Thursday, July 02, 2015

IISW 2015 Review: Boosting the Conversion Gain

Albert Theuwissen continues is review of IISW 2015 presentations. The latest part talks about Tohoku University, Dartmouth School of Engineering, CEA, Caeleste and ON Semi work on increasing the CG all the way up to 400uV/e- (Caeleste in 0.18um process).

Harvest Imaging ToF Forum Update

Albert Theuwissen updates that very few seats remain available on 3D Imaging ToF Forum to be held in Dec. 2015.

MIT Researchers Propose Quantum Dot Spectrometer

MIT researchers Jie Bao and Moungi G. Bawendi published "A colloidal quantum dot spectrometer" paper in Nature journal. "The new quantum dot spectrometer deploys hundreds of quantum dot materials that each filter a specific set of wavelengths of light. The quantum dot filters are printed into a thin film and placed on top of a photodetector such as the charge-coupled devices (CCDs) found in cellphone cameras." Potentially, a fairly accurate spectrometer can be cheaply created in a compact form.

Here is a example of filters made with this method:

and here is the doublet peaks resolution of the proposed quantum dot spectrometer on the right vs HR2000 spectrometer as a reference on the left:

Sony Establishes Crowdfunding Platform for its Employees

Sony Seed Acceleration Program, which seeks to fast-track promising new business ideas proposed by Sony employees into full-fledged businesses, unveils "First Flight." First Flight is a new online platform providing an suite of services from crowdfunding to e-commerce in Japan. Kazuo Hirai, Sony President and CEO, says: "Sony's innovation is ingrained in the company's founding spirit of `doing what has never been done before.' Nothing embodies this spirit more than passionate entrepreneurs who give shape to their ground-breaking ideas and introduce them to the world, without fear of failure. The First Flight platform and other Seed Acceleration Program initiatives accelerate and optimize this process. Sony itself originated as a start-up, and through the Seed Acceleration Program we are challenging ourselves to return to our entrepreneurial roots. At Sony we will continue to explore ways of delivering new, emotionally compelling experiences and enhanced customer value."

The fist three projects on the new site are not related to imaging. I wonder if we ever see image sensor crowdfunding projects proposed by Sony employees from image sensor division.

Toshiba Explains PDAF Work

Toshiba publishes a nice Youtube video explaining how PDAF works:

Ambarella Acquires Automotive Vision Systems Developer Vislab

GlobeNewsWire: Ambarella acquires VisLab S.r.l., a privately held Italian company based in Parma, Italy for $30M in cash. VisLab, the Vision and Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the University of Parma, develops perception systems for autonomous vehicles and was founded by Prof. Alberto Broggi. The company has developed computer vision and intelligent control systems for automotive and other commercial applications, including ADAS and several generations of autonomous vehicle driving systems. These include "Porter," an autonomous vehicle that made a 13,000 km autonomous trip from Italy to China in 2010.

"Computer vision is an area of significant focus for Ambarella, and will be critical to our current video markets, as well as future markets such as automotive OEM cameras," said Fermi Wang, CEO of Ambarella. "We are delighted to welcome Dr. Broggi and the VisLab team to Ambarella to jointly define, develop and deploy future generations of computer vision solutions."

"The unique combination of VisLab's computer vision expertise and Ambarella's high performance, power-efficient video processing technology will enable extremely powerful systems," said Broggi. "We are very pleased to join Ambarella and to realize the full potential of our research and algorithms across a wide range of customers' products."

VisLab's 27 researchers will join Ambarella's advanced computer vision development team, working computer vision for future solutions targeting Ambarella's core markets including automotive, IP security, wearable, and flying cameras.

A Youtube video shows Vislab's driverless car test:

Here is Vislab's hardware inside the driverless car:

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

TI Publishes Softkinetic ToF Chips Datasheets

TI publishes fairly detailed datasheets of Softkinetic QVGA OPT8241 ToF sensor and OPT9221 controller chip.

Correction: I have been told that the "chips are based on Softkinetic pixel technology. The chips are made in TI and most of the tech in them belongs to TI."

Videantis Reviews Image Sensor Auto Conference

Videantis published a nice review of Image Sensors Auto conference taken place in Brussels, Belgium last week. Few quotes:

"Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving are huge topics.

When exactly you can buy the first car and use it to go where you want to go is unclear. According to IAV’s talk, Audi plans on 2017, Google 2018, Nissan 2020, Intel 2022, Tesla 2023, and Continental and Daimler say it’ll be in 2025. An IEEE committee has predicted that in 2040 75% of cars on the road will be autonomous.

Volvo said their future cars would have 10 cameras. Already, their current prototype vehicle includes 4 surround cameras, 3 forward-looking cameras, and a driver-monitoring camera.

Powerchip to Build 12-inch CIS Fab in China

CTimes: Powerchip has signed a cooperation agreement with China Anhui Hefei government, to set up a joint venture “Hefei Jinghe”, a 12-inch fab located in Hefei with monthly production capacity of 40,000 wafers, with total investment of 13.53 billion yuan. The new joint venture will have 0.15um, 0.11um and 90nm processes, and will manufacture image sensors, among other things.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

ESPROS Publishes its QVGA ToF Demo, Detailed Datasheet

ESPROS epc660 BSI ToF sensor is probably the world's only ToF device having its detailed datasheet (106 pages) openly available at the company's FTP site.

ESPROS also publishes a Youtube video with a demo of its sensor's capabilities:

Update: Other than the ToF sensor datasheet, ESPROS publishes the detailed board and system design guide, and eye safety analysis.