Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Helion Offers ISP IP for Lattice-Aptina 3D Platform

Marketwire: The recently announced Lattice-Aptina cooperation got a third partner - Helion GmbH, Duisburg, Germany, supplying 3D ISP IP.

"Our technically superior ISP IP allows the depth of scene of the 3D image to be adjusted in both the positive and negative direction, so that the 3D image appears either 'inside' or 'outside' the monitor; for example, between the monitor and the viewer," said Arndt Bussmann, Helion's CTO. "The ISP also supports 3D graphic and text overlays, which can be placed with infinitely variable depth anywhere within the video field. Many different sensors, with either global or rolling shutters, can be supported."

PMD Acquires IEE Vision Sensing, Opens Dresden Design Center

PMDTechnologies (PMD) and IEE S.A. (IEE) announce the transfer of IEE Vision Sensing GmbH, a subsidiary of IEE located in Dresden, Germany, to PMD effective December 1st 2011.

During the past five years, the IEE Dresden team has developed mixed-signal ASIC designs for sensor applications. They also helped to develop the core 3D ToF technology, which resulted in a variety of products based on IEE’s 3D MLI Sensor - the Tailgate Detector TDflex, People Counter and Volumetric Object Surveillor. The mixed-signal chip design, along with the test and qualification experience of the Dresden team, will strengthen PMD’s position as a 3D ToF image sensor company. "The consolidation of the existing 3D ToF know-how at PMD and IEE Vision Sensing will advance PMD’s technology to new levels of innovation and quality,” says Prof. Mierau, PMD’s new Branch Manager Dresden.

In addition to the acquisition, IEE and PMD have also established a strategic cooperation. IEE will continue to expand their 3D image sensing product portfolio, particularly for automotive and building security applications, while PMD will use their six years of experience supplying mass market 3D chips, to support both IEE’s existing and new products.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Samsung Announces 8MP/30fps, 1.4um BSI Pixel Imager

Virtual Press Office: Samsung unveils an 1/3.2-inch 8MP CMOS imager, the S5K3H7, utilizing advanced 1.4um BSI pixel. The newly developed imager supports a frame rate of 30fps for full 8MP resolution and targeting mobile handsets.

"Consumers show a growing preference for high resolution image sensors with the diversity and qualities of DSCs on their mobile gadgets," said Taehoon Kim, VP of System LSI sales & marketing, Device Solutions, Samsung Electronics.

The new S5K3H7 supports 1080p full HD, 720p/120fps and VGA/240fps video modes and features instant capture of still images without shutter lag. Its slim form factor fits a 8.5mm x 8.5mm auto focus camera module with a height dimension of 5.5mm.

Samsung’s S5K3H7 is scheduled for mass production in March 2012.

ISSCC Report, Part 4: Cyclic and ΣΔ ADCs

Albert Theuwissen published the fourth part of his ISSCC review. This part covers different ADC architectures coming from NHK, Samsung and Delft University.

Monday, February 27, 2012

ISSCC Report, Part 3, Global Shutter Presentations

Albert Theuwissen published the next part of his series of excellent reports from ISSCC, this time talking about global shutter sensors. Sony 10MP and Tohoku University sensors are nicely discussed.

Nokia 808 Phone Features 41MP (!) Sensor

Nokia announces 808 PureView smartphone featuring its PureView imaging technologies - a combination of high resolution sensor, Carl Zeiss optics and Nokia developed algorithms.

The Nokia 808 PureView features a large, high-resolution 41MP sensor with new pixel oversampling technology. At standard resolutions (2, 3, 5 and 8 megapixels) this means the ability to zoom without loss of clarity and capture seven pixels of information, condensing into one pixel for the sharpest images imaginable. At high-resolution (38MP maximum) it means the ability to capture an image, then zoom, reframe, crop and resize afterwards. The new camera phone is said to have a superior low-light performance.

The Nokia 808 PureView is also capable of full HD 1080p/30fps video recording and playback with 4X lossless zoom.

The sensor size is huge 1/1.2-inch, approximately 2.5 larger than the sensor used
in its predecessor, the 12MP Nokia N8. The pixel size is 1.4um.

The dedicated PureView page shows the phone with 41MP label on the camera and Youtube videos (Video 1, Video 2):

Nokia whitepaper reveals few more bits of information about the new sensor:

"So how is this possible?

The starting point is a super-high-resolution sensor. This has an active area of 7728 x 5368 pixels, totalling over 41Mpix. Depending on the aspect ratio you choose, it will use 7728 x 4354 pixels for 16:9 images/videos, or 7152 x 5368 pixels for 4:3 images/videos as is shown in Figure 1:"

"Pixel oversampling combines many pixels to create a single (super) pixel. When this happens, you keep virtually all the detail, but filter away visual noise from the image. The speckled, grainy look you tend to get in low-lighting conditions is greatly reduced. And in good light, visual noise is virtually non-existent. Which means the images you can take are more natural and beautiful than ever. They are purer, perhaps a more accurate representation of the original subject than has ever been achieved before."

"With the Nokia 808 PureView, you get effective maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. Whereas with optical zoom, less light tends to reach the sensor as the zoom increases. At maximum zoom, 5.4x more light reaches the Nokia PureView Pro sensor than a broadly equivalent optical-zoom digital camera (f/5.6 as opposed to f/2.4). And this means you get the benefit of faster shutter speeds."

The formal camera specs are:

The technology:
PureView Pro imaging specifications

  • 41MP sensor with pixel oversampling
  • Lossless zoom: 3x for stills, 4x for full HD 1080p video
  • Carl Zeiss optics

The product:
Nokia 808 PureView lens and sensor specifications

  • Carl Zeiss Optics
  • Focal length: 8.02mm
  • 35mm equivalent focal length: 26mm, 16:9 | 28mm, 4:3
  • F-number: f/2.4
  • Focus range: 15cm – Infinity (throughout the zoom range)
  • Construction:
    · 5 elements, 1 group.All lens surfaces are aspherical
    · One high-index, low-dispersion glass mould lens
    · Mechanical shutter with neutral density filter
  • Optical format: 1/1.2”
  • Total number of pixels: 7728 x 5368
  • Pixel Size: 1.4um

Regarding the pixel size Nokia writes:

"People will inevitably home in on the number of pixels the Nokia 808 PureView packs, but they’re missing the point. The ‘big deal’ is how they’re used. At Nokia, our focus has always been capability and performance.

The main way to build smaller cameras over the years has been to reduce the pixel size. These have shrunk just over the past 6 years from 2.2 microns, to 1.75 microns, to 1.4 microns (which is where most compact digital cameras and smartphones are today). Some new products are on the way with 1.1 micron pixels. But here’s the problem. The smaller the pixel, the less photons each pixel is able to collect. Less photons, less image quality. There’s also more visual noise in images/videos, and various other knock on effects. In our experience, when new, smaller pixel size sensors are first released, they tend to be worse than the previous generation. While others jump in, banking on pixel numbers instead of performance, we prefer to skip early iterations.

Update: Nokia Conversations, the official Nokia blog shows Youtube video of Juha Alakarhu, the head of imaging technology group:

Nokia also offers sample unretouched pictures from the camera here.

AllThingsD shows internals of the new Nokia camera and talks about the camera development process which took 5 years.

Update #2: As written in comments, The Handheld Blog published a video interview with Damian Dinning, the member of Nokia camera team, where he says few words about the sensor:

Update #3: Venture Beat published another video interview with an engineer from Nokia camera team showing sample pictures and explaining 808 camera decisions:

Nokia Conversations compiled a page of 808 camera reactions from the internet media.

Eero Salmelin, Head of Imaging at Nokia, features at I3A site (just a coincidence?). Just two months ago Eero won I3A annual Leadership Award.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Blooming in CMOS Sensors

DPReview made an in-depth research of blooming in the new Fujifilm X10 sensor. Many claim that this sensor's blooming is unusually high. DPReview seems to confirm this.

Thanks to AP for the link!

Awaiba Publishes NanEye Spec

Awaiba published the spec of its 62Kpixel 1 sq. mm sensor for endoscopy applications, together with the sample pictures and videos.

NanEye is a tiny camera module which consists of an CMOS image sensor with a footprint size of 1mm x 1mm and, optionally, an adapted miniature optics. The device is mounted on a flat ribbon cable up to 3m length that connects to the Awaiba base station. The base station is connected with a standard USB cable up to 5m length to a PC.

NanEye Simplified Block Diagram

It appears that endoscope imaging market attracts more and more players. TI recently opened a dedicated page devoted to endoscopic solutions. Also, according to the new Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, the company sees the endoscope market as one of its top priorities (Bloomberg).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

IISW Papers Available On-Line

2011 IISW papers are now available on line at

Due to a policy change by IEEE, this is the last year IISW will wait until after ISSCC before publishing papers in the on-line library. In the future, IISS members will have access shortly after IISW, and access will be open to all a month or two later (still TBD).

Thanks to EF for letting me know!

ISSCC: Samsung RGB/IR-ToF Paper Reviewed

Tech-On published a review of one of Samsung papers on RGB/ToF sensor. The RGB pixel size is 2.25um, while ToF pixel is rectangular 2.25um x 9um. The sensor has 1,920 x 720 RGB pixels and 480 x 360 ToF ones:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sony Announces 18MP/24fps BSI Sensor, 1080p/30 CCD, 4K Super-Resolution Video Processor

Sony Cx-News vol. 67 has few interesting announcements:

The IMX118CQT is 1/2.3-inch 18.47MP 24fps-fast sensor for consumer DSCs. The sensor is based on 1.26um BSI pixels, made in 90nm 1P5M process. Sony says that by improving "pixel configuration" (layout? PD sharing?) it "managed to increase the electron count ratio of saturation signal level per unit area by 35%", although the exact number is not specified.

Compared to the 12.4MP IMX078CQK announced a year ago, the new sensor is said to achieve an 80% speed increase of the internal circuits. The column-parallel ADC was improved to reduce power consumption by 35% over the previous generation product (in all-pixel scan mode at 12 bits). In live view when 0.67M effective pixels are output at about 30fps the sensor's power consumption is 136 mW, which is said to place it among Sony's most energy-efficient sensors.

Another nice Sony achievement is 2.83MP CCD capable of 1080p/30 mode, the ICX687ALA (B&W) / ICX687AQA (color). Th1 1/1.8-inch CCD is based on 3.69um pixels clocked at 54MHz. To achieve 30fps in 1090p mode the CCD has two parallel outputs. In full 2.83MP resolution mode the CCD can output 25fps. The pixel fill factor is said to be improved to maintain the similar PD size as the previous generation 4.4um pixel:

Yet another interesting Sony announcement is "database-type Super-resolution" Signal Processing that generates realistic 4K (4,096 × 2,160 pixels) video signals from full HD (1,920 × 1,080 pixels) resolution video.

"Database-type super-resolution" refers to real-time video analysis and pattern classification by referencing a database to enable perfect super-resolution processing of any video...

Newly-developed CXD4736GB ...has evolved the pattern classification procedure of this unique "database-type super-resolution" technology by adding a "learning function" that improves the classification function and dramatically enhances the picture quality of the generated video.

The "learning function" groups patterns produced by multidimensional features more efficiently in classifying the numerous characteristics that make up an image into a number of patterns and makes possible pattern classification according to the dynamic changes caused by input signal characteristics. This makes it possible to appropriately classify input video (or image) depending on its characteristics to enable optimum super-resolution processing.

Phil Garrou on Advances in Image Sensor Manufacturing

ElectroIQ published an excellent overview of the recent advances in image sensor manufacturing by Phil Garrou, primarily covering TSV and BSI processing.

Omnivision Quarterly Earnings Call

Seeking Alpha published Omnivision's quarterly earnings call transcript. Few interesting quotes:

Shaw Hong, CEO:

"...we recorded revenues of $185 million... On a non-GAAP basis, gross margin was 24.7% and net income was $7.4 million.

...we introduced a second next generation piece of architecture called OmniBSI+... this new architecture gives us the opportunity to maximize the utilization of our 8-inch wafer capacity.

Ray Cisneros, VP WW Sales:

"...we shipped 143 million units as compared to 153 million units in our prior quarter. The average selling price in our fiscal third quarter was $1.29 as compared to $1.42 in the prior quarter. The step-down is due to a reduction in higher resolution sensor product mix.

...VGA represented approximately 59% of total shipments as compared to 53% in the prior quarter.

Anson Chan, CFO:

"The decrease in margin is really attributable to decrease in ASP as well as the shipment of inventory that we built up accumulated in the past two quarters. The cost basis of these items are relatively high because we’ve build them before we had the chance to improve the yield and get some pricing cost reductions. On a cost basis essentially we’re locked in at the time when the inventory avenues were built.

And on top of that the yield issues that we ran into in prior quarters, when we first built our 8-megapixel OmniBSI-2 products and that translated into additional costs during the third quarter.

PR Newswire: Omnivision ended the period with cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaling $236.5 million, a decrease of $228.3 million from the previous quarter. The decrease includes approximately $100.0 million in cash used for the repurchase of the Company's common stock. The decrease also includes approximately $26.0 million in cash paid to VisEra for the acquisition of the CameraCube production operations from the entity during the second quarter of fiscal 2012.

Based on current trends, the Company expects next quarter revenues will be in the range of $195 million to $215 million.

MSNBC: Omnivision's revenue surpassed Wall Street estimates, and the company also forecast a better-than-expected fourth quarter. Its shares jumped $1.97, or 12 percent, to $18.05 in aftermarket trading.

Update: Here is Oppenhemer's analysis of Omnivision results:

Positives: The beat on revenues for F2Q12 and much better than expected guide on revenues/EPS for F3Q. OVTI is doing well in the entertainment (tablet +) category and expects to pick up in the smartphone category as well in the coming quarters. Automotive design wins in Japan also impress. Windows 8 tablets to come.

Negatives: Worries persist on whether BSI-2 yield problems are truly fixed when emphasis was put on OmniBSI+ on 8" platform during the prepared remarks. This will continue until a marquee win is achieved. Also, "Cameracube" capacity is currently under-utilized but will be used better in 2H12.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ISSCC: NHK Presents 8K 120fps Super Hi-Vision Sensor

NHK presents Super Hi-Vision 8K TV sensor capable to shoot at 120fps speed. NHK has partnered with Shizuoka University to develop the new fast readout circuits. The sensor is being presented at ISSCC these days.

Update: Tech-On gives more details about the NHK sensor. The sensor is built in 0.18um process and has 2.8um pixels.

In order to achieve high speed at low power the cyclic column-parallel 12b ADC uses a two-tiered architecture. The first ADC resolves 4b, and the next stage delivers the rest 8b. The power of the ADC is 800mW.

ST Reveals OIS for Cameraphones

PR Newswire release is titled "STMicroelectronics Shows Unique Metal Alloys Improving Cameraphone Pictures and Other Innovative Solutions for Comprehensive Mobile Experience".

ST reveals a new approach to OIS in mobile phones, more specifically, a new mechanical actuator that compensates for slight movements of the user's hand. The new technology uses actuators made of Shape Memory Alloys (SMA) that are able to contract upon heating. Small size and low power requirements allow SMA "smart materials" to be used in actuators that are dramatically more compact, lighter, more powerful and quiet that will replace alternative technologies based on Voice-Coil Motors and piezoelectric elements that cannot meet the size constraints of mobile phones.

ISSCC Report - Day 2

Albert Theuwissen continues his excellent reports from ISSCC. The recent one talks about two different approaches to combined RGB/ToF sensors, both presented by Samsung.

LSST 3.2 Gigapixel Camera to Become World's Largest

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) camera is supposed to be the largest digital camera ever constructed. Its size of 1.6 meters by 3 meters is roughly equal to that of a small car and it will weigh 2800 kilograms. It is a large-aperture, wide-field optical (0.3-1 μm) imager with image surface diameter of approximately 64 cm. The detector format will be a mosaic of 189 16MP CCDs providing a total of approximately 3.2 Gpixels. Each CCD has 16 outputs and is based on 10um pixel. The frame rate is 0.5fps, giving it a speed of 1.6GP/s.

LSST compiled a comparison of large cameras today:

Unfortunately, the schedule of LSST camera is quite long, the camera is supposed to be ready in 2020. I doubt it will be the largest by that time:

Actually, the recently constructed 0.5m x 1m 1GPixel Gaia camera is even larger in area, but lower in resolution.

Requirements for Image Sensors in Security and Defense

UK-based Heriot-Watt University published Sciovis presentation "Requirements for sensors in defense and security, the problems they face and future needs". Few nice slides from the presentation:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Omnivision Split-Diode HDR Sensors Go to Mass Production

PR Newswire: OmniVision announces that its automotive advanced driver assist sensors, the OV10630 and the OV10635, have both received AEC-Q100 Grade 2 qualifications. Both sensors are built on 4.2um OmniPixel3-HS pixel architecture with sensitivity of 3.65V/lux-sec. The sensors use OmniVision's split pixel technology, in which the information for the HDR multi-capture is sampled simultaneously from the scene rather than sequentially, minimizing motion artifacts. They provide fully-processed, display-ready 720p/30 color HDR video output in 8- or 10-bit YUV format, or 10- to 18-bit combined RAW RGB HDR output with complete user control over formatting and data transfer. Unprocessed RAW data is also available in two 10-bit format images.

The OV10630 comes in an 11 mm x 11 mm CBGA2 package, while the OV10635 is integrated in a 7.8 mm x 7.1 mm aCSP package. Both are now available in high-volume quantities.

DALSA Shows How to Measure Charge Conversion Efficiency

The new Teledyne-DALSA blog post discusses PTC basics and explains how to find electron-to-DN conversion factor.

Polight and Movidius Jointly Demo 3D Camera

Polight and Movidius jointly demo 3D camera at MWC in Barcelone this year. "Integrating poLight TLens has enabled us to significantly increase the speed and performance of our new 3D mobile camera demonstration," said Sean Mitchell, CEO at Movidius. "In addition to the faster AF speed, synchronizing the two cameras using the TLens dramatically improves the 3D performance compared to traditional VCM, showcasing our high quality 3D multimedia features."

"I am very pleased to see that TLens speed and the easy synchronization methods can remove a barrier to reaching high quality 3D video capture," said Christian Dupont CEO of poLight.

Update: In an unrelated PR poLight announced that it has collaborated with TI to produce in large volume the Optical MEMS part of its TLens, resulting in faster focus time and lower power consumption.

"Texas Instruments with their MEMS engineering expertise and their worldwide manufacturing operation significantly strengthen our ability to serve our camera module customer demands," said Christian Dupont, CEO of poLight.

Texas Instruments worked very closely with poLight to develop a process that met the device performance needs while at the same time met cost goals. "The new TLens device from poLight AS benefits from TI’s advanced MEMS development and processing expertise along with TI’s experience in very high volume manufacturing," said Faa-Ching Wang, manager of the Heater Chip Business Unit at Texas Instruments. "TI and poLight have collaborated on this innovative device that will help bring greater autofocus performance and functionality to camera phone applications."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Aptina Announces A-PixHS Fast BSI Sensor

Business Wire: Aptina announces the 8MP AR0833 sensor based on A-PixHS technology. The new 1/3.2-inch 1.4um pixel sensor has the speed to capture the full 8 MP at 30fps speed. The new A-PixHS technology combines BSI pixel with high speed sensor architecture. The pixel's DR is 61.2dB, responsivity is 0.7 V/lux-sec. Designed to enable AF camera modules as small as 8.5x8.5mm with z-height less than 5.9mm, the AR0833 is targeted to mobile devices, including smartphone market, which according to TSR is expected to grow 33% in 2012 and account for 65% of all cell phone shipments by 2015.

The sensor’s high speed enables 1080p/30 HD video with simultaneous still 8MP capturing and rapid context switching which also removes shutter lag when the sensor switches between a low-power preview mode and a full resolution still image. The full operating power is 400mW. Additionally, the AR0833 is HDR ready for still and video applications when coupled with an HDR processor.

The AR0833 is currently sampling and will be available in mass production in Q2 2012. Available as a stand-alone sensor for OEMs and manufacturers who have their own ISP, it is also available with Aptina’s imaging co-processor for a fully tuned, complete camera solution enabling quick integration and delivery of new designs to market.

In a separate announcement Aptina lists the technologies it's going to demo at 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain from Feb. 27 – March 1, 2012:
  • 1.4um BSI and 1.1um BSI pixels
  • The latest developments in HDR, 3D depth sensing, and other future technologies
  • Advancements for full HD videoconferencing sensors

Aptina Licenses OTP IP in 65nm TSMC Process

MarketWire: Sidense announces that Aptina is using Sidense's field-programmable 1T-OTP memory macros for several image sensor and camera module products for the mobile, consumer, automotive and surveillance markets. The 1T-OTP IP is developed for TSMC's 65nm LP process node. The 1T-OTP macros support calibration and optimization of image sensors in a chip, module or system environment.

"Aptina chose Sidense OTP for storing calibration and lens correction information in our image sensor and companion chip products for its small macro area, reliable field programmability to support correction in finished modules, and scalability to new process nodes for future product development," said Sion Quinlan, Aptina's Director of Circuit IP. "Because Sidense's OTP does not add any additional processing steps or masks to our sensor process, Aptina benefits with a cost and time savings."

ISSCC Report - Day 1

Albert Theuwissen publishes almost real-rime reports from ISSCC in San Francisco. The first day report talks about medical imaging session papers mostly coming from academic world.

ISSCC: UT Dallas Shows Single-Chip Terahertz Imager

EETimes: "We can now build a CMOS image chip for a cell-phone-sized camera module that sees in the terahertz range," said Ken O, a professor and lead researcher at UT Dallas. The key to integration of terahertz imager on-a-chip is the high-speed Schottky diodes fabricated in CMOS. "We have figured out how to create high-speed Schottky diodes in CMOS without changing the process, just the layout," said O. "We just take an active region where a transistor would normally go, and don't draw the source-drain implantation mask layer, resulting in a Schottky diode."

Even at design rules of 130nm used for the demonstration chip, the high-speed Schottky diodes were able to achieve THz-range performance without changing the standard CMOS processing steps.

A one-pixel CMOS terahertz image chip (left) can see through solid objects,
here showing the inner workings of an old-school floppy disk.

The details are presented in a paper "280GHz and 860GHz Image Sensors Using Schottky-Barrier Diodes in 0.13µm Digital CMOS," at the ISSCC this week in San Francisco.

Another similar paper at ISSCC is "A 1kPixel CMOS Camera Chip for 25fps Real-Time Terahertz Imaging Applications" by STMicro, Crolles, France, University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany and IEMN / ISEN, Lille, France

Bio-Inspired GE Upconverts 3-8um IR to Visible Green

Nature Photonics published General Electric's paper:

"Towards high-speed imaging of infrared photons with bio-inspired nanoarchitectures"
Andrew D. Pris, Yogen Utturkar, Cheryl Surman, William G. Morris, Alexey Vert, Sergiy Zalyubovskiy, Tao Deng, Helen T. Ghiradella, Radislav A. Potyrailo


"We report an attractive platform of low-thermal-mass resonators inspired by the architectures of iridescent Morpho butterfly scales. In these resonators, the optical cavity is modulated by its thermal expansion and refractive index change, resulting in ‘wavelength conversion’ of mid-wave infrared (3–8 µm) radiation into visible iridescence changes. By doping Morpho butterfly scales with single-walled carbon nanotubes, we achieved mid-wave infrared detection with 18–62 mK noise-equivalent temperature difference and 35–40 Hz heat-sink-free response speed. The nanoscale pitch and the extremely small thermal mass of individual ‘pixels’ promise significant improvements over existing detectors. Computational analysis explains the origin of this thermal response and guides future conceptually new bio-inspired thermal imaging sensor designs."

Transmission electron microscope image of a cross-section
of the Morpho butterfly nanostructure.
ΔR(λ) spectra of the Morpho nanostructure on heating with MWIR radiation. Signal intensity is proportional to the amount of MWIR radiation applied to the nanostructure, with a maximum signal change of ΔR = 5.4% at the steady-state response

See Nature Photonics supplementary materials for the bigger pictures.

Vision Systems Design: Radislav Potyrailo, Principal Scientist at GE Global Research, said that the team is working on the fabrication of photonic nanostructures inspired by Morpho butterfly wing scales, with commercial applications that could reach the market within the next five years. The thermal sensors can sense temperature changes down to 0.02 degrees Celsius, and changes in temperature at a response rate of one fortieth of a second.

Update: GE Research article and Youtube video show the temperature response of "Butterfly light convertor". The official GE PR is here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Panasonic Presents SmartFSI 1.43um Pixel Sensor

Panasonic announces the availability of its MN34110PA sensor based on "SmartFSI" 1.43um pixels. The sensor was first revealed in May 2011 and was said to have the industry's highest sensitivity of 3050 e-/lx/sec/μm2.

The 1/2.33-inch 14.2MP sensor can operate at 18.21fps at full resolution or 60fps in 1080p mode. Its ADC has 12b resolution delivered through sub-LVDS DDR-style I/O. The sensor is intended for DSCs and camcorders.

Raytrix Presents Lightfield Camera with Quarter of the Sensor Resolution

Raytrix plenoptic camera presented in Electronic Imaging 2012 paper has an extended depth of field and a maximal effective resolution of up to a quarter of the sensor resolution. In addition the raw image of the camera also contains all the information needed to calculate the 3D form of the recorded scene.

The paper says regarding the works of Ren Ng, Lytro founder: A "reason that it took some time for the plenoptic technology to take hold is that the initial plenoptic camera design, as for example implemented by Ng in 2005, generates refocused images whose number of pixels equals the number of micro lenses. That is, even when using a high resolution sensor with 16 mega pixels, say and a micro lens array with 40000 lenses, the refocused images have a resolution of 40000 pixels. For many applications this is not a practicable resolution."

The paper continues: "a new type of plenoptic camera is introduced here, called the multi-focus plenoptic camera (MFPC), whose micro lens array consists of micro lenses with different focal lengths. A MFPC can therefore be regarded as a number of interlaced single focus plenoptic cameras. It is shown that a MFPC extends the depth of field compared to a single focus plenoptic camera and still allows effective lateral resolutions at up to one quarter of the sensor resolution."

Samsung Presents BSI ToF Sensor

The updated Samsung Imaging web site lists BSI ToF sensor, the S5K32A. The previously shown ToF sensor had different part number S5K32D, and does not mention BSI technology. I'm not sure why one needs BSI for an IR sensor having 14um pixel size, but probably there is a reason. The QVGA 1/3-inch ToF sensor is said to have embedded depth output processing.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tunable Spectral Response Pixel Video

A 23-min long Youtube video shows the recorded presentation of Transverse Field Detector (TFD) - a pixel that is said to allow for imaging without color filters, proposed by Politecnico di Milano, Italy:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pixpolar Image Sensor Simulator

Pixpolar announces an image sensor simulator. The intention of the simulator is to show the company's non-destructive CDS readout, but it can be used for other purposes as well. Number of photons per pixel can be set in histogram widget. Readout noise, dark current and exposure time can be set in the main settings window. The simulator works as an on-line application.

Thanks to JS for the link!

Scalado Presents Objects Removal Technology

Scalado announces its Remove technology that automatically highlights and removes any unwanted object from a captured photo. It is said to be the world’s first Object removal software to be released on a mobile device. A Youtube video shows how it works:

Another nice example from Scalado press kit:

Thanks to JS for the link!

Omnivision CameraCube Reverse Engineered

Yole Developpement's February 2012 Issue of 3D Packaging Magazine has a nice reverse engineering analysis of Omnivision's OVM7692, a VGA CameraCube:

The optics side of the CameraCube was identified as made by Visera, while the Wafer Scale Package side is by Xintec:

Here is how the module cost is divided between the parties, according to Yole:

Much many interesting pictures are in the article itself.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Imaging at Photonics West 2012 published a review of Photonics West 2012 with emphasis on image technologies. It appears that InGaAs NIR/SWIR sensors are becoming a popular category at the exhibition: FLIR, Hamamatsu and Sensors Unlimited presented their InGaAs products.

Omnivision Announces 1/9-inch 720p OmniBSI+ Video Sensor

PR Newswire: OmniVision introduces the 1/9-inch OV9724 sensor offering 720p/30fps video in a miniaturized form factor. Developed specifically for highly compact designs, the new CameraChip sensor is based on 1.4um OmniBSI+ pixel to enable camera modules of less than 2.5 mm in height. This allows HD cameras to be integrated into ultra-slim, narrow-bezel devices, such as next-generation smartphones, notebooks, tablets, portable gaming systems and other mobile devices.

Additionally, OmniVision introduced the OVM9724, which corresponds to the OV9724, packaged in CameraCube format. The OVM9724 offers an easy-to-integrate, cost-effective camera solution for even thinner bezel notebook and tablet designs.

The OV9724 comes with a one-lane MIPI interface and fits into a 6 mm x 4.5 mm x 2.5 mm module size. It is currently available for sampling and is expected to go into volume production in Q2 2012. The OVM9724 comes in a 4 mm x 3 mm x 2.5 mm CameraCube module and is expected to start sampling early in Q2 2012.

Linz University Proposes Flexible, Scalable, and Disposable Image Sensor

Linz University, Austria proposes a transparent, flexible, scalable, and disposable image sensor in this Youtube video:

Another Linz University announcement is the first panoramic light field camera (Youtube video).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Himax Reports Quarterly and Yearly Results

Himax says in its Q4 2011 earnings call: "CMOS image sensor, while in its first year of commercial shipment, already accounted for a significant portion of our non-driver sales last year. We currently offer 3 mega pixel, 2 mega pixel, 1.3 mega pixel, HD, VGA and qVGA products, focusing on handset, laptop and tablet applications. We plan to release new sensor products this year to further strengthen our product portfolio and to penetrate into new markets such as TV Cam, PC Cam, drive recorder, surveillance and automotive applications. CMOS image sensor is and will continue to be a fastgrowing area for us. While we are a new comer to the market, our sensors have been highly praised by many to have outperformed those offered by the incumbent players in terms of image quality. Consequently we have numerous design-wins from customers ranging from camera module makers, contract manufacturers to system integrators with world leading brand names. 2011 was the year when we put our name clearly in the map. We are confident that 2012 will be a year of strong sales growth in this product area."

Unfortunately, no numbers on image sensor business was released. However, revenues from Himax’s non-driver businesses, which include CMOS image sensors and wafer optics, LCOS micro image projectors, touch panel controllers and timing controllers combined were $21.7M or 12.8% of the company's total revenues in Q4 2011.

PRNU and FPN Measurement

Albert Theuwissen published the next article in his excellent "How to Measure..." series. This one talks about PRNU and FPN, explaining the difference between the two.

Monday, February 13, 2012

NIT Presents Stereo WDR Camera

New Imaging Technology introduces a stereoscopic camera reference design based upon its global shutter HDR sensor NSC1001 with DR of more than 140dB. The reference design is intended for robotic and automotive applications.

Youtube video shows the camera capabilities:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Image Sensors in Astrophotography

Piotr Maliński posted a nice article on image sensors and cameras in astrophotography. The post discusses cameras and sensors requirements for different types of astrophotography.

Basler on Machine Vision Camera Trends

Basler presents the trends in industrial and machine vision cameras - mainly transistion from CCD to CMOS, frog GigE to USB3, and lowering prices. Pdf file is here, Youtube video is below:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gesture Recognition News

Image Sensors 1012 site published Q&A session with Daniël Van Nieuwenhove, SoftKinetic's CTO. Some quotes:

Q: Will we eventually see this replace all other forms of user interfacing?

A: Replacing all forms of user interfacing it will definitely not. We are convinced the technology will disrupt some established user interfaces, and in many cases will enrich the currently used approaches. We also see user interactions emerging, where previously there were none: digital signage is a good example of such a market.

Q: From a technical standpoint, what are your main challenges in developing this technology further?

A: The technology has a huge potential, but is young and a rough diamond today, and therefore contains plenty of challenges. We have the different aspects of the end-to-end solution combined in Softkinetic, going from sensor to camera production to middleware and application development. This represents huge opportunities, but also huge challenges. One of our main advantages, but also challenges, is optimizing and integrating this whole chain optimally in the different platforms such as TV and PC. The most bizarre one is probably the challenge to remain focused and, amongst the large amount of options, direct the technology where it merits the most.

EETimes-Europe: Meanwhile Continental AG demos gesture control in its concept car at Chicago Auto Show these days.

CMOSIS 600fps VGA Sensor Presentation

CMOSIS Vision 2011 presentation video talks about CMV300 fast VGA sensor:

Heliotis Presents its 3D Vision Camera with Micron Resolution

This Youtube video shows Heliotis presentation of its 3D camera for industrial applications with micron resolution, delivered by Christian Lotto. The camera features Heliotis smart-pixel custom designed sensor with 300x300 resolution and 5000 fps speed. Each pixel provides quadrature demodulation of interferometric pattern, envelope extraction, low-pass filtering and downsampling - sort of lock-in amplifier in each pixel.

The pdf version of the presentation is available here.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

More Market Data from iSuppli

iSuppli published more market data from its latest Q1 2012 report:

Shipments last year of CMOS sensors accounted for 92% of all area image sensors—an overwhelming share that translated into some 2.1 billion units, up 31% from 1.6 billion in 2010.

With the remaining 8 percent of the market, CCD sensor shipments in 2011 fell to 180.3 million units, down 2% from 184.5 million in 2010. In 2010, the CMOS share of the sensor market was 90% vs. 10% for CCD.

The pattern of CMOS dominance will continue through the years in the face of CCD’s irreversible decline. By 2015, CMOS shipments will amount to 3.6 billion units or 97% market share, compared to CCD shipments of just 95.2 million, or 3%, as shown in the figure below:


Mobile handsets remain the dominant application for CMOS sensors, representing 79% of total CMOS shipments in 2011. Videoconferencing is the second-biggest application market in terms of CMOS shipments, due to the inclusion of cameras in notebook computers. CMOS sensors also found increasing use in two growing markets—the security space through network video surveillance systems; and in automotive systems through the use of back-up cameras and in such applications as lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection and infrared night vision.

In comparison, CCDs are finding acceptance in the industrial markets and in digital still cameras. But even here, CCD use is declining. Among high-end DSLRs, for instance, CCD use will shrink from 12% in 2011 to just 1% by 2014. And because the camera space is weakening as a whole while consumers gravitate toward smartphones, overall CCD consumption will decline further, IHS believes.

BSI Adoption:

Even though BSI cost approximately 20% more than FSI in 2011, the superior BSI sensor will continue to make inroads into phones. Projected to be in 56% of smartphones and higher-end feature handset camera phones during 2012, BSI sensors will be present in 92% of the same class of handsets by 2015 as prices come down.

Top Players:

Among companies competing in the space, Sony, was the top player for overall image sensors during the Q4 2012 2011, followed by OmniVision, Aptina, Sharp and Samsung.

Rumor: Nokia 803 to Feature World's Largest Mobile Phone Sensor

Infomobile: Nokia 803 phone to land in May 2012, said to pack the largest camera sensor the mobile world has ever seen. Nokia 803 is supposed to be a successor of famous N8 featuring Toshiba 12MP sensor.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The DALSA Art of Making Large Image Sensors

Teledyne DALSA blog has another post titled "The Art of Making Large Image Sensors (or Quilting with Silicon)". The post mostly talks about stitching to get sensors bigger than the reticle size.

Sigma Cameras Named in Honor of Foveon Innovator

Business Wire: Sigma announced the new Merrill series of digital cameras with the introduction of the DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill. The Merrill series is named in honor of Richard “Dick” Merrill, the co-creator of the Foveon X3 technology that powers Sigma’s lineup of cameras.

Merrill (1949-2008) was a brilliant engineer, talented photographer and Foveon co-founder. "This revolutionary image capture system reflects both the artistic and technological sides of Merrill’s personality," said Kazuto Yamaki, CEO of Sigma Corporation. "As an expression of Sigma’s passion for photography and in honor of Dick Merrill’s genius, we have named the latest generation of the Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor the Foveon Merrill."

Sigma blog post re-captures the Foveon and Dick's Merrill history. Shri Ramaswami, General Manager of Foveon, recalls Dick Merrill as a man of vision and passion: "Dick had an excellent grasp of semiconductor technology, combined that with a newly ignited passion for imaging and built an entirely new, breakthrough imaging system. He took a personal stake in making Foveon X3 image sensor technology a reality, seeing an opportunity to make something truly unique and special. He possessed a rare combination of passion and genius that drove him to move from theory, to prototype, to product."

Panasonic to Strengthen Image Sensor Operations

Mainichi: Panasonic, Fujitsu and Renesas have begun talks to merge their system chip operations, according to the newspapers sources. The parties are aiming to reach a basic agreement at the end of March, with a view to setting up the new company at the end of the business year through March 2013.

Panasonic is also reported to independently strengthen its image sensor operations. It's not clear if this business is a part of the discussed merge.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Truesense Imaging Officially Presented

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Truesense Imaging has formally announced its new corporate identity. Formerly the Image Sensor Solutions (ISS) division of Eastman Kodak Company, Truesense Imaging was acquired by Platinum Equity through a transaction with Kodak that closed on November 7, 2011 and Truesense is now operating as an independent company. Truesense Imaging, as part of the Platinum Equity portfolio, will continue to provide the industry’s broadest range of image sensor devices that combine the high resolution, ultra-fast frame speeds, and unmatched image quality that customers all over the world depend upon for their most demanding applications.

We are extremely pleased to officially announce the launch of our new brand and corporate identity,” said Chris McNiffe, Chief Executive Officer of Truesense Imaging and former general manager of Kodak’s ISS business. “As an independent company, we now have a great opportunity to expand our leadership position and to grow into new markets and new applications that leverage our core strengths in imaging technology. This is a very positive step forward for our business, our employees and, of course, our customers.

Truesense Imaging is headquartered in Rochester, NY. The company-owned facilities in Rochester house all research & development, marketing, and business operations, including a highly specialized image sensor manufacturing operation.

Omnivision Rumors

Seeking Alpha publishes few speculations trying to explain the recent spike in Omnivision's stock price:

"1. Buyout Rumors - There have been OmniVision buyout rumors in the past, but these most recent ones seem to have an element of validity due to the unexplained spike in the stock price. Past rumors of either Apple or Nokia purchasing OmniVision have been tenuous at best and shot down quickly. However, one rumor surfacing this week is particularly intriguing and that is of a possible buyout by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Kingdom Holding Company. a recent interview with the Dubai Chronicle, Al-Waleed bin Talal mentions that his company is interested in investing in American technology companies. Whether it be from royalty or from some other suitor, it appears as if there is interest in the M&A market for the asset-rich camera chip supplier.

2. Ipod Nano Camera - The next rumor arises from the report by that the next iPod Nano will go back to having a 1.3MP camera after that feature was skipped in the most recent Nano generation. This would be excellent news for OmniVision because it is known for providing lower-end camera chips such as the front-facing one in the new Iphone.

3. OV10810 confidence - The final positive indicator is that OmniVision's new 10-megapixel CMOS image sensor has been named the "Best image sensor of 2011" by Electronic Design Magazine. This restores faith in the ability of the company to innovate to meet the ever-increasing needs of cell phone manufacturers.

Aptina CX-Sized Sensor Named Finalist of 2012 Electronics Creativity Award

PR Newswire: UBM announced the finalists for the 2012 UBM Electronics ACE Awards. The new awards program brings together the EE Times ACE (Annual Creativity in Electronics) Awards and EDN's Innovation Awards into one program. The awards program honors the people and companies behind the technologies and products that are changing the world of electronics. The awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday, March 27 at The Fairmont San Jose, during DESIGN West - a new conference and expo.

The only image sensor in the finalists list is Aptina AR1010 high-speed sensor. It appears to be quite similar to one used in Nikon J1/V1 mirrorless interchangable lens camera (Chipworks report). EDN explains why this sensor was selected:

"Aptina’s AR1010 is a high-speed, CX-format, 10-MP CMOS image sensor that is enabling a new class of consumer digital still camera. Traditional compact digital still cameras (DSCs) have the benefits of being reasonably priced and easy to use but are slow and use small-format sensors that provide a less than optimal imaging performance. The alternative has been for consumers to upgrade to DSLR cameras that are bulkier, more expensive, and not so easy to use, yet use larger-format sensors that allow the capture of quite high-quality images. The new MILC segment is taking the best from DSCs and DSLRs to provide a camera that is reasonable in size and price, yet uses a larger-format sensor for high-performance imaging. The AR1010 targets this MILC segment and does so with a unique high-speed sensor design to further advance the speed of image capture and eliminate the slow camera response. The AR1010 has enabled a leading camera manufacturer to introduce an innovative camera in the MILC segment and highlights the performance benefits and advanced features the sensor enables. Key benefits/features of this particular camera enabled by the AR1010 sensor are a large CX-format imaging array with high sensitivity (ISO100 to ISO6400); small and light interchangeable lens digital cameras; full HD video, 1080p; fast autofocus system; focal plane phase-detection AF + contrast-detect AF; 10fps continuous shooting, with AF tracking; and 60fps full resolution shooting."

Monday, February 06, 2012

Panavision Patent Claims Against Aptina and Canon Turned Down

Law360: A California court on Friday shot down patent claims brought by Panavision Imaging against Canon USA, Micron and Aptina, ruling that the companies did not infringe a patent covering video imaging technology.

In two separate orders, U.S. District Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer granted a pair of motions for summary judgment of noninfringement brought by Canon as well as Micron and Aptina, finding that Panavision failed to prove the companies infringed its patent covering an invention.

The original lawsuit included Omnivision as well. It's not clear what has happened with this part of the lawsuit.

Update: Weil: The recent news on patent dismissal relate to US Patent 6,818,877. Panavision originally brought the suit in 2009, alleging infringement of four of its imaging technology patents. In April 2011, Judge Pfaelzer dismissed three of the patents-in-suit.

TSMC and Omnivision Build Walls Between Pixels

TSMC proposes to use deep trench isolation to reduce crosstalk between BSI pixels. Its patent application US20120025199 covers two cases of deep trench isolation in BSI sensor. One goes through the whole BSI wafer thickness, thus completely isolating pixels one from another:

In the other version the deep trench starts from the backside, but stops before reaching the front surface:

Omnivision patent application US20120019695 proposes a process to create dark sidewalls 445 between color filters to reduce optical crosstalk:

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Steve Appleton, Micron's CEO, Dies in a Plane Crash

Micron announced that Steve Appleton, Micron Chairman and CEO, passed away this morning in a small plane accident in Boise. He was 51.

Steve was the person who decided on Photobit acquisition in 2001, entered image sensor business and, in 2009, spun off this business as Aptina, selling majority stake in it to private equities. Although Micron is not image sensor vendor anymore, its Italian Fab continues to manufacture image sensors for Aptina.

This Youtube video gives more details about the life and death of Steve Appleton:

Reuters: Micron's board named Mark Durcan, the president and COO, as temporary CEO of the company.

OSA on Next Generation Mobile Phone Cameras

OSA Optics and Photonics News features an article "Next-Generation Cell Phone Cameras" by Tim Hayes, currently in open access. The 3-page long article overviews optical developments, such as Varioptic lens, Tessera wafer level cameras, LED flashes, etc. One of the insets includes Gartner forecast of the camera market:

Once we talk about mobile phone camera modules, there is a market share slide in the January 2012 Tessera presentation:

Saturday, February 04, 2012

RAL, FBK, Harvest on Imaging Trends

Image Sensors 2012 continues the series of interviews of the presenters. Mostly the same questions are asked and answered.

Albert Theuwissen, Harvest Imaging:

Q: Are there any disruptive technologies on the horizon that you feel will have a big impact in the coming years?

A: Maybe there are, but I am not in a position to talk about it because I am working with some people on these type of technologies!

Renato Turchetta, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL):

Q: Can you outline the emerging technologies in this field? [imagers for non-visible parts of spectrum]

A: I have been working for a long time in medical imaging. In large area applications, like mammography or chest radiography, TFT technology has been the major player for many years now. CMOS technology is starting to emerge and it could become the major player in the next few years.

David Stoppa of Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK):

Q: What are the main barriers to more widespread uptake of [Time-of-Flight] technology and what are the main focuses and technical challenges?

A: It has been recently demonstrated that other 3D imaging technologies (Kinect) having a similar level of system complexity entered mass markets at incredibly low cost. In the past, Time-of-Flight cameras were intended for industrial control applications where a reliable measurement system was needed and system cost was not the main concern. Nowadays, ToF technology holds all the key features to enter consumer electronics markets although some important challenges are still open, above all the reduction of the system power consumption in order to successfully implement 3D on portable devices.

iSuppli: CCD Market Share Dropped to 8% in 2011

IHS iSupply Image Sensor Market Q1 2012 report states that CMOS sensors took 73% of the revenue and 92% of the units shipped in 2011. "CMOS technology is expected to climb even higher in future years, to 90 percent of revenues for sensors and 97 percent of shipments.

CMOS sensors already dominate cameras in notebook PCs cameras with 100% penetration as a result of their lower power and cost advantages.

While CCD manufacturers are attempting to compete with price reductions due to yield improvements, we believe this will not help in the long run as CMOS continues to improve with offering technologies such as back side illumination (BSI) improving low light conditions.

Even in one of CCDs largest segments – digital still cameras – the technology is waning projected to drop to 25 percent of CCD revenues and 27 percent of all CCD units by 2015.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Nethra Announces Ultra-Low Power H.264 1080p60 SoC

Business Wire: Nethra Imaging announces the first member of its NI-5 family of visual platform SoC, the NI-5035. Targeting applications such as action/sports/activity camcorders, network IP security and surveillance cameras and IP encoders, the NI-5035 delivers a new level of low power with BOM flexibility previously unavailable to system designers. The NI-5035 features an ISP, a H.264 Codec and Video Processor capable of supporting multiple encoding streams up to 1080p60, a noise reduction including 3D temporal de-noise, a video electronic image stabilization and a Motion Compensated Temporal Filtering (MCTF).

"Unlike DSP based solutions available today, the NI-5035’s unique true hardware-accelerated architecture enables a much lower power profile and far greater control over the visual pipeline with the lowest-possible latency possible," said Ramesh Singh, Nethra Imaging’s CEO. "Nethra’s approach contrasts with other SoCs that utilize more power-hungry embedded DSP cores for the imaging and video ‘heavy-lifting’, thereby limiting user control and application power optimization."

Since the NI-5035 is fully hardware accelerated, the on-chip applications processor is fully available to the system software designer for performing analytics, full OS implementation and a host of image and video compute applications.

The NI-5035 is currently being designed into multiple applications and will be available for volume production in Q2 of 2012.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Scallop's Novel Color Filters Improve Low-Light Imaging

Scallop Imaging, a division of Tenebraex, presents "Gemini Technology: Color imaging under all lighting conditions, including extreme low light". The company says "we have developed a new system of producing color video imagery in low light that offers an order of magnitude better low light performance compared to standard RGB sensors.

Instead of the standard RGB three-filter set, our Gemini system uses unique high transmission color filters to produce a full color image from two channels under all lighting conditions, including extreme low light

Scallop says that from its research over the years in human color vision it has developed a system that human observer perceives at full color despite only 2 colors are being used.

Not much more info is given. A 112MB video file from 1.2MP monochrome CMOS sensor (3.75 µm pixel) equipped with Gemini color filters compares to the color version of the same image sensor.

A video frame recorded at 0.18 lux (equivalent to 3/4 moon), 15 fps taken with
a color 1.2 megapixel image sensor.
Capture from video - same image as above post-processed to add brightness
A Gemini prototype video frame taken with the same exposure and frame rate
as above, with monochrome 1.2 Mpixel image sensors equipped with Gemini
color filters.
0.06 Lux (equivalent to crescent moon), 15fps Capture from Gemini video
Magnified image shows there are only two color channels.
Thanks to EC for the link!

Update: Added another snapshot of Gemini technology demo from the video - the picture below was created out of one monochrome and one filtered channel:

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

More Info on Samsung 16MP 1.34um-Pixel Sensor

Samsung published flyer of its 1.34um BSI pixel-based 16MP sensor, the S5K2P1, announced in Sept. 2011. The flyer has Macbeth pictures in normal and low-light modes (lens is not specified):

Having SNR of 35dB at 40% gray level means that this 40% signal is at least 3100e-. Then the 100% signal can reach 7.7Ke-. If true, it's quite an achievement for that small pixel.

Correction: As written in comments, the gray level is closer to 20% (19.8%, according to Poynton). Then the full well should be beyond 15Ke-, hard to believe. The flyer only mentions on-chip bad pixel and lens shading corrections, says nothing about noise reduction.

The production schedule seems to be delayed as compared with the September announcement. The flyer says that the S5K2P1 is sampling now with volume production scheduled for Q1 2012.

Movidius and Toshiba Present 3D Imaging Platform

EETimes: Movidius announces it has partnered with Toshiba to develop a 3D system solution for the smartphone market. Movidius' MA1178 3D processor has been combined with Toshiba's 8MP EDOF cameras to enable 3D camera module manufacturers to deliver a 3D imaging solution for top of the range smartphones. EDOF cameras offer distinct advantages over traditional autofocus in terms of 3D synchronisation.

The Movidius MA1178 Dual ISP and video processor compensates for sub‐optimal vertical alignment of the camera sensors and for differences between pitch, yaw and roll of the sensors.  Also variations in sensor colors are balanced. The system solution offers flexibility for customers to implement a symmetric or asymmetric set up of either two 8MP EDOF cameras or a combination of 8MP and 3MP EDOF cameras:

The Movidius MA1178 ISP features:

  • 2D&3D Video Capture up to HD 720p
  • 2D Image Capture up to 8MP
  • 3D Image Capture up to 8MP
  • Dual ISP Pipelines
  • Half Side-by-Side 3D Capture Format
  • Dual Camera Rectification Algorithms
  • Auto-synchronization of AE, AWB, AF or EDOF
  • Automatic Convergence
    <0.75m – to – far object distances