Prophesee and Sony Develop a Stacked Event-Based Vision Sensor with the Industry’s Smallest Pixels and Highest HDR Performance

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Prophesee S.A. and Sony announce they have jointly developed a stacked Event-based vision sensor with the industry’s smallest 4.86μm pixel size and the industry’s highest 124dB (or more) HDR performance. This sensor combines of Sony’s stacked CMOS sensor process with Cu-Cu connections, with Prophesee’s Metavision Event-based vision technologies leading to fast pixel response, high temporal resolution and high throughput data readout. The newly developed sensor is suitable for various machine vision applications, such as detecting fast moving objects in a wide range of environments and conditions.

The 1/2-inch format sensor has 1280x720 resolution and uses 40nm logic process. The 124dB (or more) HDR performance is made possible by placing only BSI pixels and a part of N-type MOS transistor on the pixel chip (top), thereby allowing the aperture ratio to be enhanced by up to 77%. High sensitivity/low noise technologies Sony has developed over many years of CMOS image sensor development enable event detection in low-light conditions (40mlx).

By adding time information at 1μs precision to the pixel address where a change in luminance has occurred, event data readout with high time resolution is ensured. Furthermore, a high output event rate of 1.066Geps*5 has been achieved by efficiently compressing the event data, i.e. luminance change polarity, time, and x/y coordinate information for each event.

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TowerJazz Updates on its CIS Business

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SeekingAlpha transcript of TowerJazz Q4 2019 earnings call updates on the foundry's image sensor business:

"Moving to our Sensors Business unit, despite in organic revenue decline of about 20% in the industrial sensor market, predominantly a consequence of the trade war, we were able to compensate to great extent, to have a decrease of 4% year-over-year organic revenues. The set compensation was via the growth of our X-ray medical sensors market and our high-end visible camera market. This growth should continue in 2020 and with an expected recovery and industrial sensor market, we target a double-digit organic growth in this business in 2020.

2019 was an exciting year for our future both in state-of-the-art technology developments and in customer engagements. As announced, we have released our 300 millimeter back side illumination hybrid bonding stack way for technology with copper to copper electrical contacts, and a pitch smaller than 2.5 micron, the smallest in the world. This technology allows a connection of a BSI sensor to a CMOS logic and analog wafer at the pixel level. We won two major customers that are using this technology for the mobile time of flight market both for face recognition and front looking 3D application.

These products will grow into mass volume production in 2022. The same technology will be used with our existing customers for high end photography market both in high end DSLR and mirrorless cameras and in cinematography.

In addition, we engage with large optical fingerprint sensor providers on the development of under OLED and under LCD sensors utilizing our high performing CIS technologies and our 200 -millimeter fabs at the point when eight micron technology node. These products are expected to wrap in the second half of this year and to further grow to high volumes in 2021 and beyond.
"

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Machine Vision Helps to Contain Coronavirus

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New China TV video shows how camera-equipped robots help in fighting with the coronavirus outbreak in China:

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OmniVision Announces Its First 64MP, 0.801um CMOS Sensor

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PRNewswire: OmniVision announces the OV64C, its first 64MP image sensor featuring a 0.801um pixel size for rear-facing smartphone cameras in a 1/1.7" optical format. Built on OmniVision’s PureCel Plus stacked die technology, the new sensor features 4-cell remosaic for full resolution Bayer output as well as digital crop zoom, and a CPHY interface. In low light conditions, this sensor can use near-pixel binning to output a 16 MP image with 4X the sensitivity, offering 1.6 um equivalent performance for previews and still captures.

TSR estimates there will be 127 million image sensors with 64 MP or higher resolution shipped to smartphone manufacturers in 2020,” said Arun Jayaseelan, staff marketing manager at OmniVision. “The OV64C, with its premium resolution and features, is well positioned to address this ramp in demand among high end smartphone designers.

The sensor features type-2, 2x2 microlens phase detection autofocus (ML-PDAF) to boost autofocus accuracy, especially in low light. Output formats include 64 MP at 15 fps, 8K video at 30 fps, 16 MP captures with 4-cell binning at 30 fps, 4K video at 60 fps and 4K video with EIS at 30 fps. Additionally, the OV64C supports 3-exposure, staggered HDR timing for up to 16 MP video modes.

Samples of the OV64C image sensor are available now.

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125M fps Sensor

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MDPI Special issue on the 2019 International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW2019) publishes a paper "Over 100 Million Frames per Second 368 Frames Global Shutter Burst CMOS Image Sensor with Pixel-wise Trench Capacitor Memory Array" by Manabu Suzuki, Yuki Sugama, Rihito Kuroda, and Shigetoshi Sugawa from Tohoku University, Japan.

"In this paper, a prototype ultra-high speed global shutter complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor with pixel-wise trench capacitor memory array achieving over 100 million frames per second (fps) with up to 368 record length by burst correlated double sampling (CDS) operation is presented. Over 100 Mfps high frame rate is obtained by reduction of pixel output load by the pixel-wise memory array architecture and introduction of the burst CDS operation which minimizes the pixel driving pulse transitions. Long record length is realized by high density analog memory integration with Si trench capacitors. A maximum 125 Mfps frame rate with up to 368 record length video capturing was confirmed under room temperature without any cooling system. The photoelectric conversion characteristics of the burst CDS operation were measured and compared with those of the conventional CDS operation."

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Coronavirus and Image Sensor Companies

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Sony Semiconductor Solutions announces the measures to ensure the safety and health of its customers, business partners and Sony Group employees and to prevent further spread, such as prohibition of all overseas business trips or working from home for those who have just returned from China:

"we would like our customers and business partners who have traveled to China to refrain from entering any Sony’s office areas for the next 14 days after the immigration into Japan. In addition, when we meet with any customers or business partners, regardless of where we meet, please allow us to make sure whether those people have visited China within the last 14 days," says Sony.

Smartsens reports that "as of now, there is no infected or suspected of being infected employees of Smartsens. "On the supply side product, Smartsens still provides normal supply. However, due to strict logistics control in many places due to epidemic prevention needs, the timeliness of product logistics may be affected to a certain extent.

At the same time, in order to reduce the concentration of personnel and prevent the epidemic from spreading further, we will appropriately adjust the arrangements for corporate offline market activities and participation in third-party offline market activities in the first half of 2020.
"

Solid-State Supplies publishes Omnivision's letter to customers from Feb. 3, 2020:


Update: TrendForce publishes a forecast on coronavirus impact on electronic industry:

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Silicon Optronics 2018 Report

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Taiwan-based Silicon Optronics Inc. (SOI) rarely publishes English info about its business. A translation of the company's 2018 annual report is an exception. Few quotes:

"In the past two years, the image sensor products for surveillance were the main product lines of SOI. We continue to research and develop new application of relevant products to expand the market and to gain more addon values, such as car electronics, drone camera(UAV), industrial robot, etc.

The revenue of SOI was NT$2,034,267,000 in 2018, which increases 19% compared with 2017. The total sales volume also increased more than 20%. In 2018, the net profit after tax was NT$157,432,000, which is 23% decrease than 2017. Due to extreme competition of image sensors in the surveillance market, resulting in the decrease in net profit after tax, compared with the previous year.
"

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Switchable NIR to Visible Organic Photodetector

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Science Magazine publishes a paper "Near-infrared and visible light dual-mode organic photodetectors" by Zhaojue Lan, Yanlian Lei, Wing Kin Edward Chan, Shuming Chen, Dan Luo, and Furong Zhu from Hong Kong Baptist University and Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China.

"We report a dual-mode organic photodetector (OPD) that has a trilayer visible light absorber/optical spacer/near-infrared (NIR) light absorber configuration. In the presence of NIR light, photocurrent is produced in the NIR light–absorbing layer due to the trap-assisted charge injection at the organic/cathode interface at a reverse bias. In the presence of visible light, photocurrent is produced in the visible light–absorbing layer, enabled by the trap-assisted charge injection at the anode/organic interface at a forward bias. A high responsivity of higher than 10 A/W is obtained in both short and long wavelengths. The dual-mode OPD exhibits an NIR light response operated at a reverse bias and a visible light response operated at a forward bias, with a high specific detectivity of ~10^13 Jones in both NIR and visible light ranges. A bias-switchable spectral response OPD offers an attractive option for applications in environmental pollution detection, bioimaging process, wellness, and security monitoring in two distinct bands."

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Yole Market Monitor

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Yole Developpement publishes a sample of its quarterly CIS market monitors with interesting data showing the scale of image sensor market now:

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8-tap ToF Pixel

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MDPI paper "An 8-Tap CMOS Lock-In Pixel Image Sensor for Short-Pulse Time-of-Flight Measurements" by Yuya Shirakawa, Keita Yasutomi, Keiichiro Kagawa, Satoshi Aoyama, and Shoji Kawahito from Shizuoka University and Brookman, Japan, is a part of Special issue on the 2019 International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW2019).

"An 8-tap CMOS lock-in pixel image sensor that has seven carrier-capturing and a draining time window was developed for short-pulse time-of-flight (TOF) measurements. The proposed pixel for the short-pulse TOF measurements has seven consecutive time-gating windows, each of which has the width of 6 ns, which is advantageous for high-resolution range imaging, particularly for relatively longer distances (>5 m) and under high ambient light operations. In order to enhance the depth resolution, a technique for the depth-adaptive time-gating-number assignment (DATA) for the short-pulse TOF measurement is proposed. A prototype of the 8-tap CMOS lock-in pixel image sensor is implemented with a 1POLY 4METAL 0.11-μm CIS process. The maximum non-linearity error of 1.56% FS for the range of 1–6.4 m and the depth resolution of 6.4 mm was obtained at 6.2 m using the DATA technique."

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Paper on CMOS Sensor Evolution

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International Journal on Smart Sensing and Intelligent Systems publishes a paper "On Evolution of CMOS Image Sensors" by Luiz Carlos Paiva Gouveia (University of Glasgow) and Bhaskar Choubey (University of Oxford), UK.

"CMOS Image Sensors have become the principal technology in majority of digital cameras. They started replacing the film and Charge Coupled Devices in the last decade with the promise of lower cost, lower power requirement, higher integration and the potential of focal plane processing. However, the principal factor behind their success has been the ability to utilise the shrinkage in CMOS technology to make smaller pixels, and thereby have more resolution without increasing the cost. With the market of image sensors exploding courtesy their integration with communication and computation devices, technology developers improved the CMOS processes to have better optical performance. Nevertheless, the promises of focal plane processing as well as on-chip integration have not been fulfilled. The market is still being pushed by the desire of having higher number of pixels and better image quality, however, differentiation is being difficult for any image sensor manufacturer. In the paper, we will explore potential disruptive growth directions for CMOS Image sensors and ways to achieve the same."

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IDTechEx on Trends in Automotive Lidars

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Autosens publishes IDTechEx article with a review of Espros, SiLC, XenomatiX, Blickfeld, and Outsight LiDAR approaches.

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Pixel-Linearizing Ramp for SS ADC

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MDPI paper "A Highly Linear CMOS Image Sensor Design Based on an Adaptive Nonlinear Ramp Generator and Fully Differential Pipeline Sampling Quantization with a Double Auto-Zeroing Technique" by Chuangze Li, Benguang Han, Jie He, Zhongjie Guo, and Longsheng Wu from Xi’an Microelectronic Technology Institute, Xi dian University, and Xi`an University of Technology, China, presents a couple of ideas on pixel response linearization:

"The in-pixel source follower transistor and the integration capacitor on the floating diffusion node cause linearity degradation. In order to address this problem, this paper proposes an adaptive nonlinear ramp generator circuit based on dummy pixels used in single-slope analog-to-digital converter topology for a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor. In the proposed approach, the traditional linear ramp generator circuit is replaced with the new proposed adaptive nonlinear ramp generator circuit that can mitigate the nonlinearity of the pixel unit circuit, especially the gain nonlinearity of the source follower transistor and the integration capacitor nonlinearity of the floating diffusion node. Moreover, in order to enhance the frame rate and address the issue of high column fixed pattern noise, a new readout scheme of fully differential pipeline sampling quantization with a double auto-zeroing technique is proposed. Compared with the conventional readout structure without a fully differential pipeline sampling quantization technique and double auto-zeroing technique, the proposed readout scheme cannot only enhance the frame rate but can also improve the consistency of the offset and delay information of different column comparators and significantly reduce the column fixed pattern noise. The proposed techniques are simulated and verified with a prototype chip fabricated using typical 180 nm CMOS process technology. The obtained measurement results demonstrate that the overall nonlinearity of the CMOS image sensor is reduced from 1.03% to 0.047%, the efficiency of the comparator is improved from 85.3% to 100%, and the column fixed pattern noise is reduced from 0.43% to 0.019%."

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Signal Synchronization in 225MP Stitched Sensor

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Japan IEICE Electronics Express paper "A synchronous driving approach based on adaptive delay phase-locked loop for stitching CMOS image sensor" by Zhongjie Guo, Ningmei Yu, and Longsheng Wu from Xi’an University of Technology and Xi’an Microelectronic Technology Institute, China, proposes signal delay compensation circuit for long connections in a large sensor.

"A synchronous driving approach for stitching CMOS image sensor is proposed. Dual row signal line driving architecture must be considered in the design of large array CMOS image sensor. However, as the size of the array increases further, the traditional synchronization technologies such as clock tree cannot be applied because of the stitch technology, Furthermore, this invalidity will cause DC shoot through and dead line. Based on the adaptive delay phase-locked loop, dual row signal line synchronous driver for pixel array is realized in a single die CMOS image sensor with 225M pixels and large area of 120×120mm2. Timing matching improves by two orders of magnitude, and 99.95% consistency is achieved."

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TSR Market Data

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PulseNews publishes a recent TSR market data: "The world’s image sensor market is estimated to grow to $27 billion by 2023 from $17.2 billion in 2019, according market research firm Techno Systems Research (TSR). In the market, Sony took up the lion’s share of 49.1 percent, much bigger than 17.9 percent of Samsung Electronics."

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Tellurium-doped Black Silicon PD Shows 1e-3 A/cm2 Dark Current and Extended Sensitivity up to 1600nm

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OSA Oprics Express paper "Highly responsive tellurium-hyperdoped black silicon photodiode with single-crystalline and uniform surface microstructure" by Zixi Jia, Qiang Wu, Xiaorong Jin, Song Huang, Jinze Li, Ming Yang, Hui Huang, Jianghong Yao, and Jingjun Xu from Nankai University, Tianjin Institute of Power Sources, and Kunming Institute of Physics, China proposes an improvement over the previous Black Si devices:

"Femtosecond laser hyperdoped silicon, also known as the black silicon (BS), has a large number of defects and damages, which results in unstable and undesirable optical and electronic properties in photonics platform and optoelectronic integrated circuits (OEICs). We propose a novel method that elevates the substrate temperature during the femtosecond laser irradiation and fabricates tellurium (Te) hyperdoped BS photodiodes with high responsivity and low dark current. At 700 K, uniform microstructures with single crystalline were formed in the hyperdoped layer. The velocity of cooling and resolidification is considered as an important role in the formation of a high-quality crystal after irradiation by the femtosecond laser. Because of the high crystallinity and the Te hyperdoping, a photodiode made from BS processed at 700 K has a maximum responsivity of 120.6 A/W at 1120 nm, which is far beyond the previously reported Te-doped silicon photodetectors. In particular, the responsivity of the BS photodiode at 1300 nm and 1550 nm is 43.9 mA/W and 56.8 mA/W with low noise, respectively, which is valuable for optical communication and interconnection. Our result proves that hyperdoping at a high substrate temperature has great potential for femtosecond-laser-induced semiconductor modification, especially for the fabrication of photodetectors in the silicon-based photonic integration circuits."

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Himax Reports Q4 Earnings

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GlobeNewswire: Himax Q4 2019 earnings report updates on the company's imaging business:

"Ultra-low power smart sensing

WiseEye is the Company’s AI-based ultra-low power smart sensing solution. The demand for battery-powered smart device with AI intelligent sensing is rapidly growing. The Company’s total solution is built on Emza’s unique AI-based algorithm, on top of Himax’s proprietary computer vision processor and CMOS image sensor, all equipped with ultra-low power design. Currently laptop is the market of focus. Himax WiseEye 2.0 NB solution provides a ‘laptop-ready’ 3-in-1 RGB/IR/AI solution, respecting privacy while enhancing security for notebook users. At the CES 2020, a number of notebook OEMs and ODMs demonstrated Himax’s WiseEye NB solution in their next generation premium notebooks with positive feedback. In addition to notebook, the Company has also made progress in the displays and IoT markets. Innolux, one of the world's leading manufacturers of TFT-LCD displays, has integrated the Himax-Emza WiseEye solution into displays to enable consumer privacy protection in real time. Also, Chicony, one of the largest ODMs in the world, and Emza jointly announced a reference design of the world’s first battery-powered human sensing solution for IoT in December 2019. Both Innolux and Chicony showcased their products at CES.

Previously the Company has mentioned that, in addition to total solution, Himax is also able to offer ultra-low power smart sensing on the basis of individual parts so as to address the market’s different needs and maximize the potential opportunities for Himax. It will elaborate on this in the CMOS image sensor discussion below.


CMOS Image Sensor

CMOS image sensor is another critical part of the WiseEye 2.0 NB solution. To support the lean camera design and high-quality image needed for thin bezel laptops, Himax has made a 2-in-1 sensor that offers the duo capabilities of high quality HD image capturing and ultra-low-power, low resolution visual sensing in one single sensor, the industry’s first with the innovative design. With this sensor, laptop makers can simplify their next generation product design and save costs by eliminating the need for an additional camera to provide context awareness for a better user experience. Himax’s sensor has also incorporated an RGB-IR design to enable Windows Hello facial recognition. This new 2-in-1 CMOS sensor is currently available for its partners/customers.

In addition, Himax recently announced the commercial availability of an industry-first ultra-low power and low latency, backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor solution with autonomous modes of operations for always-on, intelligent visual sensing applications such as human presence detection and tracking, gaze detection, behavioral analysis, and pose estimation for growing markets such as smart home, smart building, healthcare, smartphone
and AR/VR devices.

Himax is collaborating with leading partners within the ecosystem to reduce time to market for intelligent edge vision solutions. Notably, the Company is working closely with Google and has become the reference design for its
world-leading TensorFlow Lite AI framework targeting low power edge devices.

For the traditional human vision segments, Himax sees strong demand in notebooks, where the Company is one of the market leaders, and has experienced increased shipments for multimedia applications such as car recorders, surveillance, drones, home appliances, and consumer electronics, among others. Additionally, Himax has seen increased shipments and new design-wins in the automotive segment covering before-market solutions such as surround view and rear-view camera.
"

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Canon EOS R5 review – preview

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The Canon EOS R5 is a high-end full-frame mirrorless camera with built-in stabilisation, 20fps shooting, 8k video and dual card slots. The third EOS R body looks set to transform Canon’s full-frame mirrorless system. Find out all the facts so far in my preview!…

The post Canon EOS R5 review – preview appeared first on Cameralabs.

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Yole: Rear ToF to Become Main Smartphone Camera Growth Engine

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Yole Développement expects the global 3D imaging and sensing market to expand from $5B in 2019 to $15B in 2025, at a 20% CAGR. 3D rear sensing in mobile has diversified its application use cases. First used for photography, to enhance bokeh and zoom capabilities, it will expand into AR and gaming.

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Samsung Unveils 108M Sensor with Nonacell CFA

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BusinessWire, BusinessWire: Samsung introduces its next-generation 108MP sensor, ISOCELL Bright HM1 with a spectrum of light-enhancing technologies spanning from Nonacell and Smart-ISO to real-time HDR. The Bright HM1 can capture 8K videos at 24 fps.

The 1/1.33” format sensor with 0.8μm pixels ISOCELL Bright HM1 features Nonacell technology, which delivers brighter images in low-light settings. In 2017, Samsung introduced Tetracell, a pixel-binning technology with a special two-by-two array that merges four neighboring pixels to work as a single large pixel. Nonacell is an enhanced version of Tetracell with a three-by-three pixel structure. In the HM1, Nonacell merges nine neighboring 0.8μm pixels to mimic a large 2.4μm pixel, more than doubling Tetracell’s light absorption.

As the number of adjoined cells increase, so does color interference, making pixel-binning technologies more challenging, While such difficulties had limited Nonacell to a theory, the HM1 was able to realize the method by adopting Samsung’s ISOCELL Plus technology, which reduces crosstalk and minimizes optical loss as well as light reflection.

The HM1 supplements Nonacell with several other advanced pixel technologies. For example, the HM1’s Smart-ISO technology intelligently selects the optimal ISO. High ISOs are used in darker settings while low ISOs are better for brighter environments to control light saturation.

To capture meaningful moments in our lives, Samsung has been driving innovations in pixel and logic technologies that enable ISOCELL image sensors to take astounding photographs even when lighting conditions aren’t ideal,” said Yongin Park, EVP of the sensor business at Samsung. “By adopting Nonacell and Smart-ISO technologies, the 108Mp ISOCELL Bright HM1 helps take vivid high-resolution pictures across a wide range of lighting environments.

Samsung ISOCELL Bright HM1 is currently in mass production.

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Fortune Business Insights Forecasts $30b Image Sensor Market in 2026

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PRNewswire: The global image sensor market size is foreseen to reach $29.99b by 2026, with a CAGR of 8.4% by 2026. This is owing to the rise in the popularity of ADAS in automobiles. The market value was $15.93b in 2018.

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Olympus OMD EM1 III review so far

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The Olympus OMD EM1 III is a high-end mirrorless camera aimed at photographers and videographers who value speed, robustness and portability. It has a 20 Megapixel sensor, 4k up to 30p, built-in stabilisation with up to 7.5 stops of compensation and 18fps bursts with autofocus, all packed into a tough weather-proof body. I went hands-on for my review-so-far!…

The post Olympus OMD EM1 III review so far appeared first on Cameralabs.

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Optical Fingerprint IP Wars: Goodix Patent Invalidated

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PRNewswire: Egis has received patent invalidation decision from China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) wherein Goodix's patent ZL201820937410.2 was declared invalid. As such, the patent asserted in patent infringement litigation against Egis, pending with the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, is invalidated. The patent infringement lawsuit becomes baseless and should be promptly dismissed, says Egis.

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ST Imaging at CES 2020

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ST publishes a walk-through video of its CES booth:

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FLIR about Sony BSI GS Sensors

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FLIR (former Point Grey) presents Sony Pregius S sensors for industrial applications:


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Samsung Galaxy S20 review so far

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The Galaxy S20 is Samsung’s flagship phone for 202 and its best yet for photography. Available in three models, the top-end Ultra packs three cameras, one with 108 Megapixels and another with a 10x optical zoom. All can also film 8k video. Find out more in my hands-on preview!…

The post Samsung Galaxy S20 review so far appeared first on Cameralabs.

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LiDAR News: Cepton, Koito, Robosense, Velodyne

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BusinessWire: Cepton has raised over $50M in Series C funding. This brings Cepton’s total funding to nearly $100M. The latest funding round was led by Koito, the Tier 1 provider of automotive lighting systems, with an investment of $50M. Existing investors in Cepton also participated in this round. As part of the transaction, Koito will obtain non-exclusive rights to manufacture and sell Cepton’s lidar sensor design for an automotive application, using key components supplied by Cepton.

With this latest investment round, the year 2020 is poised to be truly transformational for Cepton’s future, and we are excited to welcome Koito not just as an investor but also as a technology and manufacturing partner. Combining Koito’s world leadership in automotive lighting and their world-class quality, reliability and manufacturing with Cepton’s award-winning lidar solutions presents a tremendous opportunity to make deep inroads into the automotive market,” says Jun Pei, co-founder and CEO of Cepton.

BusinessWire: RoboSense has obtained the IATF 16949 certificate in the automotive field, which now fully qualifies it to supply to automotive customers. RoboSense’s LiDAR production line obtained the IATF 16949 Letter of Conformity in December, which has accelerated partnerships of automotive-grade LiDAR serial productions with major OEMs and Tier 1s.

LeiLei Shinohara, the Co-partner and VP of RoboSense, said, "IATF16949 requires extremely high production consistency, and emphasizes various product reliability metrics. It recognizes the RoboSense design, research and development, and production processes. It also indicates that RoboSense has achieved a new milestone of complete readiness for serial mass production of automotive LiDARs, including the latest solid-state smart LiDAR RS-LiDAR-M1.


BusinessWire: Velodyne announces Mathew Rekow as its new CTO. Rekow assumes the CTO role following Anand Gopalan, who was recently named Velodyne’s CEO. Rekow was previously a Senior Director of Optical Engineering at Velodyne.

ArsTechnica posts an article "How lidar makers are coping with slow progress of self-driving tech" by Timothy Lee. Few quotes:

"At least one segment of the market—custom robots for warehouses, mines, and other industrial sites—is starting to buy lidar sensors in significant volume. Another segment—low-end lidars used in car driver-assistance systems—is poised to become a big market in the next couple of years.

In the next few years, we're going to see a number of carmakers make their first bulk lidar purchases—buying thousands of low-cost lidar sensors to improve their advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Experts believe lidar for the ADAS market needs to cost less than $500 for the economics to work. But if lidar companies can hit the right price level, the potential market is huge. By the middle of the decade, carmakers could be selling millions of lidar-equipped cars.

But the expected full-autonomy breakthroughs have been slow in coming. Companies that had aimed to launch self-driving taxi services in 2019, 2020, or 2021 have been forced to revise their timelines. And that has created a headache for lidar companies that were aiming to supply lidar sensors for fully autonomous vehicles.

Velodyne also faces competition from some Chinese companies that Velodyne dismisses as copycat vendors. Like Ouster, these companies offer Velodyne-like sensors at low prices. But Velodyne says that unlike Ouster, these companies simply copied Velodyne's design. Indeed, Velodyne sued two of those vendors—RoboSense and Hesai—for patent infringement last August.
"

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ADAS to Double Automotive Image Sensor Shipments by 2023

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Counterpoint Research forecasts a demand for embedded image sensors for passenger cars globally to double by 2023. The shipments of these image sensors will grow at a 19% CAGR, crossing 230 million units by 2023.

Commenting on these analyses, Aman Madhok, Senior Analyst for Smart Automotive stated, “Currently, most cars equipped with (rear) camera use it for basic parking visibility. However, this will begin to change as the industry moves towards the connected car era, with multiple sensors enabling increasing levels of safety and autonomy. Of all the sensors, the camera image sensor is one of the most important to enable greater Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) capabilities in the future.

With rear cameras for basic parking assistance in cars becoming almost a standard feature on newer models, we are now seeing the advent of a higher proportion of cars fitted with front-facing and side cameras to enable enhanced ADAS features. For example, surround view cameras, which are currently an option on higher-end models, will see significant adoption over the next five to six years. The key factors driving this trend are, firstly, government encouraging OEMs to integrate advanced safety features, and, secondly, growing awareness and preference for advanced safety features among customers.

Additionally, with declining ADAS costs, OEMs will look to incorporate features like Autonomous Emergency Braking as standard on mainstream models. And convenience applications like park-assist, are also expected to see fast growth during this period.


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Trap-Assisted Injection Gain in Organic Photoconductors

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Journal of Applied Physics publishes a paper "Physics of trap assisted photomultiplication in vertical organic photoresistors" by Mehdi Daanoune, Raphaël Clerc, Bruno Flament, and Lionel Hirsch from Université de Lyon and Université Bordeaux, France.

"Several experimental groups have reported recently an intriguing high level of gain (Photomultiplication) in vertical organic photoresistance (as well as in other technologies, such as perovskite for instance). This mechanism is sometimes named as “Trap-Assisted Photomultiplication.” This paper investigates the origin of this mechanism by means of drift diffusion simulations, analytical theory, and experiments, considering the particular case of PCDTBT:PC60BM photoresistors, although some conclusions are likely to apply in other technologies. It turns out that an excess of charges (induced by electron–hole carrier generation) may trigger additional carrier injection, leading to photomultiplication, under specific circumstances. We call this mechanism “gain by injection enhancement.” Electron (respectively, hole) trapping for P only (respectively, N only) devices can play this role efficiently. As these additional carriers came from contacts, significant dark current injection is thus needed to achieve a large value of gain, explaining why this mechanism can occur only in P (or N) only photoresistors (and not photodiodes or intrinsic photoresistors, i.e., with midgap contacts). In such devices, however, the detectivity remains intrinsically limited by the high level of dark injection currents required to get gain, and consequently, this type of device may be interesting, in particular, in technologies where it is not possible to achieve low dark currents using photodiodes. However, penalized by the slow trap dynamics, the cut-off frequency of these devices remains extremely low (less than 100 Hz). Also, this gain takes a high value only at low irradiance, making photoresistor responsivity light dependent. All these results bring new light in analyzing and optimizing photoresistors, opening a large field of investigation to take advantage of gain by injection enhancement."

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Phantom Attacks on Camera-based ADAS

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Ben Gurion University, Israel, research by Ben Nassi, Dudi Nassi, Raz Ben Netanel, Yisroel Mirsky, Green, and Yuval Elovici "Phantom Attacks Against Advanced Driving Assistance Systems" shows how projected images can change behavior of camera-based ADAS systems, such as Tesla X Autopilot or Mobileye 630 Pro:

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