Velodyne Cumulative Sales Reached $500M

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Forbes: Velodyne has shipped 30,000 LiDARs since 2007 when it started making them, generating cumulative sales of $500M, according to the company CEO and founder David Hall.

Velodyne sees demand for shorter-range units for ADAS safety tech, monitoring road conditions, blind spots and objects in a driver's path. “The market is changing a little bit, and we're trying to aim a little bit toward the ADAS end now, where we have lower product costs and higher volume,” David Hall said. “We’re not convinced that the ultimate lidar has been invented by anybody yet. We still have an active program to try to hammer this thing into its final shape.

Velodyne has formed strategic alliances with three key investors in the past few years, with Ford, China’s Baidu and Nikon investing a combined $200M in the company.

The company built an automated 200,000-square-foot LiDAR “megafactory” in San Jose, CA, in 2017. Nikon is also setting up a LiDAR assembly line in Japan in partnership with Velodyne, and it has a strategic licensing deal with Veoneer, a unit of Swedish Autoliv, to help boost production of its sensors to millions of units a year worldwide.



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Yole on Smartphone Front Camera Market

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Yole Developpement publishes its analysis of MWC 2019 smartphone camera announcements "Is the smartphone full display trend taking over from front selfie cameras and biometric 3D sensing?"

"There are obviously two main trends conflicting right now: one favors sensing on the front display side of smartphones; the other favors display.

The display strategy is driven by a ‘wow effect’, by increasing screen-to-body ratio, showing immersive videos that are one of the drivers of 5G adoption. The foldable trend is also an extension of this, and may end up in a compromise between a smartphone and a tablet. It is not clear right now if this could convert into additional revenues or volume for the industry, knowing what we know about smartphones and tablets.

The sensing strategy is using 3D as a biometric interface, where biometry and Human Machine Interface (HMI) are combined. This one conflicts with the full display aesthetic and is constrained by handset design and camera and display technologies. Apple is actively working on the ideal technical solution, which should reach the market before the year’s end.
"

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Color Photon Counting Sensor

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Arxiv.org paper "Megapixel Photon-Counting Color Imaging using Quanta Image Sensor" by Abhiram Gnanasambandam, Omar Elgendy, Jiaju Ma, and Stanley H. Chan from Purdue University and Gigajot presents first color photon counting sensor:

"Quanta Image Sensor (QIS) is a single-photon detector designed for extremely low light imaging conditions. Majority of the existing QIS prototypes are monochrome based on single-photon avalanche diodes (SPAD). Color imaging has not been demonstrated with single-photon detectors due to the intrinsic difficulty of shrinking the pixel size and increasing the spatial resolution while maintaining acceptable intra-pixel cross-talk. In this paper, we present image reconstruction of the first color QIS with a resolution of 1024×1024 pixels, supporting both single-bit and multi-bit photon counting capability. Our color image reconstruction is enabled by a customized joint demosaicing-denoising algorithm, leveraging truncated Poisson statistics and variance stabilizing transforms. Experimental results of the new sensor and algorithm demonstrate superior color imaging performance for very low-light conditions with a mean exposure of as low as a few photons per pixel."

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Mitsubishi Develops MWIR and LWIR Graphene Sensors

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Nikkei: Mitsubishi claims it has developed a MWIR sensor having the world's highest responsivity among graphene sensors. Due to an internal graphene FET gain, the responsivity is 10x higher than that of quantum-type IR sensors with no internal amplification. Mitsubishi uses graphene FET and leverages its high electron mobility.

Other than a graphene-based FET, there is "a light-amplifying part" that produces photoelectrons and photoholes and is placed under the graphene. At a very low temperature of, for example, 80K, the responsivity increases even more, by a factor of 100x:


Mitsubishi is also developing a LWIR sensor using a dielectric for the light-amplifying. Existing quantum-type LWIR sensors reduce thermal noise by cooling down to liquid nitrogen temperature. Mitsubishi claims that with its new method, the sensor might be able to work at room temperature:


The original article in Japanese has few more figures:


Here is an earlier Nikkei article on the same topic. Mitsubishi is going to present its work at IDTechEx Show in Berlin, Germany on April 10-11, 2019.

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Terahertz Imaging Pixel

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Japanese Journal of Applied Physics publishes a paper "Wideband terahertz imaging pixel with a small on-chip antenna in 180 nm CMOS" by Yuri Kanazawa, Sayuri Yokoyama, Shota Hiramatsu, Eiichi Sano, Takahiro Ikegami, Yuma Takida, Prasoon Ambalathankandy, Hiroaki Minamide, and Masayuki Ikebe from Hokkaido University, Sony, and RIKEN. The new paper appears to be a further development of their previous paper presented at ISW 2017.

"We propose a Si-CMOS terahertz image sensor to resolve paucity of low-cost and small-size detectors. The imaging pixel consists of an on-chip antenna and an amplifier acting as envelope detector. The pixel uses a microstrip patch antenna for receiving THz waves. However, the antenna's narrow bandwidth and large ground plane size causes major problems. A low-resistivity Si substrate degrades the gain of planar antennas besides the microstrip patch antenna. We introduce an on-chip folded-slot antenna to reduce the pixel size and prevent gain degradation due to the Si substrate. The antenna has a broader bandwidth and higher gain than conventional on-chip slot antenna. We fabricated the patch/folded-slot types of the pixel circuits by using 0.18 μm CMOS process. Measurement results show that the folded-slot antenna has a broader bandwidth from 850 GHz to 1.05 THz."


Venturebeat: In an unrelated news, FCC has started issuing 10-year licenses to experiment in 95GHz to 3THz spectrum range for the companies that are trying to find "the next big thing."

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Yantai Raytron Prepares IPO

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Reuters: Yantai Raytron Technology Co, a Chinese developer of LWIR imaging and sensors technology is one of the first companies preparing the IPO at Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style Science and Technology board, announced by President Xi Jinping in November 2018. The board’s registration-based listing procedure is supposed to take 3 months and allow start-ups that have yet to turn a profit to list.

Yantai Raytron is developing a low-cost thermal imagers based on microbolometric technology.

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Light Co. CEO Keynote at MWC

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Light Co. publishes its CEO Dave Grannan talk at MWC 2019 Keynote Session "The Next Unicorn".

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IHS Markit on ToF Market

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Semiconductor Engineering publishes IHS Markit article on ToF sensing market:

"IHS Markit forecasts that global revenue for ToF sensors in the 3D optical sensing market will surpass $500 million in 2019, up from $370 million last year. We also predict that the ToF market will grow in the coming years, spurred by combo solutions integrated with other light sensors in the same package. This will lead to a cheaper bill of materials (BOM) compared to the BOM for the SL method.

At the same time, IHS Markit forecasts that the total market potential for light sensors will be worth much more, reaching $1.5 billion by year 2022. That’s because after a solid start with gaming consoles, 3D sensing has matured and consolidated in the massive smartphone arena.

A segment of 3D sensing’s future growth will come from other use cases and applications that are emerging outside consumer electronics and mobile. These include people-counting and -tracking in consumer and industrial applications, landing-aid and obstacle-avoidance functions in drones, and car-trunk (boot) opening with foot gestures, as well as gesture recognition and passenger detection in automotive.

All told, the ToF approach appears to have a greater chance than the SL method in gaining a larger market share, leading to a cheaper and smaller BOM along with reduced integration costs in system assembly and calibration.
"

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TU Delft Lensless Imaging

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TU Delft publishes a poster on its approach to lensless imager:

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TuSimple Uses Sony Sensor in its Night Driving Camera

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PRNewswire: TuSimple announces an automotive-grade camera and vision system that will go into volume production in Q2 2019 and will be deployed on its autonomous customer truck fleet by Q3 2019. With $95m in new funding and daily autonomous trips hauling freight, the company is on its way to achieving its milestone of first driverless operations by the end of 2020.

Featuring Sony automotive CMOS sensor, the custom designed camera system allows for reliable night and low light autonomous operation. Adding nighttime operation to TuSimple's already industry leading 1,000 meter perception system will allow fleets to increase truck utilization from an average of 50%, or 12 hours per day, to an average of over 80%. The system addresses complex imaging challenges such as instant light changes when entering and exiting tunnels, flaring during sunrise and sunset, and headlight glare. It also handles the LED flicker created by digital signage and traffic lights.

"Bringing reliable nighttime and low light operation to current perception systems in the market is an important step in the viability of autonomous driving, which is a strategic focus for us," said Tsutomu Haruta, Automotive Business Division Deputy SGM, Sony Semiconductor.

"Like human drivers, autonomous trucks' perception systems are challenged by a wide variety of light conditions which are experienced every day while driving. We weren't able to find a camera system on the market that fit our needs so we created one," said Xiaodi Hou, Founder, President and CTO, TuSimple. "The combined expertise of Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation and TuSimple has created a perception system that sees better than the human eye – night and day, rain or shine — in the most challenging driving conditions."

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ON Semi Announces Real-Time CIS Model for Automotive Simulations

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BusinessWire: ON Semi announces that it provides its sophisticated real-time image sensor modeling technology to the NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation simulation platform. The open, cloud-based platform performs bit-accurate simulation for large-scale, hardware-in-the-loop testing and validation of autonomous vehicles.

ON Semi’s Image Sensor model receives both scene information and control signals from DRIVE Constellation to calculate and output a real-time image based on the inputs. It then transmits the simulated image back to DRIVE Constellation for processing. The complex sensor model will utilize all critical parameters in the path from converting photons to digital output (e.g. QE, Noise, Gain, ADC, BLC, and more) to provide an accurate output of a real-world image sensor.

ON Semiconductor’s advanced imaging solutions have demonstrated class-leading performance and their innovative Image Sensor model can benefit those engaged in the groundbreaking work to take autonomous driving from concepts under test to mainstream reality,” said Zvi Greenstein, GM at NVIDIA.

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Sony Announces Stacked BSI 2.74um Global Shutter Pixel Technology

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Sony announces Pregius S, a stacked CMOS sensor technology that employs a proprietary global shutter function with BSI pixel to combine distortion-free, high imaging performance and miniaturization. The new sensor technology is intended for industrial applications.

Conventional CMOS image sensors equipped with global shutter function temporarily store charge signals in the memory area located next to the photodiode to resolve image distortion (focal plane distortion) caused by the time shift due to the row-by-row readout. In FSI CMOS sensors, there is a wiring layer on the silicon substrate forming the photodiode, and with such a structure, the benefit is that it is easy to form a light shield for protecting the charge signal temporarily stored in the memory area from leaked light. For this reason, conventional CMOS image sensors with global shutter function have adopted a FSI pixel structure. However, the wiring on top of the photodiode hinders the incident light, which creates an issue when attempting to miniaturize the pixels.

In response to this, Sony has developed a proprietary pixel structure that achieves the global shutter function on a BSI structure that has superior sensitivity characteristics. Normally, when pixels are miniaturized, the sensitivity and saturation characteristics deteriorate, but the new Sony technology enables a reduction in pixel size to 2.74 μm while maintaining performance of those characteristic, thereby achieving about 1.7 times higher resolution than conventional FSI CMOS sensors. Moreover, thanks to the high degree of freedom of the wiring layout of BSI pixel structures, a high speed of about 2.4 times that of conventional sensor can be achieved. In addition, the sensor’s stacked structure makes it possible to mount various signal processing circuits, whereby it is possible to realize smart functions such as signal processing only for the necessary part of the measurement and inspection images in a smaller size compared to conventional sensors.

Going forward, Sony will work to develop products equipped with this stacked CMOS sensor employing its proprietary global shutter function with BSI pixel structure for various industrial applications and intelligent transportation systems, including development of derivatives for signal processing circuits to be mounted. Sony plans to start shipping sample units in the summer of 2019 or later.

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SiOnyx Color Sensor vs Night Vision Tube

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SiOnyx publishes a video comparing its color night vision with Gen 3 photomultiplying tube:

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Sony ToF Module Reverse Engineering

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SystemPlus publishes a reverse engineering report of Soony-Softkinetic ToF module found Oppo Rx17 Pro smartphone:

"Oppo is now pioneering the use of 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF) in its Rx17 Pro. Lenovo did a similar integration on the rear of one of its products a few years ago, integrating a pmd/Infineon solution in a high-end phone. In doing this, Asus and Lenovo added an additional Near Infra-Red (NIR) Global Shutter (GS) camera, but Oppo doesn’t have such a dedicated NIR GS Camera. Instead, Oppo uses the latest generation of ToF camera technology from Sony Depthsensing Solutions, formerly known as SoftKinetic.

The rear optical hub is packaged in one metal enclosure and features several cameras and a flood illuminator. The complete system features a telephoto and wide-angle camera module and a 3D ToF camera. The distinguishing characteristic of the 3D depth sensing camera is the addition of a NIR flood illuminator.

All components are standard and can be found on the market. That includes a BackSide Illumination (BSI) ToF image sensor featuring 10 µm x 10 µm size pixels and resolution of 46 kilopixel, developed by Sony Depthsensing Solutions. It also has one vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) for the flood illuminator, coming from a major supplier. This is the first ToF imager found on the market featuring BSI technology, which is commonly used by Sony, coupled with Current Assisted Photonic Demo-dulation (CPAD) developed by Sony Depthsensing Solutions.
"

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Entropix Cloud Processing to Improve Moto Z2 Dual Camera Resolution to 100MP

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BusinessWire: Entropix announces that it is collaborating with Lenovo to explore the potential of Lenovo’s dual sensor smartphone with Entropix cloud Resolution Engine and computer vision management system to develop an end-to-end hyper-accurate visual classification and recognition platform for a multitude of potential applications including enterprise security, retail, logistics and supply chain.

This collaboration with Lenovo’s Intelligent Devices Group will allow Entropix to provide a dual sensor edge visual capture system containing the benefits of a topline smartphone, with an open edge analytics SDK,” said Nathan Wheeler, CEO of Entropix. “When connected to Entropix enterprise visual and meta management software and cloud Resolution Engine, our customers can achieve recognition and classification accuracy at up to 100MP resolution on an easily deployable 4G and 5G scale.

The collaboration will feature:
  • moto z2 force smartphone with modified OS, dual 12MP color/monochrome camera
  • Qualcomm Neural Processing SDK for TensorFlow edge detection analytics
  • Entropix smartphone dual sensor computer vision image capture application
  • Entropix Resolution on Demand GPU cloud software service in Lenovo’s AI Innovation Center for processing resolutions up to 100MP for accurate classification systems
  • Enterprise visual and meta management system with SDK/API for easy application integration and enterprise deployment options

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ResearchInChina on Automotive Vision Market

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ResearchInChina publishes "ADAS and Autonomous Driving Industry Chain Report 2018-2019 -- Automotive Vision" report. Few quotes:

"Driver monitoring systems (DMS) is largely needed by commercial vehicle ADAS and will be a standard configuration for future L3 passenger cars. Half of vision-based ADAS companies are developing DMS, including EyeSight, Shenzhen Autocruis Technology Co., Ltd., Roadefend Vision Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., Whetron Electronics Co., Ltd., Wuhan JIMU Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd., Minieye, Beijing Smarter Eye Technology Co., Ltd. and Black Sesame Technologies.

Continental AG rolled out MFC500, a fifth-generation automotive camera capable of night vision.

In 2018 Denso developed a new vision sensor which improves vehicle’s night vision by using a solid-state imaging device and unique lenses specifically designed for low-light conditions.

In 2018 Israel-based Foresight unveiled its QuadSight quad-camera vision system. Using four-camera technology that combines two pairs of stereoscopic infrared and visible-light cameras, the system is designed to achieve near 100% obstacle detection with near zero false alerts in any weather or light conditions (including complete darkness, rain, haze, fog and glare).

3D sensing is now one of the key development orientations of camera technology.

AMS and Sunny Optical announced in November 2017 a joint plan to develop 3D sensing solutions for mobile devices and automotive application.

ZF is developing a kind of three-dimension interior observation system (3D IOS) that can detect occupants in a car and classify them to ascertain their sizes and positions as well as whether the occupant is manipulating the car willingly or monitoring the autonomous driving system.

Magna and Renesas collaborate in fusion of Magna’s eyeris 3D surround-view camera system with the latter’s SoC (system-on-a-chip) to develop a more cost-effective 3D surround-view system especially for entry-level and mid-range cars.

In 2018, the OEM installations of cameras (inclusive of front view, rear view, side view, interior view, surround view, driving recorder camera, among others.) to passenger car reached 20.584 million units with a year-on-year surge of 14.9%, of which front camera soared 28% YoY, surround-view camera shot up by 30.1% YoY, and stereo camera skyrocketed 170.3% YoY.
"

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Anitoa Super-Sensitive Sensor Enables Compact Gene Sequencing q-PCR Machine

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PRNewswire: Anitoa announces the Android mobile apps for its Maverick family of 4-channel qPCR system that can test 4 nucleic acid targets simultaneously in one sample, and up-to 64 genetic tests simultaneously in a 16-well model. When the Maverick qPCR system is connected to an Android smartphone or tablet through USB or Bluetooth, the Android mobile apps automatically detects and performs genetic tests for users who can benefit from getting actionable results within 30 minutes.

Maverick qPCR is light-weight, portable and lower cost, thanks to its proprietary and industry's most sensitive ultra-low light CMOS bio-optical sensor capable of 3e-6 lux low-light detection. The entire device weighs between 950g to 1.5Kg for 4/8/16-well models.

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Recent Image Sensing Awards

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ON Semi receives a 2018 China IoT Best Innovative Product Award for its AR0430 CMOS sensor for its innovative design and rich feature set at this year’s IoT Star Awards organized by China IoT Industry Application Alliance.

The AR0430 delivers leading power consumption and scales with frame rate so users can have operational modes that produce 4MP images at less than 8 mW of power consumption. The AR0430 also incorporates proprietary Super Depth technology, comprising a CFA, advanced algorithm and micro-lens, providing a depth map of the area 1 meter in front of the image sensor. This depth map enables a range of IoT applications, such as gesture recognition and 3D models for AR/VR user experiences.

When operating in normal mode, the sensor generates a 4 MP data stream at 30 fps and requires just 110 mW of power. It also supports 120 fps output for slow motion mode yet consumes as little as 8 mW in monitoring mode.

Commenting on the award, Gianluca Colli, VP and GM, Consumer Solution Division of Image Sensor Group, ON Semiconductor said: “Our AR0430 is truly an innovative image sensor and stands out as an enabling technology for IoT applications. For that to be recognized and receive a Star of IoT Award, is a great honor. We will continue to develop innovative products and solutions to help our customers meet their challenges as well as contributing to drive the IoT industry.

Omnivision receives 3DInCites Device Manufacturer and Device of the Year Award with its next-generation OS02C10 Image Sensor for facial recognition in security cameras with artificial intelligence:

"Our new OS02C10 image sensor combines our breakthrough ultra low light (ULL) and industry-leading Nyxel™ near-infrared (NIR) technologies for the industry’s best nighttime camera performance, enabling designers to integrate facial-recognition AI in all lighting conditions.

Our Nyxel NIR technology infuses the OS02C10 with quantum efficiency (QE) of 60% at 850nm and 40% at 940nm, which is 2x to 4x better than the competition. This enables the use of less IR light in total darkness, resulting in an estimated 3x lower power consumption.

The OS02C10 also has a superior low-noise design for better ULL performance, achieving an SNR1 of 0.16 lux while producing 1080p HD images. Our proprietary dual-conversion-gain technology provides the industry’s best ULL performance, while the 3-frame staggered shutter minimizes motion artifacts and enables a 120dB high dynamic range.
"

Omnivision, Panasonic, GigaJot, and Eduardo Charbon (EPFL and TUDelft) win 2019 Image Sensor Europe Awards:

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Sony 7.42MP Automotive Sensors with RCCC and RCCB CFA

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Sony publishes an updated flyer of its 7.42MP automotive HDR image sensors IMX324 and IMX424 featuring RCCC and RCCB color filters, respectively:

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Hamamatsu ToF Sensor Use Cases

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Hamamatsu publishes a couple of videos on its ToF sensors use cases:



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Espros on ToF Sensing Know-How and QE Comparison with Sony, Melexis

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Espros March 2019 Newsletter (not on their site yet but should appear soon) shares its CEO Beat De Coi thoughts on ToF imaging education:

"Did you know that the implementation of a TOF or LiDAR system needs professional competence in nine engineering majors? To me, that's the reason that probably nine out of ten TOF projects crash. At least this is my gut-feeling.

Some of the projects fail right at the beginning, which is good since the investment was limited. Others fail after years of trial and error engineering. Either way it is difficult to accept given the frustration and unrealistic expectations.

Remark: The University of Applied Sciences HTW in Chur/Switzerland offers a Bachelor of Science in Photonics since 2016. An important part of the lectures is TOF theory, implementation and application.
"

The Newsletter also compares Espros ToF pixels with Sony and Melexis competition:

"Competitor imagers have a 10μm pixel pitch whereas our epc611, 635 and 660 imager feature a 20μm pixel. The sensitivity is proportional to the pixel area which is 400μm2 in an ESPROS TOF imager, whereas it is just 100μm2 in the competitor devices. Smaller pixel pitch results in higher spatial resolution but at the cost of sensitivity which is more important in real world applications. All in all, the achievable operating range with the same illumination power is significantly higher with ESPROS TOF imagers."

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Canon Global Shutter Pixel with Dual Memory

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Japanese Journal of Applied Physics publishes Canon paper "A 3.4 μm pixel pitch global shutter CMOS image sensor with dual in-pixel charge domain memory" by Masahiro Kobayashi, Hiroshi Sekine, Takafumi Miki, Takashi Muto, Toshiki Tsuboi, Yusuke Onuki, Yasushi Matsuno, Hidekazu Takahashi, Takeshi Ichikawa, and Shunsuke Inoue.

"In this paper, we describe a newly developed 3.4 μm pixel pitch global shutter CMOS image sensor (CIS) with dual in-pixel charge domain memories (CDMEMs) has about 5.3 M effective pixels and achieves 19 ke− full well capacity, 30 ke−/lxcenterdots sensitivity, 2.8 e- rms temporal noise, and −83 dB parasitic light sensitivity. In particular, we describe the sensor structure for improving the sensitivity and detail of the readout procedure. Furthermore, this image sensor realizes various readout with dual CDMEMs. For example, an alternate multiple-accumulation high dynamic range readout procedure achieves 60 fps operation and over 110 dB dynamic range in one-frame operation and is suitable in particular for moving object capturing. This front-side-illuminated CIS is fabricated in a 130 nm 1P4M with light shield CMOS process."

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Counterpoint on Corephotonics Acquisition by Samsung

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Counterpoint Research publishes its analysis of Corephotonics acquisition by Samsung:

"We expect Samsung to use Corephotonics as a Strategic Business Unit (SBU) rather than purely as a captive supplier of R&D for its own smartphones.

Samsung doesn’t have a good track record managing its acquisitions. It will likely keep Corephotonics somewhat independent like Bixby, but with the risk of losing core talent. If that happens Corephotonics will likely lose its competitive edge in as little as 12 months.
"

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Teledyne e2v Announces 5MP GS Sensor

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GlobeNewswire: Teledyne e2v announces the expansion of its Emerald family of CMOS image sensors with a new 5MP device. The Emerald 5M is designed for machine vision, Automated Optical Inspection (AOI), and factory automation applications. Available in both monochrome and color, this sensor has a small 1/1.8 inch optical format, containing a 2.8 μm global shutter pixel, and can stream video at 50 fps at 10 bits, over a 4 wire, MIPI CSI-2 interface.

Samples are available in Q1 2019.

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Reflected Laser Light Causes Damage to Image Sensor

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Reddit: We have seen image sensor damage from a direct laser beam hit, but it turns out that a diffusely reflected laser light can cause damage too. In this short video, a tattoo removal laser cases multiple spot damage to Sony A7SII full-frame sensor:



Via: SonyAlphaRumors, DPReview

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Qualcomm ISPs Support up to 192MP Image Sensor Resolution

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XDA Developers: Qualcomm has updated the specs of its Spectra 250, 280, and 380 ISPs in its Snapdragon 855, 845, 710, 675, and 670 SoCs. The new specs state that they all support 192MP image sensors, Multi-Frame Noise Reduction (MFNR), and Zero Shutter Lag (ZSL):

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Thesis on Mechanical Stress Influence on Image Sensors

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As somebody mentioned in comments to the curved sensor post, University of Duisburg-Essen published 2014 PhD Thesis "Photodiodes and Image Sensors on Mechanically Flexible
Ultra-Thin Silicon Chips-in-Foil
" by Georgios Dogiamis. However, the experimental results on stress influence on dark current shows very little influence, much smaller than what Marseilles University group has measured:

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2-sided Lensless Sensor

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It still remains to be seen whether lensless image sensors are able to find a market beyond the under-display fingerprint applications. Meanwhile, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Shuzuoka University propose a 2-sided version of lensless imager in a Preprint paper "Super Field-of-View Lensless Camera by Coded Image Sensors" by Tomoya Nakamura, Keiichiro Kagawa, Shiho Torashima, Masahiro Yamaguchi.

"A lensless camera is an ultra-thin computational-imaging system. Existing lensless cameras are based on the axial arrangement of an image sensor and a coding mask, and therefore, the back side of the image sensor cannot be captured. In this paper, we propose a lensless camera with a novel design that can capture the front and back sides simultaneously. The proposed camera is composed of multiple coded image sensors, which are complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor~(CMOS) image sensors in which air holes are randomly made at some pixels by drilling processing. When the sensors are placed facing each other, the object-side sensor works as a coding mask and the other works as a sparsified image sensor. The captured image is a sparse coded image, which can be decoded computationally by using compressive-sensing-based image reconstruction. We verified the feasibility of the proposed lensless camera by simulations and experiments. The proposed thin lensless camera realizes super field-of-view imaging without lenses or coding masks, and therefore can be used for rich information sensing in confined spaces. This work also suggests a new direction in the design of CMOS image sensors in the era of computational imaging."

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Silicon Valley LiDAR Companies

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Silicon Valley Business Journal publishes a gallery of local LiDAR companies CEOs together with the company's data:

"Seven venture-backed startups from the Bay Area are among the more than 70 companies working on automotive lidar today. Two of them have the highest valuations in the world, according to PitchBook Data and others."

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Sony Unveils 1-inch Sensor for 360 deg Cameras

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Sony 9MP IMX533 sensor has 1:1 aspect ratio for the emerging market of 360 deg consumer cameras and camcorders. The new device features 3.76um BSI pixel for wider CRA of fish-eye lenses, 14b ADC, and is fairly fast to be useful in a video camera:


Update: It appears that Sony has already announced IMX533 sensor 1.5 year ago. Not sure why it's marked as new announcement and "preliminary info" at Sony site.

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