Monday, July 31, 2023

Ubicept raises $8M for SPAD-based computer vision

From Businesswire:

Ubicept Raises $8M to Unlock Computer Vision in All Lighting Conditions by Counting Individual Photons

Company plans to use capital to attract new talent and expand into several new industries including 3D scanning and industrial automation 

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ubicept, the revolutionary computer vision technology company, today announced it has secured $8M in funding. The oversubscribed seed investment round was led by Ubiquity Ventures and E14 Fund, with participation from Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Phoenix Venture Partners (PVP), and several other investors and angel contributors.

Born out of the world-class labs of MIT and University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ubicept is redefining boundaries in the field of computer vision. Traditional computer vision relies on a dated "still frame" approach, whereas Ubicept bypasses this old logic and directly leverages single-photon sensors to turn the individual photons that hit an imaging sensor into a reliable computer vision output. The resulting perception system can operate in extreme lighting conditions, capture sharp images of high-speed motion, and even "see" around corners. Ubicept targets a price point similar to conventional camera systems.

“We are excited about this major milestone. This funding will allow us to accelerate our efforts to transform the way computers 'see' and understand the world, especially in challenging environments," said Sebastian Bauer, co-founder and CEO.

"Ubicept is the first company in the world with this "count individual photons" approach to computer vision. I see tremendous demand right now for this next generation of perception and the use cases it unlocks," said Sunil Nagaraj of Ubiquity Venture. Mr. Nagaraj has also joined the Ubicept Board of Directors.

Habib Haddad, Managing Partner of E14 Fund, adds: “The development in the market for single-photon sensors has picked up dramatically in the last few years, with smartphone manufacturers adding them to their devices for depth sensing. The processing Ubicept adds to such sensor type will enable their widespread use for general-purpose imaging and a wide array of computer vision applications. The output quality is so much better than what conventional sensors provide.” The new capital will be used to expand the Ubicept team, secure further intellectual property rights, and bring their product to more customers across several industries. This investment will strengthen Ubicept's position as the leader in single-photon computer vision.

About Ubicept
Ubicept is a computer vision startup spun out of the labs of MIT and UW-Madison. The company is developing advanced computer vision and image processing algorithms using single-photon sensitive image sensors that can function in extreme lighting conditions, swiftly capture motion, and even see around corners.

About Ubiquity Ventures
Ubiquity Ventures is a seed-stage institutional venture capital firm that invests in "software beyond the screen" startups and has over $150 million under management. Ubiquity's portfolio includes B2B technology companies that utilize smart hardware or machine learning to solve business problems outside the reach of computers and smartphones. By transforming real-world physical problems into the domain of software, Ubiquity startups tap into large greenfield markets and offer more effective solutions. See more details on the Ubiquity Ventures website at

About E14 Fund
E14 Fund is the MIT-affiliated, early stage venture capital firm. E14 Fund invests in MIT deep tech startups that are transforming traditional industries across a broad array of market-ready, scalable innovations in AI/ML, robotics, climate, biomanufacturing, life sciences, material science, sensing and more, supporting its portfolio and community with resources from across the MIT ecosystem. For more information, visit

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Sony still leads CIS market: Yole report

Yole press release July 21, 2023: CIS: Sony is still leading the market

  • A 5.1% CAGR between 2022 and 2028 is announced in Yole Intelligence‘s yearly analysis. The market should reach $28.8 billion at the end of the period.
  • CIS player market shares: there are no changes in the Top 5 compared to the year before. Sony is still leading the market with a 42% market share.
  • The CIS industry is pushed by technological innovations linked to performance, integrability, and new sensing capabilities.

2022 has been a transition year for the CIS industry. In the Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry report, Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group analysts see similar revenues to the year before and a slight decline in overall volumes. However, a significant transformation is underway in the market structure, as evident in the growth of the automotive segment and the increase in the CIS average selling price.

Florian Domengie, Senior, Technology & Market Analyst, Imaging at Yole Intelligence says:
"There is a trend for custom CMOS image sensor products for mid- and low-volume differentiated markets, including niche markets, that do not face the same performance and cost pressure as higher-volume markets such as mobile, automotive, and consumer. Currently, numerous companies are adopting this approach."

Sony is again increasing its commanding position while Omnivision has retreated to close to its pre-COVID-19 market share. Samsung also reduced its footprint, apparently to the benefit of SK hynix. Onsemi saw an exceptional 2022, boosted by the automotive and industrial markets. GalaxyCore and SmartSens have retreated, apparently due to the disinflation of the low-end mobile and security camera markets.

The economic conflict between the U.S. and China has left its mark on the geographically competitive CIS landscape. Initially, the U.S. sanctions on Huawei mainly hit Sony while boosting the Chinese CIS players. The latter then prospered thanks to domestic market opportunities in consumer, automotive, and security. However, in 2022 the bubble burst in the security market, while the U.S. efforts to hit Chinese semiconductor firms also translated into CIS suppliers.

With the slowdown in the mobile and computing market and the recent temporary drop in the security CIS market, Chinese CIS suppliers aim to decrease their exposure to these markets and gain market share in those that are thriving and deliver higher value and ASP : Automotive and industrial. In addition, the domestic market ensures a high demand for these applications.

Overall, there are ongoing investments to either secure capacity, including for logic wafer production, or develop in-house technologies as a strategic vision to get further market share.



From a market perspective, Yole Intelligence announces a return to steady growth. CIS revenues stagnated in 2022, at US$21.3 billion, in the continuity of a soft-landing situation compared to the largely inflated growth experienced in previous years. The general inflation in 2022 translated to a significant slowdown in consumer product sales, such as smartphones: Yole Intelligence’s imaging analysts estimate a 10% decrease. 

However, higher-end CIS products and new sensing opportunities will sustain the mobile CIS market in the coming years. In addition, automotive cameras are experiencing good growth enabled by in-cabin, viewing, and ADAS applications, promoted further by safety regulations.
In parallel, the share of the mobile CIS market should continue to decrease compared to the growing share of automotive, security, and industrial CIS, with the resulting product mix maintaining the overall ASP beyond US$3.

“We have adjusted downward our long-term CIS forecast, with a 5.1% revenue CAGR from 2022 – 2028, and the resulting CIS revenues should reach US$29 billion by 2028”, explains Domengie.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Videos of the day: DXOMARK, ams OSRAM

DXO published a webinar on automotive sensors characterization. Image Science Director Laurent Chanas and Product Marketing Specialist Fabien Montagné present the IEEE-P2020 full testing suite dedicated to the automotive industry and answer some questions from the audience.

ams OSRAM Mira050 0.5MP image sensor demo: Demonstrating how the ams OSRAM Mira050 0.5MP image sensor provides an industry leading solution for augmented and virtual reality glasses.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Photonis acquires El-Mul

Photonis announces the acquisition of El-Mul, leader in ion and electron detection solutions

Mérignac, France and Rehovot, Israel – July 19, 2023
Photonis a global leader of electro-optical detection and imaging technologies for defense and industrial markets, held by HLD since 2021, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Israeli company El-Mul, a specialist developer and manufacturer of advanced charged particle detectors and devices.

By welcoming El-Mul along with Xenics, Telops and Proxivision acquired in the last eight months, Photonis Group pursues its diversification and establishes itself as the sole sizeable European technology platform providing differentiated detection and imaging solutions across the electromagnetic spectrum to a variety of high-growth end markets worldwide.

“With the acquisition of El-Mul, Photonis group will gain access to the Electron Microscopy and Semiconductor inspection markets from a strong leading position, will reinforce its technology leadership in the Mass Spectrometry market and accelerate its growth into industrial and commercial markets.” Jérôme Cerisier, CEO of Photonis Group said.

El-Mul, based in Israel with 50 employees, is a well-established technology leader in the field of detection systems for Scanning Electron Microscopes for both the Analytical and Semiconductor industries as well as the field of electron and ion optics for Mass Spectrometry, having a strong position in the worldwide high-end markets.

“El-Mul has emerged as an innovative leader in electron and ion detection with the continued support of its founders and shareholders Cheifez family since 1992. Joining Photonis Group is a real opportunity to accelerate our growth. We will benefit from the group expertise, technological and commercial base, and international reach. There are also very promising synergies between our companies in terms of market, product range and R&D. Especially new R&D co-developments should bring significant added value to our customers.” Sasha Kadyshevitch, CEO of El-Mul said.

The transaction is finalized. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.
Accompanied by HLD since 2021, Photonis is a high-tech company, with more than 85 years of experience in the innovation, development, manufacture and sale of technologies in the field of photo detection and imaging. Today, it offers its customers detectors and detection solutions: its power tubes, digital cameras, neutron & gamma detectors, scientific detectors and intensifier tubes allow Photonis to respond to complex issues in environments extremely demanding by offering tailor-made solutions to its customers. Thanks to its sustained and permanent investment, Photonis is internationally recognized as a major innovator in optoelectronics, with production and R&D carried out on 8 sites, in Europe and the USA and over 1200 employees.

For more information:
Since its founding in 1992, El-Mul Technologies has established itself as a leading supplier of advanced, high performance particle detectors that meet the most challenging needs of its customers. El-Mul excels in tailor-design of solutions that match customers’ requirements. Complex detection solutions which incorporate mechanical, optical and electronic components are conceived from square one through to full development, prototyping and serial manufacturing. El-Mul’s products range from traditional detection modules to state-of-the-art systems. An emphasis on innovation, confidentiality and personal service drives its business philosophy. A key strategic business goal for El-Mul is to build long-term and fruitful relationships with its customers – delivering performance, high confidence and clear value.

For more information:

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Paper on "Charge-sweep" CIS Pixel

In a recent paper titled "Design and Characterization of a Burst Mode 20 Mfps Low Noise CMOS Image Sensor" ( Xin Yue and Eric Fossum write:

This paper presents a novel ultra-high speed, high conversion-gain, low noise CMOS image sensor (CIS) based on charge-sweep transfer gates implemented in a standard 180 nm CIS process. Through the optimization of the photodiode geometry and the utilization of charge-sweep transfer gates, the proposed pixels achieve a charge transfer time of less than 10 ns without requiring any process modifications. Moreover, the gate structure significantly reduces the floating diffusion capacitance, resulting in an increased conversion gain of 183 µV/e−. This advancement enables the image sensor to achieve the lowest reported noise of 5.1 e− rms. To demonstrate the effectiveness of both optimizations, a proof-of-concept CMOS image sensor is designed, taped-out and characterized.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Edgehog Glass: Flare-Free Imaging with Next-Generation Anti-Reflection

Edgehog is a Montreal-based startup that has developed a solution for the stray light problem in camera and LiDAR sensors' coverglass.

Edgehog glass, a next-generation anti-reflection technology, removes image artifacts through the innovative process of glass nanotexturing by creating a gradient of refractive index on filters and image sensor covers. This enables uncompromised visuals from cameras and flare-free imaging with CMOS image sensors even in challenging lighting conditions. The result is a cleaner raw signal from the hardware without expensive image processing, laying the foundation for superior computer vision applications. The advanced nanotextured Edgehog glass enables camera optics designers to achieve unparalleled image clarity for a wide viewing angle.


Phone: +1 (438) 230 0101

Friday, July 14, 2023

onsemi Analyst Day 2023

onsemi held its annual Analyst Day on May 16 2023. A video recording below.

PDF slides are also available here:

Image sensors-related slides start around #63.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

12 ps resolution Vernier time-to-digital converter

Huang et al. from Shanghai Advanced Research Institute recently published a paper titled "A 13-Bit, 12-ps Resolution Vernier Time-to-Digital Converter Based on Dual Delay-Rings for SPAD Image Sensor" in Sensors journal.


A three-dimensional (3D) image sensor based on Single-Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) requires a time-to-digital converter (TDC) with a wide dynamic range and fine resolution for precise depth calculation. In this paper, we propose a novel high-performance TDC for a SPAD image sensor. In our design, we first present a pulse-width self-restricted (PWSR) delay element that is capable of providing a steady delay to improve the time precision. Meanwhile, we employ the proposed PWSR delay element to construct a pair of 16-stages vernier delay-rings to effectively enlarge the dynamic range. Moreover, we propose a compact and fast arbiter using a fully symmetric topology to enhance the robustness of the TDC. To validate the performance of the proposed TDC, a prototype 13-bit TDC has been fabricated in the standard 0.18-µm complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) process. The core area is about 200 µm × 180 µm and the total power consumption is nearly 1.6 mW. The proposed TDC achieves a dynamic range of 92.1 ns and a time precision of 11.25 ps. The measured worst integral nonlinearity (INL) and differential nonlinearity (DNL) are respectively 0.65 least-significant-bit (LSB) and 0.38 LSB, and both of them are less than 1 LSB. The experimental results indicate that the proposed TDC is suitable for SPAD-based 3D imaging applications.

Structure and operation of a typical Single-Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD)-based direct time-of-flight (D-ToF) system.

Principle block diagram of the proposed vernier time-to-digital converter (TDC).

The architecture of the TDC core implemented by the 16-stages dual delay-rings.

The timing diagram of the TDC core.

Schematic of the proposed pulse-width self-restricted (PWSR) delay element.

The simulated results of the proposed PWSR delay element: (a) dependence of the delay time on the controlled voltage VNL/VNS and (b) dependence of the delay time on temperature.

Block diagram of the 3D image sensor based on our proposed TDC (right) and its pixel circuit schematic (left).