Monday, June 21, 2021

International Image Sensor Workshop Registration Opens

2021 International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW 2021) registration is open now. The Workshop is an on-line virtual event this year, to be held on September 20-23. The details are explained in FAQ part on the bottom of the registration page:

GPixel Expands its Line Scan Sensors Family

Gpixel expands its GL product family with GL3504, a C-mount line scan image sensor targeting industrial inspection, logistics barcode scanning, and printing inspection.

GL3504 has two photosensitive pixel arrays: a 2048 x 4 resolution array with 7 μm x 7 μm square pixel size and a 4096 x 2 resolution array with 3.5 μm x 3.5 μm pixel size. Both monochromatic and color variants are offered. The color filter array on the 3.5 μm pixel line is Bayer type; The 7 μm pixel lines are RGB true color type.

GL3504 engineering samples can be ordered today for delivery in July, 2021.

ESPROS about Human Eye as a LiDAR

Espros publishes its CEO Beat De Coi's presentation at Autosens Detroit 2021 "The Human eye as an example for LiDAR."

"The performance of the human eye is awesome. It has a fantastic resolution, hence small objects can bee seen at long distances. It works very well in a huge brightness dynamic range and it is able to estimate distance. This in a system of two eyes and a dedicated computer system - the human vision system (HVS). There are many aspects of the HVS which outperforms any LiDAR system. However, the perfomance is based on a very clever designed system. Why not to use the human eye and the human vision system as an example for future LiDAR systems?"

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Megapixel ToF Imager with 35um Depth Resolution

IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence publishes a paper "Exploiting Wavelength Diversity for High Resolution Time-of-Flight 3D Imaging" by Fengqiang Li, Florian Willomitzer, Muralidhar Madabhushi Balaji, Prasanna Rangarajan, and Oliver Cossairt from Northwestern University at Evanston, IL, and Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX. The paper has also been publishes in and IEEE Computer Society Digital Library.

"The poor lateral and depth resolution of state-of-the-art 3D sensors based on the time-of-flight (ToF) principle has limited widespread adoption to a few niche applications. In this work, we introduce a novel sensor concept that provides ToF-based 3D measurements of real world objects and surfaces with depth precision up to 35 μm and point cloud densities commensurate with the native sensor resolution of standard CMOS/CCD detectors (up to several megapixels). Such capabilities are realized by combining the best attributes of continuous wave ToF sensing, multi-wavelength interferometry, and heterodyne interferometry into a single approach. We describe multiple embodiments of the approach, each featuring a different sensing modality and associated tradeoffs."

3rd International Workshop on Event-Based Vision - Day 1

Day 1 of the Third International Workshop on Event-Based Vision live feed is complete and available on Youtube:

ON Semi Defends its 905nm Wavelength Choice in LiDARs

EETimes publishes ON Semi article "Demystifying LiDAR: An In-Depth Guide to the Great Wavelength Debate" by Bahman Hadji. It appears to be based on the previously published video presentation. Few quotes:

"After doing a deep dive into the technology and the differences between NIR and SWIR systems, it is clear why the vast majority of LiDAR systems in existence today are using NIR wavelengths. While the outlook for the future is never 100% certain, it is apparent that the cost and availability of ecosystem suppliers are key factors, and NIR-based systems will certainly always be cheaper due to the technology advantage and economies of scale for CMOS silicon. And while SWIR does allow for a longer-ranging LiDAR system, NIR-based LiDARs can also achieve desired automotive long-range requirements, while also performing extremely well for short- to medium-range configurations also needed in ADAS and AD. The existence of NIR-based LiDARs in mass production for the automotive market today shows that the technology has been commercialized and proven out, but it will still take some time for consolidation to happen and for the winners and losers to shake out. After all, the automobile industry at the turn of the 20th century contained 30 different manufacturers, and that increased to nearly 500 over the next ten years — but it only took a few years after that for most of them to disappear. It is expected that a similar dynamic may happen with LiDAR manufacturers by the end of this decade."

Friday, June 18, 2021

Challenges of Curved Sensor Mass Production

Yahoo: Phoblographer publishes an interview with curved image sensor startup SILINA’s CTO Wilfred Jahn. Few quotes:

"For the last few years, curved sensor technology has mainly been developed by labs for research purposes. Various curving processes have been developed for a few years by different players. These curving processes are all “single-chip curving process”, meaning that only one sensor can be curved at a time. These single-chip curving processes create strong limitations, such as a very low volume of production and a very expensive unit price. Thus, a single-chip curving process is not economically viable for consumer applications, which is why you have not seen any compact camera using a curved imaging sensor yet. Up to now, technological developments have only been limited to niche markets (astro-instrumentation, scientific).

SILINA has developed a “multi-chip curving process” to curve thousands of sensors at the same time. This makes the process scalable and economically viable for high volume markets. We have proven our claims with a demonstrator: starting from a wafer of 275 imaging sensors, we have curved all of them at the same time. This is more sensors than have ever been curved during the past 20 years. SILINA plans to automate this manufacturing process, transfer the technology to large sensor manufacturers and reach high volume markets.

Note that SILINA does not manufacture any imaging sensor with foundries. SILINA only develops curving solutions for existing sensors that will be transferred to image sensor manufacturers for the mass market. For high-end markets and custom requests requiring specific technical features, SILINA will curve its clients’ sensors in-house.

Our curving process is independent [of] the sensor characteristics. CMOS, CCD, FSI, BSI, visible or infrared have already been demonstrated. Today, we are discussing with various sensor manufacturers to perform testing on their last generation of sensors."

Yole Developpement's interview with SILINA's CEO Michael Bailly tells more about the company's mass production process:

"...we curve sensors reliably and at industrial scale for the very first time. We have recently made a demonstrator and curved all the sensors on a single wafer. A set of 275 curved sensors has been curved at the same time, in less than one hour. This demonstrates the scalability, repeatability and high yield of our technology. These sensors are 1 inch format, like the ones planned to be used in the new generation of smartphone cameras. Smaller and larger formats can also be curved in the same way. Also, we have manufactured a curved sensor with a freeform shape, which is a very complex shape to optimize even more the performance and compactness of imaging systems we have designed for one of our targeted markets. R&D developments are on-going and new patents are being filed."

Galaxycore to Invest More than $1B into BSI Processing Fab

Trendforce Consulting reports that Galaxycore IPO at Shanghai Stock Exchange has been approved. Most of the raised investment, 6.8B yuan (about $1.056B) goes into the company's own BSI processing 12-inch fab with capacity of 20,000 wafers per month. The new fab will be responsible for backthinning, wafer bonding, and and other BSI manufacturing steps.

The fab is supposed to provide most of the capacity for Galaxycore's low-end and mid-range sensors. The company also plans to penetrate a higher resolution sensors market.

Assorted Videos: Princeton Infrared, Trioptics, Algolux, Luminar, Teledyne e2v

Princeton Infrared publishes a nice demo of how the world looks in SWIR band: cigarette light like a projector, soldering iron like a lamp, black water, etc. The demo starts from 2:25 time:

Trioptics publishes a presentation on its active alignment in ADAS camera assembly and testing:

Algolux shows that AI adversarial attack can target only specific ISP types, leaving intact others:

Luminar introduces Blade, it's new generation flat profile LiDAR:

Teledyne e2v publishes a webinar on 3D vision with laser triangulation and requirements to image sensors for this application. The company claims that its Flash 2K (2MP, 1500fps) and Flash 4K ( 4MP, 1800fps) are best suited for that:

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Hynix on HDR History

EETimes publishes an article "HDR: The Secret Behind Great Images" by Jonghyun Bae from SK Hynix ISP team. The article talks about HDR sensors history and presents Hynix approach:

"SK hynix has completed developing QHDR and staggered HDR technologies, which are now ready to be provided to customers."