Friday, March 31, 2017

Entropix Pitches Dual Cameras for Security Applications

Entropix proposes dual cameras for security and surveillance applications:

LiFi Basics and Recent Progress

SPIE publishes a video by Harald Haas of University of Edinburgh and pureLiFi Ltd. explaining LiFi basics and the recent progress:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Qualcomm Glance Camera Module

MIT Technology Review: Qualcomm is working on Glance camera module that combines image sensor and a low-power processor that runs computer-vision algorithms. On a smartphone, Glance could make new security features practical, says Jeff Henckels, Qualcomm’s director of product management and business development. He says that manufacturers are interested in using iris scans to identify people and unlock phones—but a device’s camera can’t be constantly active without draining the battery. A Glance sensor consumes about 2mW of power, as opposed to hundreds of milliwatts for a typical smartphone camera module. Its resolution of 320 x 240 pixels isn’t high enough to handle tasks like facial recognition or to map the image of an individual’s iris, but it can recognize when a person is facing a phone’s screen and then activate the device’s front-facing camera to scan his or her iris.

Henckels says engineering samples of Glance hardware and a software development kit are in the hands of several device makers, and that smartphone vendors are testing the iris-scan capabilities. He declined to say when products featuring the technology would appear, or when Qualcomm would turn it into a commercial product.

Himax Announces UltraSenseIR Sensor

GlobeNewsWire: In line with its new focus on computer vision applications, Himax announces the UltraSenseIR HM1062 HD sensor delivering 44% NIR QE for a wide range of eye-safe, computer vision applications for compact devices such as front facing cameras for smartphones, notebooks, wearable devices, drones and other embedded devices. The company does not specify the wavelength at which the high QE has been measured.

Excellent NIR sensitivity with low noise performance is critical for high quality image data acquisition and allows computer vision systems to process and analyze the image data more effectively, and even capture data that would have been undetectable with a lower sensitivity sensor,” said Amit Mittra, CTO of Himax Imaging. “In an active light system, laser diodes are commonly used to project patterns that are superimposed on to the scene and decoded by the computer vision algorithms. The Himax UltraSenseIR™ NIR sensitivity allows for the reduction of the laser output power which can substantially improve the eye safety of the device.

Our growing UltraSenseIR™ product line has received positive feedback from our partners due to advancements in system performance and also opportunities to reduce system cost, power and mechanical dimensions,” said Jordan Wu, CEO of Himax Technologies. “As many industries and applications place more sensing elements and intelligence into smaller devices, the HM1062 compact 1/6.5-inch optical format, small package size and low external component requirement is ideal for a wide variety of embedded computer vision devices on the applications of handsets, tablets, laptops, other consumer electronics, automobiles, surveillance and Internet of Things.

The HM1062 operates up to 60 fps in 720p HD resolution, and up to 120 fps in binning or sub-sampling mode over MIPI CSI2. The HM1062 is currently sampling and scheduled for mass production by the second quarter of 2017.

Yet Another Mobileye Lecture

Mobileye CTO & Chairman Amnon Shashua delivers a keynote at Bosch ConnectedWorld Conference 2017:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Teledyne Completes Acquisition of e2v

Teledyne and e2v jointly announce the successful completion of the acquisition by Teledyne of e2v. The aggregate value for the transaction was approximately £627M (or approximately $789M) taking into account e2v stock options and net debt as of September 2016. For the year ended March 31, 2016, e2v had sales of approximately £236M. Excluding transaction-related expenses, Teledyne management expects the transaction to be accretive to earnings per share.

Every business within e2v is highly complementary to Teledyne and will contribute to our balanced portfolio of highly engineered products. From industrial machine vision to space-based imaging... our respective capabilities and engineering-centric cultures are truly a great fit,” said Robert Mehrabian, Chairman, President and CEO of Teledyne. “We are proud to continue e2v’s 70-year legacy of innovation and specialized high technology products. In addition, e2v adds greater critical mass and technical resources to Teledyne in key locations, including the United Kingdom; Grenoble, France; and Seville, Spain.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Yole on Intel Acquisition of Mobileye

Yole publishes its analysis of Intel-Mobileye deal, mostly saying that both companies need each other to compete on the heated autonomous driving would-be market. Yole predicts the 2020-s will be the decade of sensing:

The autonomous vehicles take-off is expected in 5-10 years from now:

And some market data:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Nikkei: Panasonic Possibly Divests from TPSCo

Nikkei: Panasonic prepares a restructuring plan to improve its financial performance. As a part of the plan, Panasonic contemplates selling its share in TowerJazz-Panasonic JV: "In the chip business, the company is weighing unloading shares in a joint venture with an Israeli enterprise."

ToF Imaging Book

It came to my attention that CRC Press released "High Performance CMOS Range Imaging: Device Technology and Systems Considerations" by Andreas Suss in 2016. The book appears to be a version of Andreas Suss 2014 PhD Thesis, freely available on Duisburg University site.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mobileye Lecture at MIT

MIT Center for Brains, Minds and Machines publishes a lecture "The Convergence of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Towards Enabling Autonomous Driving" by Amnon Shashua, Mobileye CTO and Chairman, that has been live streamed yesterday. The lecture also has a nice Q&A session starting 0:51:00 time, the camera requirements questions start at 1:08:34:

Thanks to DS for the link!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Magna Forecasts Automotive Camera Market to Reach $10B in 2020

AutomotiveNews: Magna VP Joel Gibson said the total market value for camera-based driver assistance systems is “growing very quickly” and he expects it to be worth about $10b per year by 2020. “It’s a very large growth area for Magna,” he said. Magna expects its car camera business to grow to $1B from the current $450M per year.

On another automotive news, AutoSens publishes a tutorial "What is LiDAR and why is it so important to driverless cars?" explaining the LiDAR basics and its strengths and weaknesses.

In yet another automotive news, NYTimes reports a use case for an in-car camera: "In France, Valeo, another supplier of automotive technology, is developing an infrared camera system that will monitor children in the rear seat as well as the driver’s shoulder, neck and head movements, looking for deviations from the norm.

Checking body temperature and even how the driver is dressed, the system will also be able to customize the interior temperature for each driver, said Guillaume Devauchelle, the company’s innovation director.

Inside ToF Proximity Sensor of iPhone 7 Plus

Systemplus Consulting publishes reverse engineering report of ST SPAD-based proximity sensor inside Apple iPhone 7 Plus. "The custom Apple device measures 2.80 mm x 2.40 mm, half the size of the rest of STMicroelectronics’s portfolio." VCSEL is integrated on top of the SPAD sensor chip:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

ST SPAD Presentation

ST kindly permitted me to publish few slides from Bruce Rae presentation "Fully industrialised Foundry SPAD in an optimised 130nm CMOS imaging technology" at Image Sensors Europe in London, UK, on March 15, 2017:

Update: ST asked me to add a following statement:

"STM adds SPADs to its CIS foundry business in addition to its advanced CIS processes and pixels. STM is now enriching its CIS foundry offer with access to its 130nm CMOS SPAD technology. The fully industrialized SPAD pixel and associated IPs, shipped in more than 250 Million of STM’s FlightSenseTM technology based products, is now available to STM customers under a foundry business model. Customers can now benefit from more than 10 years of R&D, as well as a proven, reliable, high volume capable supply chain. Regular MPW shuttles are planned, starting in Sept 2017."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Taiwan Distributors Report High CIS Demand

Digitimes: Taiwan-based Coasia Microelectronics and Sunnic Technology & Merchandise, report 17.7% and 18% YoY sales growth, according to industry sources. Coasia distributes CMOS sensors mainly for Samsung, while Sunnic sells Sony's CMOS sensors.

The growth in demand in 2017 has been attributed to a growing number of new smartphones including entry-level and mid-range models that will feature a dual-lens setup, said Digitimes sources.

Indeed, even $65 phones such as DooGee Shoot 2 feature dual 5MP rear camera these days:

EETimes on ST SPAD Imager in iPhone 8

EETimes quotes Yole's analyst Pierre Cambou findings that ST SPAD imager might appear in the oncoming Apple iPhone 8. Few quotes:

"Yole’s educated guess is that ST is bringing a brand new 3D (array) imager to Apple iPhone 8 — an innovation that will alter the phone’s user interface.

Here’s a fact: As many as 10 Apple engineers have been working on imaging in Grenoble over the last few years. Their presence is open knowledge among locals, according to Cambou. The local newspaper reported last summer that Apple signed a lease with the city of Grenoble to open a research and development center there. The 800-square-meter facility will reportedly focus on imaging components and employ about thirty engineers.

Cambou suspects that ST could be using Silicon on insulator (SOI)-based wafers for the new SPAD 3D imagers. He said, “This is the way people have been doing BSI in the Grésivaudan valley (in Crolles…) for a long time.

Rockchip Compares its ISP with Apple

Embedded Vision publishes Rockchip article comparing its AP image processing engine with one from Apple:

"The RK1608 utilizes the CEVA-XM4 DSP core to perform frame-based processing, rather than line-based as in ISP. Because it is specifically designed for image processing, it can perform much faster than a standard AP. It includes features like multi frame de-noise, zig-zag HDR for preview and capture, HDR processing of multi-exposed image, depth map generation, super resolution and pseudo optical zoom. The vision coprocessor’s function is not dependent on the ISP, so it can be adapted to any platform.

One phone already available on the market that uses the RK1608 for enhanced photography, is the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom smartphone, launched earlier this year at CES 2017. If there was ever a phone that truly threatened DSLRs, this is it. This device was designed to be a camera just as much as it was designed to be a phone. The aperture, pixel size and sensor are among the largest in the industry at f/1.7, 1.4µm and 1/2.55”, respectively. It uses new SuperPixel camera technology for clearer images at night or in low-light environments and offers 2.5-times greater light sensitivity than the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

e2v Whitepaper on CCD QE in the Soft X-Ray Range

e2v publishes a nice paper explaining CCD properties in soft X-Ray band. Few quotes:

"On average, 3.6 eV is required for each free signal electron emitted from the silicon atom after absorption of an X-ray photon [20], with variance as per the Fano factor. The complete absorption of a 500 eV X-ray photon produces on average approximately (500 / 3.6) = 139 signal electrons, but a large number of steps are involved in this absorption."

AND not OR: CCD & CMOS Technologies for Industrial Markets

ON Semi publishes Michael DeLuca talk at Vision Show held in Stuttgart, Germany, in Nov. 2016:

EETimes Visits Chronocam

EETimes publishes an article on its visit of Chronocam. Few quotes:

"Chronocam’s sensor technology is designed to acquire data that’s simplified and tailored for machines to use. This dramatically reduced data load should allow cars to make almost real-time decisions.

Even the slightest hint of a market revolution is exciting to any inventor of a new technology. This isn’t a thrill, however, that stirs the incumbents who supply conventional image sensors.

With that resistance in place, it it’s tough to convincing others to consider a path they’ve never taken before. Talking them into embracing it, joining the revolution and building “an eco-system” is not a job for the fainthearted. Chronocam’s CEO Verre, however, is undeterred.

He cited three key advantages Chronocam’s event-driven sensor can provide. “We generate much less data, we enable faster reaction time, and we operate at a much wider dynamic range,” he explained.

Chronocam’s market positioning, however, has shifted significantly in one respect. Chronocam now believes, in entering the ADAS/autonomous car market, it doesn’t need to chart a collision course with an entire community of incumbent CMOS image sensor suppliers. Different from what we heard from the startup a year ago, Chronocam today is pitching its technology as one of the several different sensors to be added to ADAS/autonomous cars for safety.

EMCCD Generations

Raptor Photonics publishes a whitepaper explaining EMCCD generations differences. For some reason, ON Semi's EMCCD is not in the table, although the whitepaper is relatively new, dated by 2016/11:

Monday, March 20, 2017

World's Fastest Camera Presentation

SPIETV publishes a video of Lihong Wang, Caltech, presenting what he calls the world's fastest camera for ultrafast phenomena exploration:

2017 Image Sensors Europe Awards

Image Sensors Europe Conference announces its 2017 Awards in 5 categories:
  • Biggest Breakthrough Development
    Winner: Johannes Solhusvik, General Manager, Omnivision
  • Biggest Innovator in the Image Sensor Industry
    Winner: Shoji Kawahito, Imaging Devices Laboratory, Research Institute of Electronics, Shizuoka University
  • Best Academic Research Team
    Winner: Nobukazu Teranishi, Professor, Shizouka University/University of Hyogo
  • Image Sensor CEO/Managing Director of the Year
    Winner: Xinyang Wang, Founder & CEO, GPixel
  • Best Up-and-Coming Company
    Winner: Chronocam (Jean-Luc Jaffard, collected the award on behalf of Chronocam)

Xinyang Wang was absent at the Award ceremony

Eric Fossum Founds Gigajot Startup

Eric Fossum updates his LinkedIn page, saying that he has founded Gigajot Technology LLC devoted to "R&D for commercialization of the Quanta Image Sensor."

GoodCall site also reports that "In June, after [Jiaju] Ma completes his Ph.D., he will also make the move from inventor to entrepreneur. Ma will launch a startup, Gigajot, with Fossum to commercialize the QIS... Ma came to Dartmouth in 2012, and since then, he’s worked with Fossum on the Quanta Image Sensor (QIS), which can greatly enhance low-light sensitivity."

Thanks to AJ for the pointer!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Analog Devices Unveils Smart Logarithmic Camera

Analog Devices quietly unveils the ADIS1700x, "an embedded vision sensing module engineered for a full range of emerging real-time, smart city and smart building applications, such as parking, traffic monitoring, and municipal light control. The ADIS1700x brings both advanced imaging and intelligence to the edge. The log imager enables clear, accurate imaging in both extreme brightness and darkness. It also generates output contrast at the pixel level, greatly reducing processing load. This allows for on-board algorithms that can deliver at-the-node analytics, so it’s possible to accurately and reliably distinguish between different objects, such as people and vehicles."

ADIS17001 preliminary product page presents a block diagram and the list of features of the new smart camera:
  • Imager: ADVIS200x (QVGA ultrahigh DR logarithmic sensor)
    130dB DR
    Edge detection and homography analytics algorithm for tracking and counting object motion
  • 400MHz ADSP-BF707WCCPZ-4 Blackfin digital signal processing
    Low power of 110mW
    512Mb LPDDR SRAM for advanced algorithms
  • Image Stabilization
    Dual axial digital gyroscope, up to ± 100°/s dynamic range
    Tri-axial digital accelerometer, up to ±16 g dynamic range
  • Autonomous operation and data collection
    Configurable boot-loader installed within flash memory
  • Lens: ADIS17001 provides a 110° horizontal FOV lens, while the ADIS17002 provides a 67° FOV
  • Form factor 45 mm × 45 mm
  • Factory calibrated optical focus and alignment
  • Conformal coated for environmental mitigation

Apparently, the new camera is a result of acquisition of Swiss startup Snap Sensor a year ago.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

ADAS Camera Market Report

Chinese CITIC Securities' report on ADAS market has an interesting data on automotive cameras:

"As the penetration rate of ADAS rises, the camera market will likely grow rapidly. According to IHS Automotive, the annual global shipment of vehicle camera system will likely reach 74mn units in 2021E (vs. c.15mn units in 2014). China’s camera lens producers are leading in the global market. According to, China’s vehicle camera industry logged output of c.8.62mn, 60% of which are exported. Under a conservative scenario, assuming an ADAS system uses four cameras (actually 1-10 cameras can be used in an ADAS system), China’s annual shipment of vehicle camera will likely reach 100mn units by 2020E, implying a market size of over Rmb12bn and CAGR of over 70%."

"Camera module: China’s camera lens producers are leading in the global market. Optical lens are widely used in cell phone, vehicle cameras, and cameras. As the growth of cell phone and other digital products decelerates, camera lens producers are increasingly focusing on vehicle cameras. China’s camera lens producers are leading in the global market. For example, Sunny Optical Technology boasts the largest global shipment of vehicle rear-view cameras, with a market share of c. 30% and in cooperation with major auto manufacturers such as BMW, Benz, and Audi. In our view, the vehicle camera business will likely boost earnings of leading domestic camera lens producers.

Shenzhen O-Film Tech is a traditional leading producer of camera modules, with a presence in the supply chain of intelligent vehicles. O-Film Tech not only has the highest shipment of camera modules, but also has a presence in dual-camera modules ahead of its competitors.

Sunny Optical has the largest global shipment in the vehicle camera lens market, with a market share of c.30%. In the market of front cameras for ADAS, which have a higher requirement for safety, Sunny Optical has a market share of over 50%.

LIPS is About to Announce its 3D Camera Products

LIPS apparently is moving closer to release its 3D camera products to the market. The company's Youtube video shows the application possibilities:

Friday, March 17, 2017

ams Acquires Princeton Optronics to Control its 3D Imaging Supply Chain

PressePortal: ams is to acquire Princeton Optronics, one of the leading providers of Vertical Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers (VCSELs), in an all-cash transaction. The use of VCSELs is expected to gain momentum in 3D camera solutions for the Human Machine Interface (HMI). Broader adoption of 3D sensing in mobile and automotive applications could accelerate VCSEL market growth in the coming years.

Princeton Optronics operates an outsourced high volume supply chain with partners in Taiwan, the U.S., and the UK. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ (USA) with a total of 37 employees, Princeton Optronics has an annual revenue run-rate of around $10M and is profitable. The transaction includes an upfront consideration of $53.3M in cash and a substantial cash earn-out consideration related to realized 2017 and 2018 revenues, with a potential maximum earn-out value of $75M.

Alexander Everke, CEO of ams, commented on the transaction, "Adding the illumination source expands ams' optical sensor solutions offering, with the light path optics covered by Heptagon and the light sensor including filters by ams. Leveraging this portfolio ams can now design and manufacture the most complete and differentiated optical solutions for future growth areas like mobile 3D sensing and imaging or automotive autonomous driving. Princeton Optronics is a strategic partner to ams/Heptagon for optical sensing products already so we see a range of potential future synergies from this exciting combination."

Thanks to YG for the link!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Why Suzuki Does Not Use Stereo Camera for New Braking System

Nikkei: While Suzuki has been promoting the use of stereo cameras in 2015-2016, the company switched over to a monocular camera with an IR laser in its automatic braking system in the new Wagon R and Swift cars. The reason is said to be a high cost. The stereo camera based system cost was about $670. While it was 3 times cheaper that IR LiDAR system, it's still too expensive for a compact car. The Wagon R system is manufactured by Continental and costs about $525. The lower price was the reason for the design switch.

Suzuki Wagon R camera

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

3D Depth Sensing Tutorials

Hotchips Symposium publishes tutorials and other video from its August 2016 sessions. One of the videos talks about 3D sensors and applications (pdf files are linked below):

Intro: 3D Sensors for the Rest of Us
Larry Yang, Google

VR and AR Anytime and Everywhere: Contributions of PMD Depth Sensing to an Evolving Ecosystem
Bernd Buxbaum, PMD Tech

“Speaking in Volumes”: Volumetric Data Acceleration for Dense SLAM
David Moloney, Movidius

Inuitive Breakthrough Solution for AR and VR Worlds
Dor Zepeniuk, Inuitive

3D Reconstruction for Consumer Mobile Devices
Ivan Dryanovsk, Google

Mobile 3D Capture for Professional Applications
Rafael Spring, DotProduct

Omnivision Corporate Video

Omnivision publishes the company introduction video:

Update: Omnivision keeps changing this video, all the time changing its location. The above link is to the third version already.

SMIC Licenses Ziptronix Bonding Technology

BusinessWire: SMIC has executed a technology transfer and license agreement for Invensas’ Direct Bond Interconnect (DBI) technology. SMIC intends to offer this bonding technology to its image sensor manufacturing customers. Invensas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation (former Tessera).

As one of the leading foundries, SMIC delivers advanced semiconductor manufacturing processes to device makers around the world, and we are pleased to integrate DBI technology into our capabilities,” said Tzu-Yin Chiu, CEO and Executive Director of SMIC. “This technology is a key enabler for the fabrication of 3D stacked image sensors, and by working closely with Invensas, we will accelerate the development and commercialization of a new generation of imaging products for our customers.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

BlueFin: ST Crolles Fab Resumes Operation, No Schedule Concequences

SeekingAlpha: BlueFin analysts say that ST Crolles fab has returned to full operation after the minor fire incident. The delivery schedule for SPAD AF chips is not expected to deviate from the original one.

WHEC Scanner Technology

Chinese WHEC posts a video explaining the technology behind its money scanner:

Another video presents the company history starting from 1995.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fraunhofer Presents Thin Camera Concept

CIO, PCWorld: Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute presents a 3.5mm-thin smartphone camera module that removes the need for a camera bump.

"It uses four image sensors rotated 90 degrees so they point out of the side of the phone. A set of tiny mirrors in front of the sensors reflects the image from the front or rear of the phone.

The basic concept would have worked with a single mirror, said Jacques Duparré, a senior scientist at Fraunhofer's Microoptical Imaging Systems lab in Jena, Germany.

But it faltered at close range, so a second mirror was added and the two images stitched together. But then stitching errors could be seen in the images, so engineers added a second set of sensors and mirrors so the phone could calculate and eliminate the errors.

The mirrors simply flip around so images can be taken to the front and rear of the phone.

Analog Devices Demos Spectrometer and Occupancy Detector

Analog Devices publishes a video demo of compact spectrometer developed in partnership with Consumer Physics:

Another video demos the fruit of ADI recent acquisition of Swiss startup Snap Sensor. This is actually a version of the previously published video with a different presenter.

Automotive Acquisitions: Intel Buys Mobileye, Valeo Buys Gestigon

Reuters, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post: Intel is to buy Mobileye for $14 billion to $15 billion, at a significant premium over the NASDAQ market value of $10.5 billion. The two companies are expected to officially announce the deal in coming hours.

Valeo has acquired gestigon, a German start‑up developing 3D image processing software for the vehicle cabin. Ths acquisition provides a solution to develop simple, intuitive and effective human-machine interfaces (HMI) for cabin comfort and driving assistance operations, particularly in high-growth technologies such as interior cameras and image processing.

We are delighted to welcome gestigon to the Valeo community,” said Marc Vrecko, head of Valeo’s Comfort and Driving Assistance Systems Business Group. “A leader in human-machine interface solutions, this start-up enjoys recognized expertise in the automotive industry. By combining our skills in a larger team, we will sharpen our edge and reinforce our leadership in autonomous and connected cars.

Update: Mobileye acquisition is official now: Reuters, Bloomberg.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

BlueFin: Minor Fire at ST Crolles Fab Stops SPAD ToF Chips Production

SeekingAlpha quotes BlueFin Research analyst John Donovan saying a small basement fire in a cleanroom at ST fab in Crolles, France, halted SPAD chips production for Apple and other companies:

"This fab is the sole manufacturing facility for STM’s 3D sensors. This incident has currently shutdown the facility and our research indicates it could take several weeks to requalify the fab and resume production. Our understanding is that several AAPL employees are on site in Crolles presently. These 3D sensors have a long production cycle time and relatively low yield rates, which will make it difficult for STM to get back on their production schedule target with each day that the fab is incapacitated."

Friday, March 10, 2017

ON Semi Analyst Day

ON Semi conducts a financial analyst day today. Here are few slides from the image sensor group presented by the company SVP Taner Ozcelik:

On AR/VR market, ON Semi GS sensors are used in Facebook Oculus products, two sensors in each headset. DJI uses ON Semi image sensors in its drones.

A market forecast shows that, starting 2018-2019, ADAS cameras are to become the largest slice of the automotive imaging market:

Here is the interesting data on automotive image sensor market shares, with Toshiba separated from Sony for some reason:

Sony is said to be not so successful in capturing the automotive image sensors market. Mobileye and Nvidia use ON Semi image sensors in their products:

This slide explains the latest ON Semi move on radar and image sensor data fusion:

By dual sourcing, I'd guess TSMC and LFoundry/SMIC are meant:

Image Sensor R&D in Europe

Imaging & Machine Vision Europe interviews Gareth Powell, marketing manager for the high performance imaging division at e2v on image sensor development in Europe. Few quotes:

"Dense clusters of imaging players exist in various regions throughout Europe. Grenoble, France is one example where advanced technologies covering everything from x-rays to terahertz imaging are developed. Consumer imaging giants like STMicroelectronics, with its state-of-the-art, high-volume CMOS imaging fab, are also in the region.

Other players focused on more specialist and industrial imaging applications like e2v, Ulis/Sofradir, Trixell/Thales TED, and innovation centres like CEA-Leti, also form what has become known as ‘the Imaging Valley’. This breeds a rich ecosystem for start-ups like Isorg, which are innovating in the field of organic image sensors. Similar ecosystems exist in Belgium with ex-Fill Factory spin-offs like Cypress Imaging (now On Semiconductor) Cmosis, and Caeleste, among others, with research centres like Imec developing advanced process technology for hyperspectral imaging, for example. The German Fraunhofer institute innovates in 2D and 3D imaging for diverse applications.

One of the major factors driving image sensor development in Europe comes from funded programmes for applied imaging, enabling collaborators to bring concepts to market.

...A challenging request from camera and vision system customers serving the industrial markets is to reduce product price points. This is largely thanks to the emergence of new and aggressively priced competitors in a still fairly fragmented market.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Sony Multiple Sampling Sensor

Japanese Journal of Applied Physics publishes an open-access Sony paper "Noise reduction effect and analysis through serial multiple sampling in a CMOS image sensor with floating diffusion boost-driving" by Hayato Wakabayashi, Keiji Yamaguchi, and Yuuki Yamagata. Part of the material has been already published in other papers in the recent years.

"We have developed a 1/2.3-in. 10.3 mega pixel back-illuminated CMOS image sensor utilizing serial multiple sampling. This sensor achieves an RMS random noise of 1.3e- and row temporal noise (RTN) of 0.19e-. Serial multiple sampling is realized with a column inline averaging technique without the need for additional processing circuitry. Pixel readout is accomplished utilizing a 4-shared-pixel floating diffusion (FD) boost-driving architecture. RTN caused by column parallel readout was analyzed considering the transfer function at the system level and the developed model was verified by measurement data taken at each sampling time. This model demonstrates the RTN improvement of 1.6 dB in a parallel multiple readout architecture."

Brookman High Frame Rate Demo

Brookman presents high speed videos from its BT130A CMOS sensor: