Saturday, January 25, 2014

Eric Fossum Presents CMOS Sensor History in Fermilab

Fermilab publishes Eric Fossum's presentation "CMOS Image Sensors: Tech Transfer from Saturn to your Cell Phone", including an interesting Q&A section in the end, presented on Nov 18, 2013 (via Nuit Blanche blog):


9 comments:

  1. Nothing can escape the watchful eye of Image Sensors World blog!

    The introduction they gave me has to go down as one of the worst intro's I have ever experienced! But I am sure she meant well.

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    1. She meant well but she was still probably still reeling from being asked an outrageous fee by her previous intended speaker.

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  2. From Saturn to cameras for photographing Saturn from a backyard with a telescope made even before Voyager launches :)

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  3. That is what you get for a cheep Airline ticket. If you had asked for at least 10k of speaking fee she would have introduced you much better.

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  4. Eric,very nice overview. I had the pleasure of meeting you and Sabrina while at IDC launching the first WW imaging sensors forecast and you were pursuing suitors for Photobit in 1996-97. You two left an enormous impression on me. I remember well the doubt many camera and product OEMs had of the AP CIS. I think it's important to note that adoption into mass markets also came out of necessity, form factor requirements, not image quality. I also remember when Micron's imagers reached 5 MP and the unsuccessful trips to Japan, trying to sell into DSC OEMs there, only to see Sony change it's business from CCD to CIS one year later.

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  5. I found it surprising with the omission of VVL, the little spinoff from Edinburgh university and later acquired by STM, who started commercialization of the CMOS imaging technology in the late eighties before Photobit was even founded. They weren't successful outside the low-end webcam or toy markets though.

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    1. Well, this was more or less my story, not the story of the entire technology field. The late Peter Denyer at Edinburgh and then VVL, was someone I considered a friend and VVL was the sort of competition that was healthy for both companies. VVL was commercializing passive pixel sensors (PPS), like those done by Hitachi and others. The performance was fine for some low end applications but stil low, and unfortunately gave a CMOS image sensors a black eye that took a while to recover from. After Photobit was launched, and friendly debates, VVL eventually switched to APS. Still, I wish I had remembered to mention VVL during the talk because of my positive feelings about Peter. Definitely a good guy and a happy camper after the sale of VVL.

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  6. Not forgetting David Renshaw, Wang and Lu's contribution to the VVL story along with Peter Denyer.
    http://www.css.eng.ed.ac.uk/history/

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  7. BTW, there is a journal article that covers this JPL to Photobit story that was written for the National Academy of Inventors:

    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ti/2013/00000015/00000003/art00003

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