Thursday, May 05, 2016

CMOS Sensors Expected To Set Record-High Sales for Another 5 Years

IC Insights: CMOS sensors are in the middle of an unprecedented string of record-high annual sales thanks to the rapid spread of embedded digital imaging technology into a wide range of end-use applications that go far beyond smartphones and stand-alone cameras. According to IC Insights’ 2016 O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes, automotive systems are forecast to be the fastest growing application for CMOS image sensors with worldwide sales rising by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55% in the next five years to $2.2 billion in 2020, or about 14% of the market’s projected $15.2 billion total.

After the automotive segment, the highest growth rates for CMOS image sensor sales in the next five years are expected to be in security and surveillance (a CAGR of 36% to $912 million), medical/scientific applications (a CAGR of 34% to $867 million), toys/video games (a CAGR of 32% to $274 million), and industrial systems (a CAGR of 18% to $897 million). Automotive electronics is the next major market opportunity for CMOS sensors.

Camera phones image sensor segment is expected to grow by a CAGR of just 1% to $7.3 billion in 2020, or 48% of the market total versus 70% in 2015. Revenues for CMOS sensors in camera modules used in PCs and tablet computers are projected to rise by a CAGR of about 6% to $973 million in 2020, while sensor sales for stand-alone digital cameras are expected to shrink by a CAGR of -2% to 623 million in five years, according to IC Insights’ report.

Worldwide CMOS image sensor revenue grew 12% in 2015 to $9.9 billion, which was the fifth consecutive record-high annual sales volume achieved by this product category since 2011. CMOS image sensors continue to set record-high sales levels for at least another five years in a row, growing by a CAGR of 9.0% from 2015 to 2020. In the previous five-year period (2010-2015), CMOS sensor sales increased by a CAGR of 17.0% with much of that strong annual growth rate being driven by the market’s recovery from the severe economic recession in 2008-2009 and the emergence of new embedded camera applications and image-recognition system interfaces, which are now fueling the next wave of growth in imaging devices.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

e2v Wins Gold Vision Systems Design Innovators Award

e2v Onyx CMOS sensor was awarded Gold by the judges of the annual Vision Systems Design Innovators Awards program. The judging panel consisted of esteemed experts from system integrator and end-user companies. The Onyx 1.3MP high speed CMOS sensor allows discernible images to be produced at extremely low light levels and through diffusing environments (e.g. fog and smoke) by range-gating for use in Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) and security cameras.

Gareth Powell, CMOS Sensors Marketing Manager at e2v, comments, “We are very proud to receive recognition for our innovative CMOS capabilities that make our sensors stand out from the crowd. Our heritage and expertise in imaging technology enables us to differentiate our products with unique features and functions that our customers can exploit to add real value to their end products.

Varioptics Liquid Lens Targets Automotive Market

Varioptic, a Business Unit of Parrot Drones SAS, announces a new variable focus liquid lens with extended operating temperature range, the Arctic 25H series.

This lens benefits from the latest improvements in the Liquid Lens technology – in addition to unique resistance to mechanical shocks and vibrations, our lens features now an operating temperature which will allow us to broaden the number of applications using our technology, as well as qualification standards in line with the toughest standards of the industry,” says Samuel Grand, Varioptic Business Unit Director.

The feedback from our beta testers is extremely positive, this new liquid lens will open new markets for Varioptic which we could not reach today, such as the growing automotive camera business,” says Frédéric Laune, Varioptic Sales & Marketing Director

DEPFET Pixel Said to Beat 1/f Noise

The open source Sensor journal publishes a sub-electron sensitive image sensor paper "The DEPFET Sensor-Amplifier Structure: A Method to Beat 1/f Noise and Reach Sub-Electron Noise in Pixel Detectors" by Gerhard Lutz, Matteo Porro, Stefan Aschauer, Stefan Wölfel, and Lothar Strüder from 1 PNSENSOR GmbH, München D-81739, Germany.

"The repetitive non-destructive readout (RNDR) DEPFET is an ideal central element for an active pixel sensor (APS) pixel. The theory has been derived thoroughly and results have been verified on RNDR-DEPFET prototypes. A charge measurement precision of 0.18 electrons has been achieved. The device is well-suited for spectroscopic X-ray imaging and for optical photon counting in pixel sensors, even at high photon numbers in the same cell."

The concept of a DEPFET: The signal
electrons are collected in a potential minimum
(internal gate) located below the channel of a
FET located on top of the fully depleted bulk.

Thanks to BB for the link!

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Cadence Tensilica Announces P6 Vision Core IP

PRNewswire: Cadence announces the Tensilica Vision P6 DSP extending the Tensilica product portfolio into the fast-growing vision/deep learning applications areas. New instructions, increased math throughput and other enhancements set a new standard in imaging and computer vision benchmarks, increasing performance by up to 4X compared to the Tensilica Vision P5 DSP.

"Cadence is investing heavily on advanced vision and deep learning," said Chris Rowen, CTO for the IP Group at Cadence. "We are devoting intense efforts to discovering improved structures and training for neural networks, providing rich software environments for fast application development and offering breakthrough vision DSP architectures for embedded vision and learning deployment. The Tensilica Vision P6 design is the direct result of this investment and significantly raises the bar in both vision efficiency and scalability."

"Devices that are more aware of the world around them are more capable, more autonomous, safer and easier to use," said Jeff Bier, founder of the Embedded Vision Alliance. "By enabling widespread deployment of deep learning and computer vision, processors like the Tensilica Vision P6 DSP are making the promise of more intelligent devices a reality."

ADAS in China

Cnpals publishes an article "Who Will Become the Mobileye in China?" There is quite a number of Chinese companies working on intelligent ADAS cameras:

Monday, May 02, 2016

Frost & Sullivan Prises PMD ToF Technology

PRNewswire: Frost & Sullivan recognizes PMD with the 2016 European Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation. pmd's ToF technology employs a combination of its patented suppression of background illumination (SBI) technology and an on-chip application processing feature. The SBI technology distinguishes active light transmitted from the object against other non-correlated light sources such as sunlight.

The on-board application processing feature sets pmd's ToF technology apart from peer solutions, as it helps ToF sensors capture depth image without the use of a separate application processing unit. "By enabling intelligent processing of ToF images on a single chip, pmd is able to deliver an extremely efficient and high-resolution ToF system, in which the illuminator and the image sensor can be placed as close as possible," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Karthik Vishal Lakshmanan. "This gives ToF chips an extremely small form factor for easy deployment in smartphones and tablets."

Furthermore, the resolution of pmd's ToF solution is said to be highly scalable. The imager can enable one pixel or a few pixels, up to its full capacity of 100K pixels. The ToF system can be easily tuned to any resolution in between through software control.

It will be used later this year in smartphones and tablets, from 2017 the technology will see immense application in augmented reality and virtual reality systems, and from 2018 for in-vehicle warning systems as well as vehicle navigation systems.

Significantly, as this ToF technology does not require a vast external application processor, it consumes much less power than competing solutions. This makes pmd's ToF solution well suited for low-power applications.

Owing to its technological achievements in the ToF sensors market and its ability to cultivate application opportunities, pmdtechnologies ag is said to fully earn Frost & Sullivan's 2016 European New Technology Innovation Award for 3-D ToF sensor technology.


Update: EleTimes publishes Infineon article on automotive use of its REAL3 ToF sensors, based on PMD technology.

GoPro Cinematic Camera Arrays

IS&T Electronic Imaging Symposium publishes GoPro's T. Macmillan and D. Newman presentation on Cinematic Camera Arrays, which might become a big market for image sensors:

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Hitachi Adds Image Sensor to its Air Conditioners

Hitachi iSee air conditioners use image sensors to directs cool air towards people, based on face detection:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Deep Learning Vision in USB Stick

MarketWired: Movidius introduces the powerful deep learning vision processing accelerator that fits into a USB Stick. It connects to existing systems and increases the performance of neural networking tasks by 20-30X. It performs at over 150GFLOPS while consuming under 1.2W.

Called Fathom, it targets developers, researchers, hobbyists and anyone developing deep learning applications.

Facebook's Director of Artificial Intelligence Yann LeCunn has said this about Fathom: “The Fathom neural compute stick is a compact, low-power deep learning accelerator for embedded applications that is quite unique. As a researcher and builder of intelligent machines, I've been dreaming of getting my hands on something like the Fathom USB key for a long time”.

Movidius CEO, Remi El-Ouazzane says: “It’s going to mean that very soon, consumers are going to be introduced to surprisingly smart applications and products. It means the same level of surprise and delight we saw at the beginning of the smartphone revolution; we’re going to see again with the machine intelligence revolution. With more than 1 million units of Myriad 2 already ordered, we want to make our VPU the de-facto standard when it comes to embedded deep neural network.


Movidius publishes a Youtube video presenting the new product: