Monday, February 25, 2013

Rambus Announces Binary Pixel Technology

Business Wire: Rambus announces Binary Pixel technology including image sensor and image processing architectures with single-shot HDR and improved low-light sensitivity in video and snapshot modes.
"Today’s compact mainstream sensors are only able to capture a fraction of what the human eye can see," said Dr. Martin Scott, CTO at Rambus. "Our breakthrough binary pixel technology enables a tremendous performance improvement for compact imagers capable of ultra high-quality photos and videos from mobile devices."

This binary pixel technology is optimized at the pixel level to sense light similar to the human eye while maintaining comparable form factor, cost and power of today’s mobile and consumer imagers. The sensor is said to be optimized at the pixel level to deliver DSLR-level dynamic range from mobile and consumer cameras. The Rambus binary pixel has been demonstrated in a proof-of-concept test-chip and the technology is currently available for integration into future mobile and consumer image sensors.

Benefits of binary pixel technology:
  • Improved image quality optimized at the pixel level
  • Single-shot HDR photo and video capture operates at high-speed frame-rates
  • Improved signal-to-noise performance in low-light conditions
  • Extended dynamic range through variable temporal and spatial oversampling
  • Silicon-proven technology for mobile form factors
  • Easily integratable into existing SoC architectures
  • Compatible with current CMOS image sensor process technology

Rambus published a demo video showing its Digital Pixel capabilities.


  1. Sadly, there is nothing in Rambus' web pages that provides even a hint of the theory of operation for this new "binary" pixel.

    In the mind of this old analog dog, binary is not usually associated with a large dynamic range... we were schooled way back when that binary has a DR of 1 bit, or 2:1.

    Do they mean that their pixel is "binary" in the same was as Pixim's pixels are binary in that they have an ADC/pixel architecture?

  2. Maybe Eric Fossum sold his idea to them???

  3. Rambus has done its own work on binary pixels. See:
    Vogelsang, T.; Stork, D.G.; , "High-dynamic-range binary pixel processing using non-destructive reads and variable oversampling and thresholds," Sensors, 2012 IEEE , vol., no., pp.1-4, 28-31 Oct. 2012
    which builds on work by Vetterli et al at EPFL (gigavision camera), and which, to some degree, is related to my work.
    The QIS is a binary pixel sensor but where a bit corresponds to a photoelectron.
    There is a good chance that we can hear more about all this work at the next IISW workshop at Snowbird, depending on the outcome of the technical program committee and chair deliberations.


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