pixels for X-ray detection applications. The Company is able to produce very low noise photon detectors for X-ray, visible, UV, near infra-red, and particle detection applications. MIG sensors are ideally suited for Space application as they enable simultaneously asteroid tracking as well as direct detection of planets around stars through continuous readout. Increasing the frame rate does not increase the noise, there are no interface issues, and they are tolerant to radiation damage."

IISW 2015 Review: Stacked Sensors

Albert Theuwissen continues his IISW review, this time talking about stacked sensors from Omnivision, Sony, Olympus, TSMC, and NHK.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

IISW 2015 Pictures

16-megapixel IISW 2015 group picture and few others are posted on the Workshop site. If participants have interesting photos to post they are welcome to email them to jsolhusvik@imagesensors.org to add them to the web page.