Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lucid Demos Sony Polarization Sensor

LUCID Vision Labs demos Sony IMX250MYR polarized color sensor in its Phoenix camera family. The 5 MP GS sensor with 3.45µm pixel and frame rates of up to 24 fps is based on the popular IMX250 Sony Pregius CMOS color sensor with polarizing filters added to the pixel. The sensor has four different directional polarizing filters (0°, 90°, 45°, and 135°) on every four pixels:

Panasonic Develops 250m-Range APD-based ToF Sensor

Panasonic has developed a TOF image sensorthat uses avalanche PD (APD) pixels and is capable of capturing range imaging of objects up to 250m even at night with poor visibility (there is no mention what is the range in mid-day sunlight). The new sensor applications include automotive range imaging and wide-area surveillance in the dark.

The ToF pixel includes an APD and an in-pixel circuit that integrates weak input signals to enables the 3D range imaging 250 m ahead. The sensor resolution is said to be the world's highest 250,000 pixels for a sensor based on electron-multiplying pixels. This high integration is achieved through the lamination of the electron multiplier and the electron storage as well as the area reduction of APD pixels.

The key innovative technologies are:
  • The area of APD pixels is significantly reduced while the multiplication performance is maintained through the lamination of the multiplier that amplifies photoelectrons and the electron storage that retains electrons.
    The APD multiplication factor is 10,000.
  • Long-range measurement imaging technology

Trioptics Active Alignment, Assembly and Testing of Camera Modules

Germany-based Trioptics demos Procam, its modular manufacturing line for active alignment, assembly and testing of camera modules in mass production:

Fiat-Chrysler Autonomous Car Relies on 5 LiDARs and 8 Cameras

Fiat-Chrysler 5-year plan presentation shows its Level 4 autonomous car with 5 LiDARs and 8 cameras. Most of the LiDARs are defined as "mid-range" possibly meaning their range is shorter than 200m for a cheaper price:

Monday, June 18, 2018

Gil Amelio on Patent Infrigements

Investors Business Daily publishes Gil Amelio article with a story of Pictos vs Samsung lawsuit:

"A typical small inventive company, Pictos Technologies, was put out of business after Samsung aggressively infringed its intellectual property.

Pictos invented an inexpensive image sensor that could be used in countless applications such as mobile phones and automobile cameras, to name only two. This next-generation Image Sensor was a follow-on to my dozen or so image-sensing patents that helped launch the solid-state image-sensor business years earlier. The Pictos technology, developed after years of investment and design, was protected by a portfolio of patents obtained at substantial cost.

In 2014, Pictos sued Samsung in federal court, alleging that it had "willfully infringed" its intellectual property. After years of costly litigation, the case went to trial, where Pictos lawyers introduced evidence that proved Samsung began as a Pictos customer, secretly copied its engineering designs and production process, and replicated them in Korea. Using our technology and its sizable scale, it went on to dominate this sector of the world electronics market.

Following lengthy litigation, the jury ruled in our favor and awarded substantial damages. The judge then trebled the damages based on "evidence of (Samsung's) conduct at the time of the accused infringement." Please note: Samsung's behavior was so egregious that the judge tripled the jury determination of the infringement costs to us.

That was just the first round, though. The verdict can be overturned on appeal, which, of course, Samsung has filed.

Update: Once we are at historical stuff, SemiWiki publishes Mentor Graphics CEO Wally Rhines memories from the early days of CCD and DRAM imagers in Stanford University in 1960s.

Microsoft Opens Access to Hololens Cameras

Microsoft opens access to a raw video stream from cameras in its Hololens AR headset, including 3D ToF camera:

"The depth camera uses active infrared (IR) illumination to determine depth through time-of-flight. The camera can operate in two modes. The first mode enables high-frequency (30 FPS) near-depth sensing, commonly used for hand tracking, while the other is used for lower-frequency (1-5 FPS) far-depth sensing, currently used by spatial mapping. In addition to depth, this camera also delivers actively illuminated IR images that can be valuable in their own right because they are illuminated from the HoloLens and reasonably unaffected by ambient light."

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Canon Explores Large Image Sensor Future

Canon publishes an article on its image sensor projects for academic and industrial customers.

The world's largest high-Sensitivity CMOS sensor is measuring ~20 cm square. As such, a 20-cm-square sensor is the largest size that can be manufactured on 300mm wafer, and is equivalent to nearly 40 times the size of a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor:

Canon has spent many years working to reduce the pixel size for CMOS sensors, making possible a pixel size of 2.2 µm for a total of approximately 120MP on a single sensor. The APS-H size (approx. 29 x 20 mm) CMOS sensor boasts approximately 7.5 times the number of pixels and 2.6 times the resolution of sensors of the same size featured in existing products. This sensor offers potential for a range of industrial applications, including cameras for shooting images for large-format poster prints, cameras for the image inspection of precision parts, aerospace cameras, and omnidirectional vision cameras.

Friday, June 15, 2018

TrinamiX Paper in Nature

Nature publishes BASF spin-off TrinamiX paper "Focus-Induced Photoresponse: a novel way to measure distances with photodetectors" by Oili Pekkola, Christoph Lungenschmied, Peter Fejes, Anke Handreck, Wilfried Hermes, Stephan Irle, Christian Lennartz, Christian Schildknecht, Peter Schillen, Patrick Schindler, Robert Send, Sebastian Valouch, Erwin Thiel, and Ingmar Bruder.

"We present the Focus-Induced Photoresponse (FIP) technique, a novel approach to optical distance measurement. It takes advantage of a universally-observed phenomenon in photodetector devices, an irradiance-dependent responsivity. This means that the output from a sensor is not only dependent on the total flux of incident photons, but also on the size of the area in which they fall. If probe light from an object is cast on the detector through a lens, the sensor response depends on how far in or out of focus the object is. We call this the FIP effect. Here we demonstrate how to use the FIP effect to measure the distance to that object. We show that the FIP technique works with different sensor types and materials, as well as visible and near infrared light. The FIP technique operates on a working principle, which is fundamentally different from all established distance measurement methods and hence offers a way to overcome some of their limitations. FIP enables fast optical distance measurements with a simple single-pixel detector layout and minimal computational power. It allows for measurements that are robust to ambient light even outside the wavelength range accessible with silicon.

In this paper, we demonstrated the measurement principle at distances up to 2 m and showed a resolution of below 500 µm at a distance of 50 cm. In the Supplementary Information S7, distance measurements up to 70 m can be found.

F-35 Gets 6 Cameras for Surround View

PRNewswire: Surround view cameras reach defense industry. Lockheed Martin selectes Raytheon to develop and deliver the next generation Distributed Aperture System (DAS) for the F-35 fighter jet.

The F-35's DAS collects and sends high resolution, real-time imagery to the pilot's helmet from six IR cameras mounted around the aircraft, allowing pilots to see the environment around them – day or night. With the ability to detect and track threats from any angle, the F-35 DAS gives pilots situational awareness of the battlespace.