Thursday, October 30, 2014

Interview with Pelican Imaging CTO

Waskul.tv publishes a 18 min-long interview video interview Pelican Imaging’s Founder and CTO Kartik Venkataraman where he discusses strengths and weaknesses of the company's array camera technology.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

e2v Launches Low Noise, High Sensitivity Onyx Sensors with 5.3um Global Shutter Pixels

e2v launches the first member of its Onyx family of low-light CMOS sensors for outdoor camera applications where illumination budgets are restricted and industrial machine vision applications where high-speed inspection is required.

The new Onyx EV76C771ABT/ACT is a 2/3-inch 1080p 2MP CMOS sensor featuring lower readout noise than e2v’s previous Sapphire and Ruby CMOS sensor families. The Onyx 5.3µm pixels have improved global shutter with Parasitic Light Sensitivity of 4000:1, a higher full well for a wider linear dynamic range, and some non-linear modes to enable image scenes well in excess of 100db to be captured. It also features an on-chip temperature sensor.

e2v also offers the ProxOnyx module, which forms a convenient demonstration platform for customers requiring only the sensor. The ProxOnyx board solution offers some unique and exclusive application features to enable active imaging in fog, smoke and other diffusing environments as well as a Digital Double Sampling (DDS) feature for less than 6e- of total readout noise in global shutter mode, and real-time WDR for imaging in the harshest of climatic conditions.

The Onyx 2MP full HD image sensor will be sampling from mid-November onwards, and full production is planned before the end of this calendar year, with further market variants planned for the near future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MTF vs Aperture

Albert Theuwissen continues his series of tutorials on MTF. The latest part discusses the MTF change dependence on the lens F#.

Forza Announces Reconfigurable Image Sensor Technology

Business Wire: Forza Silicon announces a fully reconfigurable image sensor design with multiple programmable features and functions in a single chip. This flexibility provides a platform, which can be used to connect smart sensors to the Internet and enable a variety of “Internet of Things” (IoT) product applications.

The reconfigurable image sensor can be programmed to perform multiple monitoring and decision-making tasks at the sensor “edge.” It can be configured to integrate into different product applications and can be reconfigured to include more features and capabilities in the existing device.

The new image sensor enables a range of I/O and processing functions. The programmable logic can be configured to enable camera functionality not supported by existing microprocessor chips. It is configurable for different system interfaces [network connections (Ethernet/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth), memory processors, PC, USB] and image processing [color, HDR, motion detection, object/facial recognition, other biometric applications]. The onboard ADC is adjustable for different frame rates, power conservation and noise limits for improved performance.

Additionally, the reconfigurable image sensor architecture allows the manufacturer to provide upgrades to product firmware through its network connection in which product features are added or enhanced. The value of this feature has already been documented in instances where existing IoT devices did not have a reconfigurable capability requiring either the disarming of a product feature or product recall.

To demonstrate the sensor’s capabilities, Forza Silicon developed a platform in which a single reconfigurable sensor device was used in tandem with a smoke detector to monitor, detect and stream video confirmation of a fire event within a household to the homeowner’s mobile phone. The device integrated a compact, low-power image sensor with a low-power MachXO2-7000 FPGA from Lattice Semiconductor. The customizable Lattice MachXO2-7000, with its high functional density, was particularly well suited to this application’s high-bandwidth, low-latency requirements, minimizing power and network bandwidth needs.

The sensor’s expansive programmability enables the next generation of smarter applications in the car, home, factory, environment and more,” says Barmak Mansoorian, president and co-founder at Forza Silicon. “Our reconfigurable image sensor technology can facilitate endless possibilities for smart applications in this growing network of sensors, from smart cars to smart electricity grids.

A Youtube video explains the reconfigurable technology features:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Galaxycore Announces TSI Technology Developed with TSMC

GalaxyCore, the largest CMOS sensor fabless company in China, announces it successfully developed Through-Silicon-Illumination (“TSI”) technology for image sensor manufacturing on 12-inch wafer based on TSMC 90nm process, and will commence volume production shortly.

GalaxyCore owns wide scope of of TSI technology IP, including analog design, pixel layout, and pixel-related process technology. The TSI applies to manufacturing of image sensors with pixel size of 1.75um to 1.1um, and will further extend to 0.9um pixel size node. GalaxyCore expects to launch 5MP, 8MP and 13MP TSI products in 2014 and 2015.

TSI technology features:

  • High performance: TSI significantly improves sensitivity and signal-noise ratio, meanwhile it significantly reduces thermal noise, dark current, and crosstalk.
  • High speed and low power: TSI technology adopts 90nm TSMC technology with fine-tuned process parameters. Combined with the optimal analog and digital design, it is said to achieve high speed and low power consumption at the same time, which leads to high frame rate as well as low thermal noise (probably, due to less heating).
  • Cost efficiency: By utilizing Galaxycore's proprietary pixel process technology, TSI is said to achieve excellent image performance with fewer process steps.

We are very excited about the timely success in TSI technology development and its outstanding performance revealed so far,” said GalaxyCore CEO Zhao Lixin, “I would like to thank TSI R&D team in GalaxyCore for their excellent job and thank TSMC for their great supports. We will promptly launch 5-Megapixel, 8-Megapixel and 13-Megapixel image sensors utilizing this TSI technology with 1.1 – 1.4um pixel size in the next a few months. We dedicate to offer high performance and cost efficient world-class image sensors products for the fast-growing market of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Slideshare gives a snapshot of GalaxyCore business from Feb. 2014:

Gesture Recognition for Smart TV

PRWeb: MarketsandMarkets' report "Gesture Recognition For Smart TV Market 2013-2018" forecasts "the gesture recognition module in Smart TV is expected to reach $479.88 Million by the end of 2018 at a CAGR of 131.26%. The key players in the gesture recognition module in Smart TV market are Eyesight Tech (Israel), Leap Motion Inc. (U.S.), LG Electronics Inc. (South Korea), PointGrab Ltd. (Israel), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (South Korea), and many more."

Source: MarketsandMarkets analysis

Omnivision Launches Sensor for Security Applications

PR Newswire: OmniVision announces the 1/-3-inch 1.2MP OV9750 for security applications. Using OmniVision's latest 3.75um OmniPixel3-HS FSI technology, the OV9750 captures both visible and NIR video in HD format at 60fps at 10b bit output or 45fps at 12b output.

"The OV9750 reflects OmniVision's ongoing commitment to developing innovative, high-performance imaging technologies for the fast-growing surveillance markets," said Paul Gallagher, senior director of marketing and business development. "The OV9750, a dedicated security image sensor, comes to market at a time when traditional analog CCTV cameras are quickly transitioning to 960H resolutions. At the same time, HD analog and IP cameras continue to see strong consumer and commercial demand. Tailored for these market trends, the OV9750's advanced capabilities are calculated to provide a considerable competitive advantage for surveillance solutions as the market continues to develop."

The OV9750 fits into a 6.3 x 5.2 mm package. It is currently available for sampling and is expected to enter volume production in the beginning of 2015.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nvidia FlexISP Promises Image Quality Improvements

Nvidia Research publishes its paper and presentation "FlexISP: A Flexible Camera Image Processing Framework" by Felix Heide (UBC), Markus Steinberger (TU Graz), Yun-Ta Tsai (NVIDIA), Mushfiqur Rouf (UBC), Dawid Pająk (NVIDIA), Dikpal Reddy (NVIDIA), Orazio Gallo (NVIDIA), Jing Liu (UC Santa Cruz), Wolfgang Heidrich (KAUST), Karen Egiazarian (TUT), Jan Kautz (NVIDIA), Kari Pulli (NVIDIA), to be presented at SIGGRAPH Asia in December 2014.

While conventional ISP pipelines are usually defined as a series of cascaded modules, each responsible for addressing a particular problem, FlexISP promises to achieve everything in a single step. Vimeo video explains:

OIS for Curved Sensor

While Sony is commercializing its first curved sensors, Microsoft applies for a patent US20140301728 "Anti-shake correction system for curved optical sensor" by Brian Guenter and Neel Joshi, a continuation of a similarly named granted patent US8699868. The main idea is that the curved sensor or lens need to be rotated with respect to each other, rather than shifted like in a regular flat sensor OIS:

CMOSIS Receives Flemish Government Award

CMOSIS receives ‘De Prijs van de Vlaamse Regering voor de Beloftevolle Onderneming’ award. The Flemish government aims with this award to recognise companies with clear growth potential.

First and foremost, CMOSIS stands out due to its technological excellence. The company has a technology that competes at the highest level, evidenced by its prestigious clients which are known worldwide and their loyalty to the company, and this award. In addition, CMOSIS still has significant growth potential that can be realised through new applications of existing technologies and continuous innovation. Finally, we opted for CMOSIS because this innovative company plays an exemplary role, and is an excellent ambassador for entrepreneurship in Flanders. Its management never rests on its laurels, and has a drive that can only inspire other companies”, says Geert Noels, memberof the Jury.

Resently, CMOSIS also got ISO 9001:2008 certification for the design, development, manufacturing, testing and sales of CMOS image sensors.