Omnivision Announces 2.8um HDR DCG Split Pixel with LED Flicker Mitigation

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PRNewswire: OmniVision announces the OX01D10, a 1MP image sensor for automotive applications. This sensor brings together split-pixel and dual conversion gain (DCG) technology, artifact-free motion capture, HDR of up to 120dB, as well as LED flicker mitigation (LFM).

"The OX01D10 delivers low power and high performance in a small form factor," said Andy Hanvey, automotive marketing director at OmniVision. "We provide the industry's leading LFM performance over the full automotive temperature range, which meets the needs of OEMs that are increasingly requiring cameras to mitigate the flicker from LED lighting in vehicles, signs, buildings and a wide variety of other outdoor illumination."

The OX01D10 consumes less than 200mW at 30fps, has advanced ASIL features, and HDR of 120dB without LFM (110dB in LFM mode). AEC-Q100 Grade 2 certified samples and evaluation kits are available now.

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Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art review

Cameralabs        Go to the original article...

The Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art is a medium wide-angle lens designed for full-frame bodies and available in Nikon F, Canon EF, Sony E and Sigma mounts, with the Leica L version arriving later in 2019. It joins Sigma's highly-respected Art series, filling a gap between their 24mm and 35mm options. Thomas put it through its paces in his in-depth review!…

The post Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art review appeared first on Cameralabs.

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ST Imaging Roadmap

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ST 2019 Capital Markets Day brings us an update on the company's imaging business:

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Zoom To Learn, Learn To Zoom

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Arxiv.org paper "Zoom To Learn, Learn To Zoom" by Xuaner Cecilia Zhang, Qifeng Chen, Ren Ng, and Vladlen Koltun from UC Berkeley, HKUST, and Intel Labs claims a significant improvement over the earlier digital zoom algorithms:

"This paper shows that when applying machine learning to digital zoom for photography, it is beneficial to use real, RAW sensor data for training. Existing learning-based super-resolution methods do not use real sensor data, instead operating on RGB images. In practice, these approaches result in loss of detail and accuracy in their digitally zoomed output when zooming in on distant image regions. We also show that synthesizing sensor data by resampling high-resolution RGB images is an oversimplified approximation of real sensor data and noise, resulting in worse image quality. The key barrier to using real sensor data for training is that ground truth high-resolution imagery is missing. We show how to obtain the ground-truth data with optically zoomed images and contribute a dataset, SR-RAW, for real-world computational zoom. We use SR-RAW to train a deep network with a novel contextual bilateral loss (CoBi) that delivers critical robustness to mild misalignment in input-output image pairs. The trained network achieves state-of-the-art performance in 4X and 8X computational zoom."

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Oxford University Thesis on Single-Slope ADCs

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University of Oxford PhD thesis "Investigations of time-interpolated single-slope analog-to-digital converters for CMOS image sensors" by Deyan Levski explores time stretching and other concepts improving SS-ADC resolution and speed:

"The focus of the presented investigations here is to shed light on methods in Time-to-Digital Converter interpolation of single-slope ADCs. By using high-factor time-interpolation, the resolution of single-slope converters can be increased without sacrificing conversion time or power.

This work emphasizes on solutions for improvement of multiphase clock interpolation schemes, following an all-digital design paradigm. Presented is a digital calibration scheme which allows a complete elimination of analog clock generation blocks, such as PLL or DLL in Flash TDC-interpolated single-slope converters.
"

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Oxford University Thesis on Log Sensors

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Oxford University, UK, publishes a PhD Thesis "Integrating logarithmic wide dynamic range CMOS image sensors" by Mus'ab B Shaharom:

"Conventional CMOS image sensors with a logarithmic response attempt to address the limited dynamic range of the linear digital image sensors by exploiting the subthreshold operation of a transistor in a pixel. This results in CMOS pixels that are able to capture light intensities of more than six decades (120 dB). However, the approach comes at the expense of high fixed pattern noise (FPN) and slow response.

The work presented in this thesis describes a five all nMOS transistor (5T) pixel architecture that aims to achieve wide dynamic range. This feature is obtained using a time-varying reference voltage that is applied to one of the transistors of the pixel. The reference voltage varies in a logarithmic fashion in order to modulate the effective integration time of the pixel.
"

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Assorted News: Dialog, Nissan, San Francisco, NIT

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Dialog Semiconductor announces its Configurable Mixed-signal Integrated Circuit (CMIC) device with industry-leading LDO regulator performance, the SLG51000. The SLG51000 features high PSRR and lowe output voltage noise and is aimed to power camera and sensor systems.

Features:
  • Highest PSRR of 73dB at 1MHz
  • Lowest output voltage noise of 10µV rms
  • 7 channels of LDOs
  • Small 1.675mm x 2.075mm WLCSP package


Reuters: Nissan joins Tesla in saying that self-driving cars can work with no LiDAR:

"Nissan Motor Co Ltd said on Thursday it would, for now, stick to self-driving technology which uses radar sensors and cameras, avoiding lidar or light-based sensors because of their high cost and limited capabilities.

“At the moment, lidar lacks the capabilities to exceed the capabilities of the latest technology in radar and cameras,” Tetsuya Iijima, general manager of advanced technology development for automated driving, told reporters at Nissan’s headquarters.

“It would be fantastic if lidar technology was at the level that we could use it in our systems, but it’s not. There’s an imbalance between its cost and its capabilities.”



New York Times, Vox, BBC: San Francisco becomes the first US city that has banned face recognition technology by the government authorities:

"The action, which came in an 8-to-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors, makes San Francisco the first major American city to block a tool that many police forces are turning to in the search for both small-time criminal suspects and perpetrators of mass carnage."

NIT publishes a video demo of its SWIR HDR camera:

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Sony and Microsoft to Cooperate in "Intelligent Image Sensor Solutions"

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Reuters: Sony and Microsoft will partner on new innovations to enhance customer experiences in their direct-to-consumer entertainment platforms and AI solutions.

As part of the memorandum of understanding, Sony and Microsoft will explore collaboration in the areas of semiconductors and AI. For semiconductors, this includes potential joint development of new intelligent image sensor solutions. By integrating Sony’s cutting-edge image sensors with Microsoft’s Azure AI technology in a hybrid manner across cloud and edge, as well as solutions that leverage Sony’s semiconductors and Microsoft cloud technology, the companies aim to provide enhanced capabilities for enterprise customers. In terms of AI, the parties will explore incorporation of Microsoft’s advanced AI platform and tools in Sony consumer products, to provide highly intuitive and user-friendly AI experiences.

Going forward, the two companies will share additional information when available.

Kenichiro Yoshida, President and CEO, Sony,
and Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

Update: Nikkei reports that "the two companies will consider combining image sensors from Sony -- which controls half the global market -- with Microsoft AI technology to develop electronic "eyes" for self-driving vehicles."

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MultiVu Raises $7M for 3D FaceID with Single Camera

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PRNewswire, CTech: Isreal-based MultiVu, developing 3D imaging solutions using a single sensor and deep learning derived algorithms, announces the completion of a $7M seed round led by OurCrowd, Cardumen Capital and Hong Kong based investment firm Junson Capital. MultiVu will use the funding to complete development of its first sensor product for 3D Face Authentication applications.

MultiVu's 3D image camera is based on a single sensor as opposed to existing solutions using two sensors and a light projector. The solution produces both pictures and video streams as needed. MultiVu's single sensor solution is promised to be inexpensive, compact and energy efficient. MultiVu method is based on state of the art deep learning algorithms, which makes it a 100% passive solution (no illumination), operating as a front facing camera, using depth and RGB data, all in a single shot.

Doron Nevo, CEO of MultiVu said "The technology, which passed the proof-of-concept stage will bring 3D Face Authentication and affordable 3D imaging to the mobile, automotive, industrial and medical markets. We are excited to be given the opportunity to commercialize this technology."

MultiVu's technology is based on four years of research conducted by David Mendlovic and his team from the Tel Aviv University.

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Light-In-Flight Capture

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MDPI Sensors paper "Light-In-Flight Imaging by a Silicon Image Sensor: Toward the Theoretical Highest Frame Rate" by Takeharu Goji Etoh, Tomoo Okinaka, Yasuhide Takano, Kohsei Takehara, Hitoshi Nakano, Kazuhiro Shimonomura, Taeko Ando, Nguyen Ngo, Yoshinari Kamakura, Vu Truon Son Dao, Anh Quang Nguyen, Edoardo Charbon, Chao Zhang, Piet De Moor, Paul Goetschalckx, and Luc Haspeslagh from Kindai University, Ritsumeikan University, Osaka University, Hanoi University of Science and Technology, EPFL, Delft University, and IMEC presents a further improvement of high frame rate sensors:

"Light in flight was captured by a single shot of a newly developed backside-illuminated multi-collection-gate image sensor at a frame interval of 10 ns without high-speed gating devices such as a streak camera or post data processes. This paper reports the achievement and further evolution of the image sensor toward the theoretical temporal resolution limit of 11.1 ps derived by the authors. The theoretical analysis revealed the conditions to minimize the temporal resolution. Simulations show that the image sensor designed following the specified conditions and fabricated by existing technology will achieve a frame interval of 50 ps. The sensor, 200 times faster than our latest sensor will innovate advanced analytical apparatuses using time-of-flight or lifetime measurements, such as imaging TOF-MS, FLIM, pulse neutron tomography, PET, LIDAR, and more, beyond these known applications."

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Cadence Tensilica Vision Q7 DSP

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Cadence expands the high end of its Tensilica Vision DSP IP family with the introduction of Vision Q7 delivering up to 1.82 tera operations per second (TOPS). Escalating demand for image sensors in edge applications is driving growth of the embedded vision market. Today’s vision use cases demand a mix of both vision and AI operations, and edge SoCs require highly flexible, high-performance vision and AI solutions operating at low power. In addition, edge applications that include an imaging camera demand a vision DSP capable of performing pre- or post-processing before any AI task.

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TowerJazz Updates on its CIS Business

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SeekingAlpha: TowerJazz quarterly earnings call gives an update on the company image sensor business:

"Moving into the sensors business unit, which includes both our visual CMOS image sensors and non-visual sensors. Within the image sensor activities, our focus remains, firstly, the facial recognition sensor market, primarily in the mobile segment, which is mainly driven by mobile banking and payment applications; secondly, medical and dental market segments, where the served market size continues to increase as x-ray image intensifier tubes and flat panels are replaced by large stitched die, including paneled single die per wafer CMOS sensors; thirdly, high-end imaging, namely, high-end photography and also small pixel global shutter for industrial.

Many applications in these markets are expanding toward differentiated backside illumination and wafer stacking technologies. In all of the above, we continue to serve market leader existing customers for present state-of-the-art market demands as well as customer partner developments with existing and additional new powerful customers, driving breakthrough technologies to capture, for example, among others, the mobile facial recognition platforms for the many suppliers moving past the fingerprint sensors to 3D biometric recognition.

In the non-imaging sensor market, major growth is driven by the IoT market, which requires more and more sophisticated sensors at the edge. We have developed a variety of sensor technologies, including highly accurate and high-range temperature sensors, high sensitivity, as well as high-temperature magnetic sensors, radiation sensors, radon detection sensors, UV sensors and also gas and humidity sensors. We are now actively offering these technologies to customers.

Our recent investment in AIStorm, with proprietary technology, combined with our analog building blocks, provides a breakthrough analog artificial intelligence solution with low-power and low-cost artificial intelligence to edge devices. Our plan is eventually to combine this AI solution with our sensors, enabling smart edge devices for diversified market application.
"

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Actlight Closes Series C Financing Round

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PRNewswire: ActLight SA announces the closing of its Series C equity financing. The amount of raised money has not been not reported. Swisscom Venture served as the lead investor, along with investiere.ch, new investor Quan Funds and other private investors. ActLight SA intends to use the financing to support further advancement of its TOF solutions, particularly to produce demonstrators of 3D TOF Sensor Arrays and Single Photon Range Meters, which are designed to significantly improve the depth sensing performances in smartphones, self-driving vehicles and other innovative devices.

"This financing round is a significant milestone for us as we continue to advance our technology pipeline and we would like to welcome all of our new and current investors and thank them for sharing our entrepreneurial vision. They help us shaping the future of light sensing," said Serguei Okhonin, Co-Founder and CEO. "With these funds, we intend to pursue the development of very innovative TOF light sensors which we believe can respond to the big needs of innovation in depth sensing and expand the array of applications in this field."

ActLight SA patented the Dynamic PhotoDiode is said to allow enhance the efficiency and accuracy of various light sensing applications like TOF based distance measuring (i.e. user detection, gesture control and visual recognition), vital signs monitoring, 3D/2D cameras and much more. The Dynamic PhotoDiode has been chosen and licensed by a leading semiconductor company to be integrated in one of their chips for vital signs monitoring in wearable devices; more deals in different markets are progressing in our opportunity pipeline.

ActLight SA operates on mobile and wearable devices, healthcare, autonomous driving, drones and robotics markets.



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imec On- and Under-Display Large Area Image Sensors

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Imec kindly sent me more info on its thin-film on-display image sensor that can be used for fingerprint or other scanning applications:

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ON Semi HDR with LED Flicker Mitigation

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ON Semi posts a video explaining its Hayabusa image sensor family Super-Exposure feature: HDR with LED flicker mitigation:

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177dB Linear DR Camera

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IEEE Photonics Journal publishes an open access paper "177 dB Linear Dynamic Range Pixels of Interest DSLR CAOS Camera" by Nabeel A. Riza and Mohsin A. Mazhar from University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

"A camera with extreme linear dynamic range (DR) and controllable signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for pixel irradiance extraction has remained an elusive goal for imager designers to allow reliable mapping under extreme contrast scenarios such as night vision. Presented is the DSLR CAOS camera that meets this elusive goal with a 3 detector imager design. This paper demonstrates a record 177 dB linear DR controllable SNR pixel irradiance extractions and first time real-time CAOS-mode image capture.

For the first time, demonstrated is an extreme linear Dynamic Range (DR) Pixels of Interest (POI) [i.e., Coded Access Optical Sensor (CAOS)] Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera design that engages three different types of photosensors within one optomechanical assembly to smartly identify POI across a one billion to one light irradiance range. A pixelated CMOS sensor provides a limited DR and linearity image by engaging a moveable mirror placed between the Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) and the frontend imaging lens. Next using DMD control, non-POI light is directed away from the chosen point photodetector (PD) engaged for high DR POI image recovery, giving the PD an improved use of quantum well capacity. For brighter POI, a solid state photodiode point PD with an electronic gain controlled amplifier is engaged while for weaker light POI, a photomultiplier tube (PMT) with variable optical gain is deployed. POI imaging is achieved using time-frequency CAOS modes via DMD control and time-frequency correlation and spectral digital signal processing. A 123.4 dB linear DR POI recovery is achieved for a custom incoherent white light 36-patch target while a record 177 dB linear DR recovery is demonstrated for a single patch 633 nm laser target. For the first time, a 1023 POI frame, real-time 48 frames/s update rate CAOS imaging is demonstrated for tracking a changing focal spot moving laser target.
"

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Optical Fingerprint News

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Imec: Holst Centre, an innovation initiative of imec and TNO, has developed a large-area optical fingerprint sensor that is over 70% transparent for integrating on top of LCD displays. At 70% transparency in the visible region, the new prototype is said to be the most transparent large-area optical fingerprint sensor yet. It is based on a combination of organic photodiodes (OPD), thin-film barrier and oxide thin-film transistors (TFTs) pioneered by Holst Centre. To achieve the high transparency, the team uses photolithography to pattern the photodiode layer within each pixel, creating microscopic islands of photosensitive material.

The transparent sensor offers high resolution and dynamic range with a low dark current, ensuring excellent sensitivity even in low light conditions. It can also be produced in large sizes for example to read palmprints or 4 fingerprints at once. This combination of size and performance enables compliance with FAP 60, the FBI’s most-stringent certification category.

It also allows the sensor to work as a document scanner, for example allowing a single system to read passports and fingerprints while also providing user guidance. Moreover, the new sensor can be used in combination with the highly transparent capacitive touch panels commonly used in LCD screens, enabling simultaneous touch and biometric functionality.

Integrating biometric sensors into displays allows the display to give people better guidance on how to use the system and exactly where to put their hand. This would make identification, for example at customs, more reliable and much faster. Our patterned pixel design ensures high transparency and is completely compatible with existing flat-panel display production processes, making integration with widely used LCD displays both technically feasible and cost effective,” said Hylke Akkerman, Program Manager at Holst Centre.

As with Holst Centre’s previous fingerprint sensors, the transparent sensor is also capable of detecting a heartbeat while reading a fingerprint for liveness detection. Changes to the photodiode chemistry would allow the sensor to work in the NIR to detect the pattern of veins in the hand, offering additional ways to verify a person’s identity.

Holst Centre will also be showing three further fingerprint innovations including a high-resolution sensor integrated under a display using Holst Centre’s proprietary collimator technology as well as an in-display sensor concept that uses photolithography patterning to integrate OLED and OPD pixels side-by-side. This latter approach could allow 500 ppi fingerprint scanners to be integrated into ultra-high resolution display arrays such as single AMOLED modules with multiple functionalities. On the design side, Holst Centre will demonstrate integrated readout electronics for on-display-panel fingerprint detection.

Integrating microscopic photodetectors within AMOLED arrays adds light sensitivity to display pixels. Through photolithography patterning, we envision ultra-high resolution arrays of OLEDs and OPD that maximize the usage of the active area. At the same time, in-panel readout blocks could facilitate further scaling of fingerprint scanners for a more-efficient user interface,” adds Pawel Malinowski, Program Manager at imec.


PRNewswire: AU Optronics (AUO) unveils what it calls the world' first full screen optical in-cell fingerprint LTPS LCD, in-cell touch LTPS LCDs with the world's smallest through-hole design and narrowest(*)1.0 mm bottom border for smartphone applications. AUO's 6-inch full screen optical in-cell fingerprint LTPS LCD is the first of its kind to have installed an optical sensor within the LCD structure. Equipped with AHVA technology, full HD+ (1080 x 2160) resolution and 403 PPI pixel density, the panel has a full screen sensing area with the same 403 PPI sensor density and 30 ms swift sensor response time for the smoothest and most accurate sensing performance possible on a smartphone.

Also applying the AHVA technology, the 6.3-inch in-cell touch LTPS LCD has full HD+ (1080 x 2304) resolution and possesses the world's narrowest 1.0 mm bottom border, which is around 40% narrower than that of its counterpart in the market.

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Autosens Expands in Hong Kong in 2020

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In addition to the conferences in Brussels and Detroit, Autosens announces a third location for its yearly events - Hong Kong:

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Sheba Presents its MEMS AF and OIS Solution

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Toronto, Canada-based Sheba Microsystems kindly sent me a presentation about its MEMS AF and OIS solution:

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OmniVision Announces Automotive ISP Featuring HDR with LED Flicker Mitigation

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PRNewswire: OmniVision announces the OAX4010 automotive ISP featuring the new HDR and LFM Engine (HALE) combination algorithm. In tandem with OmniVision’s OX01A10 and OX02A10 LFM image sensors, the OAX4010 enables more intelligent decision-making by providing the LFM and HDR simultaneously, while operating over the automotive temperature range. Additionally, the OAX4010 can process the images from one camera at 60fps or two cameras at 30fps, which reduces the number of ISPs required for surround-view system (SVS) cameras by 50%.

With the ongoing transition from SoCs to stand-alone ISPs for automotive viewing, these systems are increasingly incorporating ADAS requirements such as LFM and HDR,” said Pierre Cambou, principal imaging analyst at Yole Développement. “The ability to provide state-of-the-art companion ISPs is becoming a key technology requirement for image sensor suppliers to automotive tier ones and OEMs, as they tackle the numerous new features like parking assist and e-mirrors. OmniVision is the main contender in that space and is effectively driving the technology forward.

With our ISP’s proprietary HALE combination algorithm, automotive designers can create camera systems without compromise that are flicker-free while achieving the full dynamic range,” said Andy Hanvey, director of automotive marketing at OmniVision. “LFM and HDR can be optimized together to give drivers a better picture of their surroundings."

OAX4010 samples are available now, and it is AEC-Q100 Grade 2 certified and ASPICE CL-2 for automotive applications.


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Samsung CIS Sales are $2.46b

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BusinessKorea: "Although we presented our goal of becoming the No. 1 player in the system semiconductor sector in 2030, we don't want to wait that long in the sensor market," said Park Yong-in, EVP for Samsung’s sensor business.

Park said Samsung’s sensor business has barely started but its sales can grow to the level of memory semiconductors in the future. Noting that Samsung Electronics' sales in its memory semiconductor business grew 4.5 times from $1.9b in 1992 to $8.6b in 2002, Park said he expects the company’s image sensor sales, which currently stand at $2.46b, to grow at a similar pace.

KoreaJoongAngDaily: “One-third of the global population is using our mobile image sensors. By this year’s second half, most high-end smartphone makers will be using 64-megapixel camera phones,” Park said.

KoreaBizWire: “Vehicle components are the next market for image sensors,” Kwon Jin-hyun, VP of Samsung’s System LSI sensor marketing, said.

Sony accounted for 26.1% of the global image sensor market in 2018, followed by Samsung’s with 23.2%, according to Japanese TSR. BusinessKorea gives different numbers: Sony controls 50.1% share, Samsung follows with 20.5%.

Park Yong-in, EVP of sensor business at Samsung, presents new
image sensors during a press briefing held in Seoul on May 9, 2019.
Note a nice ISOCELL physical demo on the right side.

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Hyperspectral Vision in Sea Depth

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Science: "At a depth of 1000 meters, the last glimmer of sunlight is gone. But over the past 15 years, researchers have realized that the depths are pervaded by a faint bioluminescence from flashing shrimp, octopus, bacteria, and even fish. To learn how fish can see it, a team led by evolutionary biologist Walter Salzburger from the University of Basel in Switzerland studied deep-sea fishes' opsin proteins. Variation in the opsins' amino acid sequences changes the wavelength of light detected, so multiple opsins make color vision possible. One opsin, RH1, works well in low light. Found in the eye's rod cells, it enables humans to see in the dark—but only in black and white.

Salzburger and his colleagues searched for opsin genes in 101 fish species, including seven Atlantic Ocean deep-sea fish whose genomes they fully sequenced. Most fish have one or two RH1 opsins, like many other vertebrates, but four of the deep-sea species stood apart, the researchers report this week in Science. Those fish—the lantern-fish, a tube-eye fish, and two spinyfins—all had at least five RH1 genes, and one, the silver spinyfin (Diretmus argenteus), had 38.
"

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HIDM – Chinese Image Sensor IDM

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It has been a while since my previous post about Huaian Imaging Device Manufacturer Corp (HIDM). A lot more becomes known about the company and its business:

"HiDM was founded in January 19, 2016, and the total investment is expected to exceed 50 billion RMB. The headquarters is located in Huai’an, Jiangsu, China. The first phase of the project is expected to invest 15 billion Yuan for the 12-inch wafer fab with an annual output of 240,000 wafers, covering an area of 257 acres and has been basically completed. It is a semiconductor company focusing on CMOS Image Sensor.

Our company takes mobile phone camera chip as the breakthrough point, and integrates resources, technology, channels and customers in an all-round way. It is in the leading position in the industry from design, production to sales. Besides, we have maintained stable cooperative relationship with HUAWEI and other mobile phone leading enterprises and the market prospect is really broad.

Now we have obtained technological platform authorization from a European semiconductor company. Our products are widely used in mobile phones, monitoring, vehicle, IOT, medical, robot and other fields. In April 2016, Toshiba CIS technology core team was built to join HiDM, the product design and R & D team came from the Toshiba team. At present, our company has a complete set of advanced design and independent process capability with world-class technological level.
"


ON Semi reports it has licensed its mobile imaging related assets to HIDM:

"On December 19, 2016, the Company entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement (the “Asset Purchase Agreement”) with HSET Electronic Tech (Hong Kong) Limited (“HSET”) to sell inventory and license patents related to its Mobile CIS business for $75.0 million. On April 7, 2017, the Company and HSET along with Huaian Imaging Device Manufacturer Corporation (“HIDM”) entered into the First Amendment to the Asset Purchase Agreement. The arrangement included the sale of $22.5 million of inventory, which has been recorded as revenue for the year ended December 31, 2017.

During 2017, the Company received the remaining $52.5 million and provided perpetual, non-exclusive licenses to certain technologies to HIDM.
"

In 2018, HIDM has filed 279 patent applications and is ranking #65 in the world:

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IISW 2019 Program

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International Image Sensor Workshop to be held in Snowbird, UT on June 24-27, 2019 publishes its program. There are 55 regular papers and 33 posters in the program this year.

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SiOnyx vs Hamamatsu Lawsuit Outcome

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Law360: The Boston, MA jury's verdict is said to be entirely in favor of SiOnyx LLC, the Black Silicon company, co-founded by Harvard professor Eric Mazur and the President and Fellows of Harvard College (see the previous post here). The jury found that U.S. subsidiary Hamamatsu Corp. breached its NDA with SiOnyx and infringed its US8080467 patent on special laser-processed silicon.

"The jury awarded SiOnyx $796,469 in damages on its breach of contract claim and $580,640 on its claim for unjust enrichment, and rejected Hamamatsu's defense that SiOnyx's claims were filed too late.

The jury also found that Japanese parent company Hamamatsu Photonics KK infringed the patent willfully, but awarded no damages for patent infringement. Moreover, the jury found that SiOnyx co-founder James Carey should have been listed as a co-inventor on nine patents filed by Hamamatsu.

In 2006, SiOnyx demonstrated its technology to Hamamatsu, only to have the Japanese company file its own patent applications on that same technology, breaching the companies' mutual nondisclosure agreement, according to the complaint.

Hamamatsu had acted like it was entering into a collaborative relationship with SiOnyx to explore using the black silicon in its commercial semiconductor products, but began selling products using the technology without giving credit to the actual inventors, according to the complaint.
"

Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. US patents 9,614,109; 9,293,499; 9,190,551; 8,994,135; 8,916,945; 8,884,226; 8,742,528; 8,629,485; and 8,564,087 should include SiOnyx co-founder James Carey as co-inventor, according to the jury.

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Emberion Graphene Imagers

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A 2018 Emberion presentation gives quite a lot o information about the company's progress and products:


An earlier 2017 presentation compares graphene sensors with incumbent technologies.

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Lidar Sampling ROIC

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IEICE Electronics Express publishes Tianjin University, China, paper "A novel TDC/ADC hybrid reconstruction ROIC for LiDAR" by Xianzhao Xia, Mao Ye, Jiaji He, Kai Hu, and Yiqiang Zhao.

"A novel low complexity TDC/ADC hybrid reconstruction read-out circuit (ROIC) is proposed for LiDAR. Compared with other TDC-based receivers, the proposed circuit can provide a higher sampling speed, while consuming less power than ADC-based receivers. The circuit structure is constructed based on a sampler circuit to realize full waveform reconstruction. To further reduce power consumption, a Time Control Technique (TCT) is utilized to enable the sampler circuit to work only when needed. More specifically, the bandwidth, gain and input referred noise current spectral density of analog front-end (AFE) circuit are set as 150 M, 83 dB and 3.25 pA/sqrt (Hz), respectively. The experiment results demonstrate the feasibility that the sampler circuit can reach more than 3 GHz sampling frequency with only 2.8 mW power consumption."

While claimed "novel," the principle looks quite similar to ASC-Continental LiDAR and probably shares the same advantages and weaknesses:

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Lens Limitations

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Edmund Optics presentation at Spectronet shows how the lens MTF limits imaging system performance:

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Himax Quarterly Update: Smartphone 3D Sensing, Low Power Imaging

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SeekingAlpha: Himax Q1 2019 earnings call gives an update on its imaging business:

"First on 3D Sensing business update. At present, Android smartphone’s front facing 3D sensing adoption is still hindered by the high hardware cost, long development lead time, and the lack of killer applications. Instead of 3D sensing, most of the Android phone makers have chosen the fingerprint technology which can achieve similar phone unlock and online payment functions with a much lower cost.

Reacting to their lukewarm response, we started to work on the next generation SLiM 3D sensing total solution, aiming to leapfrog the market by providing high performance, easy to adopt and yet cost friendly total solutions, targeting the majority of Android smartphone players.

Currently we have completed the feasibility study for its Gen 2 SLiM solutions covering detailed specifications, performance and cost. Our next step is to seek feedback from Android smartphone OEMs. With that, we will then determine the way forward for its 3D sensing total solution strategy.

For the avoidance of doubt, we remain and are committed to be the leader in the optics for structured light 3D sensing where we are currently engaged in multiple development projects from multiple customers.

Being a leading provider of 3D sensing technology, we are also an active participant in smartphone OEMs’ design projects for new devices involving ToF technology. We see ToF building momentum in such use cases as advanced photography, distance or dimension measurement and 3D depth information generation for AR.

Unlike structured light 3D sensing where it provides total solution or just projector module or optics depending on customers’ needs, with ToF, we only – we will only focus on transmitter module by leveraging its WLO related expertise.

I mentioned previously that 3D sensing can have a wide range of applications beyond smartphone. We have started to explore business opportunities in various industries that are typically less sensitive to cost and always require a total solution.

Among such projects is a collaboration effort with Kneron, an industry leader in edge-based artificial intelligence in which we have made an equity investment, to develop an AI-enabled 3D sensing solution targeting security and surveillance markets. We are also working with partners/customers on new applications covering home appliances and industrial manufacturing.

On CMOS image sensor business updates. We continue to make great progress with our machine-vision sensor product lines. Himax and Emza unveiled the second generation WiseEye AIoT intelligent vision solution at the ISC West 2019 in early April.

The solution is consisted of Himax’s industry leading ultra-low power sensor and ASIC designs with Emza’s unique AI-based, ultra-low power computer vision algorithm. The solution is uniquely positioned for AIoT markets featuring battery-powered human detection sensor, AI-based machine learning and always-on visual sensor, all operating at the edge device.

Furthermore, it brings an enhanced user experience and better-informed decision-making running on minimal power and much better cost compared to similar solutions consuming much higher power.

We are pleased with the status of engagement with leading players in areas such as connected home, smart building and security. In parallel, we are actively participating in the rapidly growing AIoT eco-system, which we believe will open up further future opportunities for Himax.

For traditional human vision segments, we see strong demands in laptop and increasing shipment for multimedia applications such as car recorders, surveillance, drones, home appliances, and consumer electronics, among others.
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Canon RF 28-70mm f2L USM review so far

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The Canon RF 28-70mm f2L USM is a general-purpose zoom for Canon’s EOS R full-frame mirrorless system boasting an industry-leading f2 focal ratio. It may miss out on the wider 24mm coverage of typical 24-70mm f2.8 zooms, but uniquely boasts an extra stop of aperture. Ahead of my full review, check out my sample images and videos!…

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