Thursday, March 01, 2012

Eric Fossum Talks About Sensor Technology Trends

Image Sensors 2012 Conference published an interview with Eric Fossum answering on sensor technology questions. Some quotes:

Q: What new disruptive technologies do you see on the horizon?

A: Well of course my own pet project - Quanta Image Sensing (QIS)- could become a major disruption. I don't expect lightning to strike twice but as I like to say, you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. Computational imaging is getting interesting but it might be a few years before Moore's Law catches up to the aspirations of computational imaging and enables its full potential. I think computational imaging combined with the QIS could become a major paradigm shift but it is still early in that game. I think use of non-silicon materials could be disruptive if any of them work out. But, silicon is an amazing material and manufacturing and noise issues with non-silicon materials are non-trivial. Meanwhile, the rate of continuous improvement is so large that emerging technologies have to mature rapidly to have enough compelling advantage that they can grab a toehold in the marketplace once they get there. To that end, even a few years of continuous improvement can look disruptive to the user community.


  1. Eric, in digital domain the coding precision increases exponentially with the bit nuùber. A bit number can be coded reliably with a few of electrons which is less than the minimum electron number on a digital node. So the scalingdown still brings a fantastic advantage in term of power, speed & integration density.

    But for imaging pixel, there is no effect of the exponential increase with material ressource. What is the fundamental advantage for you to go to quantum pixel structure ? in QIS, the image quality will still be limited by the squre law.

    -yang ni

    1. Yang, Why not read my paper or come to IS2012? Perhaps there is no compelling commercial advantage to QIS .... or perhaps there is. Hard to say right now. That is why it is research. Anyway, it is a wide open research area and I find it rather interesting to explore it.

  2. Eric- Thanks for a very balanced assessment of the possibility. Most inventors go off the deep end with the amazing things their device can do. It's good to see enthusiasm tempered by realism! JM

  3. He's saying lightning striking twice. Not sure what the first time was. MOS imaging? There were several folks doing CMOS imaging, and MOS imaging was ancient.


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