Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Toshiba 2.2um Sensor - Finally

Yahoo-Finance: Toshiba announced the 3.2 megapixel ET8EE6-AS CMOS image sensor and 2.0 megapixel ET8EF2-AS CMOS image sensor SoC with integrated ISP.


* Advances in the Toshiba Dynastron technology, including an improved
photo-diode configuration and optimized pixel size, brought pixel pitch
down to 2.2 microns, with uncompromised image quality. These advances
led to a 3.2 megapixel count in a 1/3.2-inch format and 2.0 megapixel
count in a 1/4-inch format.
* In video mode, ET8EE6-AS offers high-speed 15-frames per second (fps)
in QXGA output, and 30fps in 3-to-1 vertical pixel binning. ET8EF2-AS
also supports 15fps in UXGA output, and 30fps in VGA output.
* To support simplified design of an optimized camera system, ET8EE6-AS
provides integrated automatic blemish detection and correction, gain
control and lens shading compensation.
* Features of the ET8EF2-AS include auto white balance, auto luminance
control, and automatic blemish correction.
* ET8EF2-AS also incorporates an ISP to provide advanced functions,
- Digital zoom
- Windowing to any arbitrary size with panning
- Image down sizing with programmable decimation
- Picture flip that includes right/left flip and top/bottom flip
- Picture effects that include monochrome, negative, sepia, antique,
sketch and emboss
* Both products incorporate a flexible input clock supported by a
phase-locked loop circuit.

Technical Specification Summary

Part Number: ET8EE6-AS ET8EF2-AS
Optical format 1/3.2-inch 1/4-inch
Megapixel Approx. 3.2 Approx. 2.0
Pixel count 2,080 (H) x 1,560 (V) (max.) 1,664 (H) x 1,248 (V) (max.)
Cell size 2.2 microns (H) x 2.2microns (V)
Output signal RAW data: 12bit parallel/sub YUV422/ RGB686/ RGB565/
LVDS (serial) RGB444/RAW (parallel)
frequency 6MHz-20MHz
Frame rate 15fps at QXGA output; 15fps at UXGA output;
30fps at 3-to-1 vertical 30fps at VGA output
pixel binning
control I2C bus
Power supply 1.8V (digital) 1.8V (digital, I/O)
2.8V (analog, I/O) 2.8V (analog)
temperature: -20 degrees to 60 degrees C

Package Non-diced wafer

Updated Oct. 10, 2006: Here is the link to the official Toshiba press-release:

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sony Color Subsampling Experiments

Tech-On!: Sony consumer HDTV camcorder HDR-HC3 uses 1/4-inch ClearVid CMOS sensor with color filter's balance R:G:B=1:6:1 (1:2:1 in regular sensors). Based on human vision's property, green plays a role to determine resolution, and therefore, Sony increased the green balance as much as possible to achieve high resolution pictures.
Sony applied the same color balance as a trial in the pofessional HDV-V1J's sensor, but "color blurring could not be eliminated" (a company spokesperson) in the end. The company therefore prepared sensors respectively dedicated to each primary color for HDV-V1J.
By shooting video with pickup 1/3-inch sensors respectively dedicated to three primary colors (R, G, B), the camcorder boasts enhanced resolution and color reproduction.

Friday, September 22, 2006

FotoNation Dust Removal Technology

Cameratown: The FotoNation Dust Removal Technology automatically removes dust from digital images. FotoNation has been awarded a U.S. patent for this technology and has 10 additional patents pending in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. FotoNation eliminates dust from images using in-camera software which distinguishes between dust and real detail in the photo. The software dynamically builds a map of every dust-spec and then tracks changes and movement of the dust particles to distinguish dust from the details of the photograph. The technology has been designed to scale across multiple platforms is optimized to run as embedded software in digital cameras and mobile phone cameras as part of image acquisition.

Dust is a significant problem in the production of camera modules for mobile phones. Mobile phone camera modules typically consist of an image sensor hermetically sealed inside a plastic package with a lens and image processor. Dust contamination on the image sensor during assembly of the camera module is a costly source of reduced manufacturing yield. The FotoNation Dust Removal Technology can increase manufacturing yield and image quality for these products.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jova Image Sensor Lab Announced

Jova Solutions announces Image Sensor Lab ISL-1600 Version 2 low-cost (less than $5000), integrated CMOS image sensor/camera module evaluation, specification and test solution.
ISL-1600 2.0 is a generic engineering solution for the full evaluation of CMOS image sensors that can test most image sensor designs. Version 2, amongst other changes, adds bi-directional voltage level buffers, improved Master Clock options, SPI and I2C sensor communication, and double buffered and consecutive image sequence capture.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ESS to Reorganize Its Image Sensor Business

Yahoo: It's official now. Troubled ESS looks for potential acquirers or business partners for its image sensor division in attempt to concentrate on its core DVD and audio products.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Embedded Image Processing Vendors

UK-based Apical Ltd. is well known for its high-quality contrast enhancement algorithms. Also, Apical makes other image processing modules for digital cameras and camera-phones. It sells its software and IP cores to Nikon, Olympus, Sony-Ericsson and TI, among others.
Identix (MN, USA) makes face identification IP used by Nikon cameras in face-priority AF system.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dongbu Announces 130nm CIS Process

Yahoo-Finance: Dongbu is advancing CIS wafer processing from the 0.18-micron to the 130nm node. Dongbu's new process enables the manufacture of CIS devices with 1.3 Megapixel resolution and 1.5V supply voltage.
The new process also promises a greatly enhanced resolution, gray scale and relative illumination thanks to proprietary Dongbu processing techniques and technologies that have virtually eliminated "dark current" widely believed to be the most difficult problem to resolve in CIS imaging.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

SW-Based Image Stabilization Solutions

Two algorithmic image stabilization solution were presentaed on recent SIGGRAPH'06 in Boston.

The first one comes from MIT and Toronto University people:

Another one is flattered-shutter technique form Mitsubishi and Northwestern University:

DigitalCameraInfo reports that the two techniques will be combiled in future.

Friday, September 01, 2006

CIBC on Magnachip, Siliconfile Design Wins

Barrons: Daniel Gelbtuch of CIBC World Markets: "competition in 2 megapixel sensors has intensified significantly, in particular from the Asian sensor companies MagnaChip and SiliconFile."
“[W]e believe MagnaChip, emerging revitalized after a two-year hiatus, is stalking sockets at top-tier accounts such as LG, one of OVTI’s largest customers, and that SiliconFile is making notable progress targeting major accounts (such as LG, Samsung and Pantech,)” he writes.