Monday, November 10, 2014

Rockchip to Enter Image Sensor Market?

International Conference on Optoelectronics and Microelectronics Technology and Application to be held on Nov. 12-14 in Tianjin, China, has an interesting paper by Qinghong Cao, Rockchip Electronics Co., China "A High Sensitivity CMOS Image Sensor Design with Complementary CFA and CCD Compatible Interface." Rockchip is one of the biggest application processors vendors in China, recently entered into a strategic alliance with Intel. The paper might be an early indication that the company is entering the image sensor market.

Update: It appears that Qinghong Cao, the author of the paper, used to work for Brigates, and possibly presents his former work on MCCD.


  1. Well, as a Chinese, I have to say RockChip and Brigates have the same Chinese pronunciation of "Rui Xin".

    It must be a translation mistake from the website.

    1. Same pronunciation but different Chinese character; different companies

  2. Image sensors have many faces and appeal to many people. Once upon a time, the people good at analog circuits thought they must be good at CIS designs, like Motorola, Conexant, National Semi, TI, etc. Then, the people in the DRAM business thought they were the best to provide low-leakage processes, like Micron, Samsung, Hynix, and for brief moments Powerchip & ProMOS. They all come and go. Would it be now that people doing APs think they are at a unique position to do CIS? Like Rockchip, Apple, Qualcomm?

    1. I think there is a big divide between image sensor makers and the signal processing community. Instead of just more kinds of hardware specialists contributing to image sensor design, I think there should be more input from signal processing / information theory people.
      The human visual system produces much higher quality output than you would think possible from just the retina signal quality. This points to a big opportunity for signal processing.
      In my humble opinion, sensor makers have crossed the point of diminishing returns from just hardware design.

    2. @anon 6:34 PM This is a silly and completely incorrect analysis of the history.
      Motorola got into the business because their ex CEO moved to Kodak, and Kodak was receiving technology from JPL and later Photobit. It is ironic that ONSemi, a repackaged part of Motorola, now buys TrueSense and Aptina (Kodak and Micron/Photobit roots respectively). Conexant got involved because of the interest of Rockwell Science Center - experts at infrared image sensors - who visited my lab at JPL and got excited about this. Les Kozlowski later left to form AltaSens. National Semi got into this due to a tech transfer agreement from JPL. Then Dick Merrill left to form Foveon, and Kevin Brehmer left to form PixelCam (?). And TI was in the CCD business anyway with giants like Jerry Hynecek working there (virtual phase, father of EMCCD (impactron), BCMD, to name a few).
      Micron got into this because of process similarities with DRAM and we convinced them to acquire Photobit. Samsung and Hynix were just copycats with this business plan.
      Apple has the personnel to do a good job with image sensors if they wanted to, considering the talent they hired from Aptina, including Gennadiy Agranov.
      So, your simple analysis really has zero merit.

  3. Is there at least an abstract of this paper somewhere?

  4. As one of the conference organizer, I can confirm this is just a translation mistake as indicated before. Rock-Chips as far as we know does not have intention to go to image sensor business.



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