Archives for February 2016

Microsoft Demos Hololens Gesture Control

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Microsoft publishes a Youtube video showing how Hololens gesture control functions:

Other Microsoft tutorials talk about AR/VR objects that do not cause a discomfort or headaches:

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MWC Moments

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Epson Moverio new BT-300 AR glasses have gesture control as its main interface (Youtube):

ST presented its ToF SPAD sensors lineup:

Heptagon booth was almost completely dedicated to 3D imaging solutions. While most of them were miniature ToF cameras, there were structured light, stereo, and combined modules too. Heptagon uses an interesting tilted periodic dot pattern in its structured light solution. The claim is that it allows them to use FFT to filter out most of the noise and irrelevant background data and also simplifies processing:

Mediatek boasted its dual camera ISP:

Armdevices post a Youtube video with Mediatek reference design with Dual Rear Camera Depth Mapping:

Many smartphone manufacturers exhibited their dual rear camera devices:

ZTE Axon, 13MP + 2MP rear cameras
LG G5 rear side has 8MP wide angle camera and 12MP one for zoom,
not to talk about 8MP front one
Focalmax uses dual 8MP camera for stereo recording

One of the most creative uses of the camera is a new Oral B Genius 9000 toothbrush that utilizes a smartphone camera to make sure that each and every tooth is properly brushed (WD News):

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Intel 2nd Generation Realsense Front Camera

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Intel publishes a comparison of its 2nd generation structured light camera SR300 with the 1st generation F200:

SR300 Camera

The SR300 model adds new features and has a number of improvements over the F200 model:

  • Support for the new Hand Tracking Cursor Mode
  • Support for the new Person Tracking Mode
  • Increased Range and Lateral Speed
  • Improved Color Quality under Low-light Capture and Improved RGB Texture for 3D Scan
  • Improved Color and Depth Stream Synchronization
  • Decreased Power Consumption

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Canon "Dual Sensing IS"

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Nikkei reports few interesting details about image stabilization implementation in the recently announced Canon G7X Mark II compact camera leveraging the high speed of its image sensor:

"While the previous product stabilizes images with a gyroscope, the new product takes into account the data on the amount of camera shake obtained from the image data collected by the CMOS sensor. Canon calls this function "Dual Sensing IS."

In addition, a "panning" mode was added by using the image stabilization function. The camera instantly analyzes the moving speed of the camera and the moving speed and direction of the subject and calculates the best shooting conditions. As a result, it became easy to take an image with a flowing background while stabilizing the image of the subject.

Canon G7X M2 internals

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ON Semi Unveils 1.2MP Sensor with Next Generation Global Shutter Technology

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BusinessWire: ON Semiconductor introduces the AR0135 global shutter CMOS sensor, an 1/3-inch, 1.2 MP device aimed to automotive imaging as well as high-speed barcode scanning, and emerging applications like virtual reality and 3D depth sensing. The new innovative global shutter pixel design has 10X lower dark current and 4X higher shutter efficiency vs. previous generation products. This 1280 x 960 resolution device is capable of 54fps at full resolution and 720p at 60fps.

The AR0135AT is qualified to meet the AEC-Q100 Grade 2 temperature range of -40 to 105°C, while the AR0135CS supports the standard temperature range of -30 to 70°C. Engineering samples are available now, and the devices will be in production in 3Q16.

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Oppo Presents 3-axis SmartSensor Image Stabilization for Smartphones

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Oppo presents its new smartphone featuring SmartSensor sensor-based image stabilization for smartphones. While OIS in most smartphones is based on lens shift, Oppo SmartSensor shifts image sensor, as shown in this Youtube video:

The advantages over the lens-based OIS are:
  • Not only camera yaw and pitch, but also roll is compensated
  • Very fast sensor movements, under 15ms time required for image stabilization, said to be 3 times faster than lens-based OIS
  • Power consumption as low as 10mW, said to be 50 times lower than lens-based OIS
  • High accuracy of of compensation of 0.3um, while lens-based systems are said to be 10 times less accurate

"So why is the SmartSensor just now arriving? Let's have a look at just how difficult it was to bring about this technology.

To achieve three-axis sensor-based stabilization, the image sensor needs to be suspended in a very small space to allow for rotation around a central axis.

Another challenge brought by suspension is signal transmission. The SmartSensor presents the challenge of having to connect over 200 signal wires from the floating sensor to the main board.

This was the key puzzle that OPPO and MEMS Drive solved through years of research.

GSM Arena reports from the MWC 2016 Oppo booth: "Oppo SmartSensor image stabilization can correct up to 1.5° of motion and works on sensors ranging from 1/1.8" (bigger than any phone yet) and 1/3" (typical of mid-range phones). It's also smaller than a typical OIS module, so we may see it in thinner phones." While being a very impressive technology, 1.5deg is somewhat limited range for a high quality OIS.

Apparently, the company that supplied the technology to Oppo is MEMS Drive, based in Pasadena, CA.

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ST Opens its CIS Process on Foundry Basis

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ST offers its advanced CIS process and pixels on a foundry basis, including regular MPW service to reduce development cost. ST has started to give access to its high-end CIS technologies to few customers 4 years ago. Based on this experience, ST has realized all the benefits that it can get from this business model and all the differentiators that its pixel technologies can bring to the customers. It is why ST has decided to include this foundry business in its Imaging strategy. Some of the processes are shown in the table:

MPW schedule for 2016, I guess

ST foundry services:
  • 8” and 12” wafer fabs in Europe
  • In house µLens, color filter, 1D & 2D stitching
  • Process and yield tuning and optimization
  • Pixel architecture and design, quality and failure analysis
  • Broad technology portfolio and extensive expertize

Specialized silicon technology building blocks:
  • Small and large, rolling and global shutter sensors
  • Large range of analog and digital IPs
  • ISP, pixel, algorithmic and optics expertise

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SD Optics Presents All-In-Focus Demo

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SD Optics, the maker of MALS (Micro Mirror Array Lens System) shows a Youtube demo of all-in-focus imaging. The key advantages of MALS are said to be:

  • Ultra High Focusing Speed up to 12000Hz
  • Long Term Reliability more than 1 billion operating cycle
  • Ultra Small Power Consumption less than 1mA
  • Shock Resistance more than 5000G
  • Operating Temperature Range: -30 ~ 100 deg.C
  • Single Camera Based 3D Camera
  • Volumetrically 25% Smaller than Current Technology Based Module

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Heptagon Extends its ToF Tech to Mobile Iris Scanning

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BusinessWire: Heptagon announces a mobile iris scanning solution leveraging IriTech’s iris recognition algorithms and software as well as Heptagon’s newly launched mobile imaging demo platform.

The new Heptagon module features proprietary illumination and a ToF sensor optimized for iris recognition, eye tracking, and face detection applications. The solution significantly reduces host system computational complexity, latency and power consumption. Depth information is used to improve speed and accuracy of iris scan applications and enables smaller baselines for mobile integration. The system will also benefit from the Heptagon’s Focus Controlled Packaging (FCP) camera technology that allows even further miniaturization.

We are excited to launch our new UEYE platform together with IriTech iris scanning application here at MWC 2016,” says Erik Volkerink, Heptagon’s Chief Business Officer and Executive Vice President. “IriTech’s leading edge algorithms and technologies have been proven to perform extremely well in large field studies.

Iris recognition applications in the consumer electronics market are forecasted to grow to $3.6B by 2020 making this the fastest growing segment of the iris recognition market.

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Omnivision Announces 1.25um Pixel, 13MP Sensor

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PRNewswire: OmniVision announces the OV13870 PureCel Plus-S image sensor. The 1/2.6-inch 13MP, 1.25um pixel OV13870 features a 12-bit ADC to enable better low-light SNR, PDAF, and dedicated support for dual-camera functionality.

"The trend towards bigger pixels is picking up as the resolution race slows down, making the OV13870's larger 1.25-micron pixel and high-speed architecture well-suited for premium mobile applications," said Manish Shelat, senior product marketing manager at OmniVision. "The OV13870's enhanced dual camera capability can provide key functionality to device makers as they address the growing trend of dual aperture cameras in mobile imaging that enable advanced features and better image quality."

Built on OmniVision's new 1.25um PureCel Plus-S pixel architecture, the OV13870 significant improves the low-light performance and pixel crosstalk while maintaining an optical format of 1/2.6‑inch and a compact, 5.2 mm module height for slim smartphones. The OV13870 features significantly better overall pixel performance compared to previous generation 13MP image sensors.

The OV13870 can capture full-resolution 13MP still images at 45fps or record 4K2K video at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, or 720p at 300 FPS with binning and cropping.

The OV13870 is currently available for sampling, and is expected to enter volume production in Q2 2016.

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Rambus Expands its LSS Sensors into Thermal IR

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Rambus expands its lensless smart sensor (LSS) technology to thermal sensing. Target applications that can benefit from the small size and affordability of thermal and visible LSS technology include automotive passenger detection, virtual and augmented reality eye tracking, and smart home presence detection.

LSS can enable a future where IoT technology is infused into many aspects of modern life, from smart cities and transportation to medical equipment and manufacturing,” said Dr. Gary Bronner, VP of Rambus Labs. “With the addition of these new capabilities, LSS can replace traditional thermal lenses with optical gratings that are significantly less expensive, making LSS ideal for cost-sensitive IoT applications.

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Softkinetic Gets New CEO

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PRNewswire: SoftKinetic, the fully owned Sony subsidiary, announces that Akihiro Hasegawa has joined the company as CEO. Bringing over 35 years of experience with Sony Corporation, Hasegawa's appointment follows Sony's acquisition of SoftKinetic in October 2015. His leadership and experience with Sony will harmonize the strategic vision of the two companies as SoftKinetic continues to lead and innovate in the 3D vision and gesture recognition solution markets.

"SoftKinetic's award-winning technology is behind many of the 3D and gesture-based features available today in automotive, gaming, VR and AR, and it is an important complement to Sony's image sensor business," said Mr. Hasegawa. "Yet, there is much more opportunity ahead. I am looking forward to living in Belgium, growing the SoftKinetic team and moving the company towards even greater successes."

Hasegawa's goal is to guide SoftKinetic from start-up to a mature, global company using his core values - burezu (determination), dojizu (a firm mindset), and kakujitsu (confident execution).

Hasegawa began his career with Sony as an engineer before moving on to Sony's component and device, and then to sales and marketing. He has been a VP of Sony Corporation since June 2011, and has lived in Asia as well as the US in other executive roles within Sony.

Michel Tombroff, the former Softkinetic CEO, has left the company.

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Heptagon Announces 350um-thin Near Field Optical Sensor

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BusinessWire: Heptagon developed the world’s smallest near-field optical sensing module with thickness of 350um and a 2mm2 surface area, which includes a built-in illuminator, light sensor, electronics, crosstalk prevention features, and a lens system. To put that into perspective, Heptagon’s new module is 4x thinner than a US 1 cent coin. Comparable products currently available are 40% thicker.

We are excited to be taking our sensor technologies to an all new level,” says Hartmut Rudmann, SVP of Engineering at Heptagon, “By combining proprietary design and processes in solution development for these significantly thinner sensors, we’re enabling greater design flexibility with reduced form factor and improved aesthetics for mobile and wearable devices seeking slimmer profiles, such as smart watches. It is now possible to spread out more sensors in a device to increase coverage or for a more accurate reading.

BusinessWire: In a separate PR, Heptagon announces it has shipped over 2 billion units to customers. The company, which is headquartered in Singapore, recently opened a new factory with expanded capacity to ship 1 billion units per year. Heptagon serves some of the largest makers of mobile and IoT products in the world.

"We are delighted to announce this latest milestone in our rapid growth and see this as ongoing acceptance by the market of our innovative, world-class products," says Christian Tang-Jespersen, CEO and President of Heptagon. "We look forward to continuing our strong growth and reaching our next billion units shipped milestone.

"We are well positioned to pursue new market opportunities with the expansion of our fab in Woodlands, Singapore and the opening of our new factory in Ang Mo Kio, Singapore," says S.C. Leong, Heptagon’s COO. “We remain committed to uncompromising quality and our proven ability to move quickly from white board to shipping 100s of millions of units."

In addition to opening the new factory in Singapore, Heptagon has expanded its sales, marketing and engineering presence in Silicon Valley. Heptagon’s newly created Silicon Valley Labs and Executive Briefing Center showcase the latest interface and sensing technologies while providing convenient access for the innovators and decision makers in Silicon Valley.

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ON Semi Unveils 1.1um Pixel with 82% QE

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BusinessWire: ON Semiconductor presents AR1337, a 1/3.2-inch 13MP BSI device for consumer products such as smartphones and tablets. The AR1337 incorporates SuperPD PDAF technology, which delivers focus speeds of 300 ms or less - even in low lighting conditions below 25 lux. Furthermore, by utilizing its on-chip PDAF processing the AR1337 simplifies integration into smartphone platforms.

This AR1337 image sensor has a 4208 x 3120 array of the company’s proprietary advanced 1.1µm pixels, said to have the best in class SNR. Its QE reaches up to 82%, providing industry-leading sensitivity. The AR1337 speed at full resolution is 30fps and supports many video modes including 4K video at 30 fps and 1080P video at 60 fps. The camera synchronization controls enable dual camera video capture.

Consumers expect increasingly high performance for their smartphone cameras. They demand great image quality, the ability to take photos in lower light conditions and more recently, the desire for lightning fast autofocus,” comments Vladi Korobov, GM and Senior Director of Technology for the Mobile & Consumer Image Sensor at ON Semiconductor. “With the AR1337 we are responding to each of these demands. Not only does it have great image quality, but its SuperPD technology enables OEMs to achieve fastest possible autofocus locking times.

The AR1337 is sampling in Bare die format today and is expected to be in mass production in Q2 2016.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 Camera Features Dual Pixel AF, Larger Pixels

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Samsung has increased the pixel pitch from 1.12um to 1.4um in its latest flagship smartphones Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, reducing the resolution from 16MP in the previous generation to 12MP now. The new sensor feature Dual Pixel AF (all pixel PDAF):

"The advantage of the Dual Pixel image sensor in the Galaxy S7 is most evident when taking pictures in a low-light environment. The newest smartphone model is equipped with 1.4um pixels (a 56 percent increase in size compared to the Galaxy S6) and a large F1.7 aperture (which allows for 25 percent more brightness). Combined, these features enable for 95 percent more light compared to its predecessor, which subsequently results in a much brighter and sharper image. Furthermore, the new model employs autofocusing at considerably faster speeds, allowing for faster shooting."

The company's Youtube videos emphasize the PDAF speed and low light capabilities of the new camera:

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Curved Sensor Advantages

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SPIE publishes an article on curved sensor optics benefits "Current trends in miniature camera lens technology" by Dmitry Reshidko and José Sasian. The curved sensor are said to give a 1-stop advantage due to allowing optics with a larger aperture:

MTF of a mobile camera. (a) Conventional flat field design at f/2.2. (b) Representative lens imaging on a curved sensor at f/1.6. The lens imaging on a curved sensor is one f-number faster and shows more uniform performance over the field. OTF: Optical transfer function.
Sensitivity to lens element decenter (left) and tilt (right). Lens imaging on a curved sensor shows better as-built performance. The horizontal line indicates the nominal criterion value. RSS RMS: Root sum square, root mean square.

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0.25e- Pixel Noise in 2007

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It was brought to my attention that in 2007, IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science published Max Plank Institute paper "A Novel Way of Single Optical Photon Detection: Beating the 1/f Noise Limit With Ultra High Resolution DEPFET-RNDR Devices" by Stefan Wolfel, Sven Herrmann, Peter Lechner, Gerhard Lutz, Matteo Porro, Rainer Richter, Lothar Struder, and Johannes Treis. The paper is also available for free download here. The described pixel structure allows a multiple reading and averaging of the photoelectric signal, so that 1/f noise can be averaged:

"In this work we demonstrate theoretically and experimentally the capability to reduce the readout noise of an optical and X-ray photon detector based on the semiconductor DEPFET device below a level of only 0.3e- ENC (equivalent noise charge). The readout method used is called "repetitive non destructive readout" (RNDR) and was realized by placing two single DEPFET-devices next to each other and by coupling their charge storing region by an additional gate. By transferring the stored charge from one DEPFET to the other and vice versa the same charge can be measured non-destructively and arbitrarily often. Taking the average value of a large number n of these measurements, the noise is reduced by 1/radicn. The main advantage of such a detector is to greatly reduce the contribution of the 1/f noise to the readout noise. The theoretically and experimentally achievable resolution for different operating parameters (leakage current, readout noise, number and duration of readouts) was investigated by Monte-Carlo simulations and verified on a real RNDR minimatrix (pixelarray). Single optical photon detection with high quantum efficiency and, even more fascinating, the possibility to distinguish between different numbers of photons, e.g., 100 from 101 are demonstrated in measurements."

Thanks to LP for the link!

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Yang Ni Interview

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IMV Europe interviews Yang Ni, the founder of New Imaging Technologies, located in Paris area, France. Few quotes about the machine vision market trends:

What do you see as the major growth sectors?
From my point of view, the machine vision market is divided into simple photocells and complex camera-based systems. There is great potential in the middle of these two areas, combing the high speed and low cost of photocells with the programmability and versatility of complex camera-based systems. This goal is achievable only with smart image sensors, by integrating highly adaptive pixel designs, such as that of NIT, and on-chip processing capabilities. Otherwise, the product will fall either into the category of a simple photocell by being oversimplified or into a complex camera-based system with its high cost. This could explain the absence of products in this sector.

What do you see as being the most significant commercial change in the industry during the years ahead?
With the development in consumer electronics, all the individual components such as camera chips, FPGAs, DSPs, etc., have become cheaper and more powerful. In the future it will become harder and harder to justify the high price of machine vision system. We can reasonably assume that the same cost issues will be placed on the automation system, but a lot of pressure will be placed on machine vision system providers.

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More About Invisage SparkP2 Sensor

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ExtremeTech seems to get some exclusive marketing materials on the Invisage SparkP2 sensor:

"Due to the composition of our atmosphere, the sun emits only about a quarter of the radiation at 940nm than it does at 850nm. That means that a much-less-powerful LED can be used for outdoor applications, and still be effective. That is why the SparkP2 out-performs current-model back-side illuminated (BSI) sensors outdoors — even using a much-lower-power 10 mW LED instead of a 750 mW LED — at least according to Invisage’s tests:"

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An Easy Way to Sue Image Sensor Company

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A lawsuit of HSM Portfolio LLC and Technology Properties Limited LLC against Micron shows how easy image sensor company can be accused in patent infringement. Some of Micron image sensor products allegedly infringe on some of 3 patents:

US5001367 "High speed complementary field effect transistor logic circuits" filed in 1989 and describing an inverter chain with a sequential size scaling.
US5030853 "High speed logic and memory family using ring segment buffer" filed in 1990, describing an inverter chain with a positive feedback.
US5391949 "Differential latching inverter circuit" filed in 1995, describing a latched logic buffer.

Neither patent has a direct relation to the image sensor technology.

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Invisage Unveils 2MP NIR Sensor

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BusinessWire: Invisage announces SparkP2 sensor featuring global shutter, 3x higher light response in 940nm NIR band and over 20x lower power consumption than competing solutions. SparkP2 is a 1.1 um pixel, 2MP QuantumFilm sensor in 1/7-inch format for a less than 3mm thin z-height.

Talking about structured light 3D sensors, InVisage QuantumFilm global shutter works in tune with a pulsed LED, which optimizes the LED battery usage to be just 10 mW (versus 750 mW for LEDs used with rolling shutter NIR cameras). SparkP2’s fast global shutter allows the NIR light source to be pulsed for extremely short intervals instead of remaining continuously illuminated, thus overcoming sunlight while at the same time capturing movement more accurately and using far less net power.

SparkP2 is sampling in April 2016 with mass production scheduled by Summer 2016.

Brian O’Rourke, Senior Principal Analyst, Consumer Devices and MEMS & Sensors at IHS Technology, said in an email to VentureBeat, “There’s certainly opportunity here for InVisage. The types of use cases that they’re going after, such as facial and iris recognition, depth-mapping and eye and gesture tracking, have a wide variety of imaging applications, from security to online banking to gaming. These will all benefit from better performance in the IR range. These applications should grow significantly over the next few years, from a limited current base. The barrier for InVisage is the strong, established companies that they will be competing against in the image sensor market, companies like Sony, Samsung, OmniVision and ON Semiconductor. As a start-up, it’s extremely difficult to compete against companies that currently generate billions of dollars in revenue in your target market. You not only have to build a better mouse trap, but you have to be able to market it effectively.

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Hynix 1.12um Pixel Sensors

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Hynix has re-designed its CMOS sensor web site and made available flyers of many of its imaging products, including the newest 1.12um BSI-2 pixel, 13MP Hi-1332 mobile sensor:

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Hamamatsu Expands it Micro-Spectrometers Lineup

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Hamamatsu expands its CMOS sensors with a slit-based micro-spectrometers portfolio with the new C10988MA and C11708MA models:

With the addition of these new models, Hamamatsu micro-spectrometer lineup becomes even more impressive:

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LG Selects CEVA Imaging and Vision DSP for Mobile Devices

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PRNewswire: CEVA announces that LG has licensed the CEVA imaging and vision DSP for its mobile device products. "We are delighted to announce LG Electronics as a customer for our imaging and vision DSP," said Gideon Wertheizer, CEO of CEVA. "Their market leadership and stellar reputation for leading edge innovation in mobile enables them to fully leverage the capabilities of our DSP to add feature-rich, differentiated vision-based technologies to their mobile devices."

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ULIS Reports Strong Yearly Growth

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ALA-News: ULIS announces that the company experienced strong growth in 2015, with close to a 20% increase in volume sales over 2014. New customers in outdoor leisure equipment, continued sustainable growth in traditional markets, such as surveillance, thermography and defense, and several key contract wins drove the bulk of ULIS’ €48M ($52.3M) activity in 2015. ULIS’ unit sales climbed to 94,286 in 2015, up from 79,350 the previous year.

The pattern of ULIS’ volume sales performance appears to reflect market analyst forecasts of rapid growth within the uncooled infrared camera market, indicating +22% CAGR in units between 2015 – 2020,” said Dr Eric Mounier, senior technology and market analyst, MEMS & Sensors at Yole Développement.

We exceeded our objectives for 2015; gearing ULIS towards even higher prospects in 2016. I am very happy with my team and their dedication. I thank them for their drive and support,” said Jean-François Delepau, managing director of ULIS. “Our customer base also grew in 2015. The price/performance of our complete portfolio of Pico Gen2 products made a significant impact; they struck the right chord with camera makers and system developers across many market applications. In 2016, we will aim even higher to bring even greater product and service satisfaction to our customers.

ULIS is said to be the second largest producer of microbolometric thermal image sensors. Since its creation in 2002, the company has delivered 500,000 thermal sensors to equipment makers. Delepau is confident that the company’s growth rate will maintain the same pace for the next two years, then accelerate due to further penetration into new markets, such as smart buildings and automotive. “As early as January 2015, we saw initial signs that we would secure a high percentage of sales. This year, we have already begun seeing other positive indicators.

Currently, ULIS is close to going to market with its Pixel Level Packaging (PLP), which is at the industrial process stage. As the pioneer of the 17um pixel pitch thermal image sensor, the current industry standard, ULIS is pursuing development of its 12um pixel pitch thermal image sensors, which is nearing completion.

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Sony Announces 1.0um Pixel, 22.5MP Sensor with Integrated 3-axis Video Stab, HybridAF

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Sony announces the commercialization of IMX318 stacked image sensor for smartphones and other devices, a 1/2.6-inch, 22.5MP stacked CMOS sensor with the industry's first built-in high-speed hybrid autofocus (PDAF), as fast as 0.03s (and as fast as 0.017s when shooting video at 60fps), and built-in 3-axis EIS for video. Sony 4K video stabilization relies on the signal output obtained from the external 3-axis (pitch, yaw, and roll) gyro sensor and is said to consume low power. Sony's unique image stabilization technology incorporated into the IMX318 corrects not only camera shake, but also lens distortion. The sensor features Sony new 1.0um pixel. Sony aims to begin shipments for this new CMOS image sensor in May, 2016.

Sony publishes Youtube demos of 3-axis video stabilization and HybridAF of IMX318 "innovative CMOS image sensor" (video 1, video 2):

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EETimes: Imaging Revolution – Forget Frames

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EETimes: "Two French scientists, Ryad Benosman and Christoph Posch... founded Chronocam in 2014. They’ve developed an image sensor designed to capture images not based on artificially created frames, but driven by events within view.

“Each pixel individually controls its sampling – with no clock involved – by reacting to light, or changes in the amount of incident light it receives,” explained Posch, Chronocam’s CTO.

“Frame-based video acquisition is fundamentally flawed,” Chronocam CTO Posch decreed.

Chronocam has applied and tested its sensor’s principles in restoring people’s vision at Pixium Vision, a retina prosthetic company founded by Chronocam’s co-founders.

Chronocam has raised 1.5 million euro so far. Among investors are CEA Investment and Robert Bosch VC.

Chronocam’s CCMA ATIS 1.1 sensor, whose supply voltage is 3.3V (analog), 1.8V(digital), comes in a 9.9 x 8.2mm2 chip size, featuring 2/3-inch optical format. Its array size is 304 x 240 QVGA, with a pixel size of 30μm × 30μm. The power consumption is less than 10mW.

Asked about the company’s next steps, Verre, the CEO, said, “We aim at decreasing pixel pitch and increasing resolution. Our next steps are the VGA tape out and the migration to a CIS process.”

Chronocam is open to licensing its technology to others.

How Chrononcam's image sensor sees motions of hand (left)

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Imec Introduces Broad Spectrum Hyperspectral Imager

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Imec presents a new hyperspectral sensor with extended spectral range, going from the visible light (VIS) up to near infrared (NIR). The new line-scan VNIR (visible to near-infrared) sensor and snapshot mosaic VNIR camera outperform current solutions in spectral range and compactness.

Example applications for the line-scan sensor are machine vision and remote sensing applications, e .g. precision agriculture using UAVs and satellites. It features 140+bands in the 470-900nm range. Its small form factor is the result of extreme integration of the hyperspectral filter onto the CMOS sensor.

Working closely with two of our camera partners, VRmagic and Cubert Gmbh, we have realized one of the most advanced snapshot hyperspectral imaging cameras. It captures 40+ bands ranging from 450-875 m, at video-rate speed acquisition. This achievement clearly sets a new milestone for the real-time snapshot hyperspectral imaging camera market,” explains Jerome Baron, Business development manager integrated imaging at imec.

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ON Semi Image Sensor Business Update

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ON Semi reports its Q4 2015 and full year results. The image sensor group keeps increasing its share of the company business:

Few quotes from the company's earning call:

"Revenue for Image Sensor Group was approximately $184 million, down approximately three percent as compared to the third quarter.

Our momentum in CMOS image sensors for automotive application remained intact driven by steep adoption of ADAS and viewing cameras.

Though Aptina has been a key driver of our growth, especially in the automotive market, our performance on organic basis exceeded that of the industry in 2015.

We successfully integrated Aptina, and results from Aptina far exceeded our expectations and the guidance we provided to the investment community. We believe that we are in early stages of realizing full potential of our acquisition of Aptina. With Aptina, we believe that ON Semiconductor is among the best positioned companies to benefit from steep adoption of ADAS in automobiles.

In 2015, we significantly improved our market positon in security related imaging market with year over year revenue growth of 15%.

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IMEC Presents Lens-Free Microscope

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IMEC presents a lens-free microscope for large field-of-view live imaging at micrometer resolution. Its key benefits include super-large field-of-view at micrometer resolution and a compact and modular design. In a lens-free digital microscope, images are captured on a CMOS sensor, and digitally reconstructed using software. Imec’s lens-free microscope features a comparable micrometer-scale accuracy as traditional optical microscopes. While being much smaller and less expensive, imec’s microscope captures a larger field-of-view in one shot, enabling shorter sample processing times. The lens-free microscope paves the way to new applications with living cells and tissues.

Imec’s lens free imaging solution is now available as a full, ready-to-use demo kit evaluation system including a light source, image sensor, control and read-out electronics and a software interface,” stated Jerome Baron, business development manager of integrated vision systems at imec. “Companies can use it to try out their own applications, supported by our engineers to fine-tune the hardware and software and customize the systems toward their exact application requirements.

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