Tuesday, March 03, 2015

TowerJazz Makes IR Sensors for Intel RealSense Cameras

GlobeNewswire: TowerJazz begins mass production of an IR sensor used by Intel in one of its new 3D sensing solutions. Intel chose TowerJazz's 0.11um IS11 process, due to its pixel performance in NIR combined with high speed, high QE and high optical resolution. The unique pixel developed by TowerJazz for Intel is a 3.5um global shutter very fast pixel that allows high QE in NIR, specifically at the scanning laser wavelength with high sensor resolution.

"Partnering with TowerJazz was a part of our success in producing our advanced image sensor for 3D imaging and was a natural choice as they were able to offer the required technical specifications and performance for this breakthrough technology," said Sagi Ben Moshe, Director Depth Camera Engineering, Intel Corporation.

"This collaboration between Intel and TowerJazz was a natural fit. Intel's leadership in this market, combined with our leading technology that provides outstanding pixel performance for near IR 3D imaging, along with the proximity of our Israel fab with Intel Israel, the group developing this technology, was an ideal alignment," said Russell Ellwanger, CEO, TowerJazz. "We are very excited to partner with Intel to produce lifestyle changing technology that will revolutionize the way we interact with devices in both our professional and personal lives. We highly value our business relationship with Intel and look forward to further collaboration on their sensing technology."

"It is truly amazing and thrilling to see our lengthy experience in the imaging field and our own CMOS image sensor technology developed in-house, combined with all of the R&D work we have undertaken for many years come to fruition in such a groundbreaking way," said Dr. Avi Strum, VP and GM, CMOS Image Sensor Business Unit, TowerJazz. "Intel sensing solutions will bring consumers new experiences and will change the way people capture and share 3D images. We are very proud of our work with Intel and our ability to assist them in bringing cutting-edge technologies to market quickly and in high volume."

TowerJazz stock jumped by 7.5% after the announcement:

Altera, Cadence Demos

Altera shows its low power stereo vision FPGA solution in this Youtube video:

Cadence Youtube video presents is video/imaging DSP IP platform, says it consumes 10x less power:

Samsung Announces 8MP RWB ISOCELL Sensor

Business Wire, Samsung Tomorrow: Samsung’s 8MP ISOCELL RWB CMOS image sensor, the S5K4H5YB, is aimed to front-facing mobile cameras. By combining ISOCELL technology with the newly developed RWB (Red-White-Blue) color filter, the new image sensor enhances light sensitivity and color fidelity, allowing an improvement of over 3 dB in SNR in low light settings. In addition, unlike other types of color pattern configurations, the high similarity between the RWB and RGB patterns eliminates the need for an RGB convertor in a RWB filter, which prevents unnecessary color deviation.

Physical barriers between each ISOCELL pixel allow 30% decrease in crosstalk and 30% increase in full-well capacity when compared to "conventional" BSI sensors, possibly, S5K4H5YC.

Samples of the 8 MP RWB ISOCELL image sensor are available for customers and mass production of the product is scheduled for Q2 2015. Incidentaly, the S5K4H5YB has already been announced a year and a half ago. By that time, Samsung said "The S5K4H5YB is currently sampling to customers with mass production scheduled for Q4 2013." However, in the earlier announcement, Samsung has not mentioned RWB CFA.

Samsung S5K4H5YB product page says that it's already in production:

Monday, March 02, 2015

Omnivision Shrinks Pixel to 1um

PR Newswire: OmniVision announces the OV16880, a 16MP sensor built on OmniVision's PureCel-S stacked die technology. The 1/3-inch OV16880 introduces a new 1um (!) pixel technology, as well as advanced features such as phase detection autofocus (PDAF).

"Industry observers expect the 1/3-inch image sensor market for 13-megapixel to 16-megapixel resolution segments to double within the next two years, driven mostly by the proliferation of higher resolution mainstream smartphones and tablets," said Kalai Chinnaveerappan, senior product marketing manager at OmniVision. "The OV16880 is the industry's first 1/3-inch 16-megapixel image sensor, putting it in the forefront of this high-growth market segment. The sensor enables slim devices to transition from a 13-megapixel to 16-megapixel camera while maintaining excellent image quality and pixel performance."

The OV16880 PureCel-S stacked die pixel array features buried color filter array (BCFA) technology, which reduces pixel crosstalk and improves SNR. The OV16880 captures 16MP images at 30fps, allowing burst photography and zero shutter lag at full resolution. Additionally, the sensor is capable of capturing 4K video at 30fps, 1080p video at 90fps, and 720p video at 120fps. The OV16880 also supports interlaced high dynamic range (iHDR) timing functionality. The sensor fits into a 8.5 mm x 8.5 mm module with a z-height of less than 5 mm.

The sensor is currently available for sampling, and is expected to enter volume production in Q3 2015.

Toshiba Announces 13MP BSI Sensor

Business Wire: Toshiba announces the T4KB3, a 13MP BSI CMOS image sensor with the optical format of 1/3.07-inch for smartphones and tablets. The new design methodology helps to reduce the power consumption of the new 13MP sensor to 53% of Toshiba’s sensor currently in mass production, to 200mW or less at 30fps. The 1.12um pixel-based T4KB3 is also said to be world’s smallest 13MP sensor. Toshiba “Bright Mode” technology boosts image brightness up to four times in Full-HD video capture at 120fps equivalent. The sample shipments start today.

Freescale Presents Automotive Vision Processor

Business Wire: Freescale introduces the S32V vision microprocessor, said to be the first automotive vision SoC with the requisite reliability, safety and security measures to automate and ‘co-pilot’ a self-aware car. “Many automotive vision systems available today are based on consumer-oriented silicon solutions originally designed to enhance gaming graphics or run smartphone apps. But in a new era where cars will serve as trusted co-pilots, utilizing consumer-oriented silicon is fundamentally unwise,” said Bob Conrad, SVP and GM of Automotive MCUs for Freescale. “Relying on anything less than automotive-grade silicon to take control of a vehicle and make critical driving decisions is simply not acceptable – not for me, not for my family and not for my customers.

The S32V vision microprocessor integrates the 2nd generation CogniVue APEX-642 core image processing technology, as well as four ARM Cortex-A53 cores. Full market availability for the S32V is expected in July 2015.

Mentor Graphics Buys Tanner

Semiconductor Engineering reports that Mentor Graphics has purchased Tanner EDA for an undisclosed sum. Tanner CAD is popular among low budget image sensor design houses.

Rambus Lensless Sensor Video

Rambus promotes its lensless sensors in this Youtube video:

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Toshiba Announces ADAS Image Processor

Toshiba announces the TMPV7608XBG, an image recognition processor that provides recognition and detection of vehicles and pedestrians at night. The new processor is capable of 1.9 Tera operations per second (TOPS) and integrates new feature descriptors that make use of color-based image information.

The new processor is said to realize a nighttime pedestrian detection as reliable as a daytime detection available with conventional vision systems. Toshiba’s original Enhanced CoHOG (Co-occurrence Histograms of Oriented Gradients) accelerators combine luminance-based CoHOG feature descriptors with color-based feature descriptors obtained using a newly developed technique. This enhancement leads to an improvement in the recognition accuracy, especially at nighttime and at scenes with less luminance differences between objects and the background:

The TMPV7608XBG incorporates a Structure from Motion (SfM) accelerator that allows detection of general stationary obstacles such as fallen objects and landslides. The SfM accelerator provides three-dimensional (3D) estimates of the distance to, and the height and width of, the stationary obstacles, based on a sequence of images from a monocular camera. This accelerator makes it possible to detect any stationary obstacles without a learning curve, as well as moving objects (using motion analysis) and a particular class of objects such as pedestrians and vehicles (using pattern recognition).

The TMPV7608XBG is able to simultaneously perform Traffic Light Recognition (TLR), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Vehicle and Pedestrian Collision Warning and Collision Avoidance, High-Beam Assistance, and General Obstacle Collision Warning. The devices interfaces with up to 8 cameras, while consuming 3.37W of power:

The sample shipment started in January 2015.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Omnivision Proposes DTI with Charge Transfer Assist

Omnivision patent application US20150048427 "Image sensor pixel cell with switched deep trench isolation structure" by Sing-chung Hu, Rongsheng Yang, Gang Chen, Howard E. Rhodes, Sohei Manabe, and Hsin-chih Tai proposes a BSI pixel with DTI, filled by a lightly doped poly. A negative pulse applied to the DTI poly allows increasing PD doping and full well while maintaining a low image lag: