Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rambus Announces Supply Noise Monitor

Rambus introduces an interesting IP block, the On-chip Noise Monitor, potentially useful for debugging the on-chip noise problems. The monitor is available in TSMC 40G/LP and GF28HPP/SLP processes and have a noise resolution on 200uV/LSB in bandwidth up to 3-6GHz. LabStation software enables fully automated measurements, post-processing, and data visualization, including noise spectrum:

A short Youtube video demos the system:

Omnivision to Benefit from Selfie Trend

Barron's: Rosenblatt Securities‘s analyst Brian Blair forecasts:

"We believe the most critical trend for OmniVision’s business this year is what we are calling the selfie trend. The basic idea is that front facing cameras on smartphones have generally been VGA – 1MP over the last 5 years. We believe that this is shifting in 2015 to 5MP — 13MP sensors for front-facing cameras. We expect to initially see this at the high end of the market, but we anticipate the trend will quickly filter into mid-tier models as well. We recently saw evidence of this trend at CES with a few models that had 5MP – 13MP front facing cameras (from Samsung and HTC notably) and we expect MWC in early March to showcase numerous additional models. This trend is critical, as it meaningfully lifts dollar content per handset and raises overall ASPs/ revenues, and provides a bump to gross margins as well."

Friday, January 30, 2015

Intel Releases More Details on its F200 RealSense Camera

Intel publishes more info on its F200 structured light front camera.

RealSense F200 camera

The IR Laser Projector emits a structured pattern of Class 1 infrared light used to determine the dimensional characteristics of objects by the depth camera:

Laser projected structured light patterns are quite unusual

Intel explains that the right (green) pattern is, in fact, changing at fast speed, so that if one makes a picture of it at 1/30s exposure, it blurs into the left (gray) pattern. EETimes says that the projector emits 16 different patterns.

A Youtube video talks about the camera capabilities:

ON Semi Videos

ON Semiconductor publishes a series of short videos showing its image sensor solutions:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yole Updates CMOS Sensor Market Report

Yole Developpment releases an update to its CMOS sensor report with the new market data:

"Driven by mobile and automotive applications, the CIS industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.6% from 2014 - 2020, reaching a market value of US$16.2B by 2020."

"Automotive is the big story this year, as car manufacturers like Tesla, Nissan and Ford are showing off their first camera-enabled features. Market traction is particularly impressive, with most CIS players enjoying growth rates of 30% - 50%. But this is only the beginning, with most CIS players looking at this market, total revenue should reach US$800M in 2020 – for CIS sensors only. Automotive’s emerging importance promises profound implications for the CIS ecosystem. As CIS moves from a “for display” application towards a “for sensing” application, new players such as processor and software providers will become key partners for sensor design and marketing."

"Since 2010, Yole Développment has well documented the rise of back side illumination (BSI), which has now become a mainstream technology that’s captured more than 50% of CIS production... Size constraints in mobile have pushed 3D stacking BSI, which currently has 20% of the market."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Samsung Technology Interests

Samsung has held Innovation Days on Jan. 19-21, 2015 in Dresden, Germany. The event was envisioned to be the "focal point for the purchase of innovative technologies in Europe." The list of the technologies that Samsung interested in is dominated by imaging items:

New technologies & innovations for wearable devices:
  • New user scenarios
  • Next generation User Experience (UX)
  • Low power components

New technology for camera products:
  • Auto focus / MEMS actuator
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • Active Lens technology
  • Actuators
  • High efficiency IR sensing image sensor

New material technology:
  • Transparent barrier / film
  • NIM (Nano Insulation Material) Organic
  • Heating surface
  • Material transmitting IR rays
  • Sapphire coating
  • 5 axis CNC
  • Technology for waterproofing / water repelling

MEMS Sensors:
  • Touch Sensor, Dust or particle, Fingerprint, Force, Reed, GSR Sensors
  • Ambient light / RGB Sensor
  • Gesture: Optical proximity sensor / 3D time of flight -TOF
  • Inertial Sensors: Accelerometers, Gyroscopes, Pressure sensor, Humidity sensor & Magnetometer
  • Vital Sign Sensors (for healthcare devices): non-contact, non-invasive, motion cancelling, low power

  • Fibre detection (cloth)
  • Thermopile Sensors: Non-contact temperature sensing
  • ToF = Time of Flight (measuring distance / length): non-contact distance measuring sensor
  • PIR / TIR Bolometer (IR) Sensor
  • Pressure
  • Temperature / humidity
  • Ultrasound sensor
  • Flex Sensor
  • Radon sensor
  • Non contact sleep detection sensor

Grand View Research on CMOS Sensor Dominance

Grand View Research report "Image Sensors Market Analysis By Technology (CCD, CMOS, CIS), By Application (Automotive, Consumer Electronics, Defense & Aerospace, Industrial, Medical, Surveillance) And Segment Forecasts To 2020" dated by Aug. 2014 shows that CCD market share shrunk to 14.5% in 2012:

CIS is Contact Image Sensor here

The global market was valued at $8,450M in 2012, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.6% from 2014 to 2020.

ST SPAD Array Captures Light in Flight

ST 32x32 SPAD array developed under EU funded FP6 project Megaframe with University of Edinburgh and partners is the basis of Heriot-Watt University 20 billion fps-fast camera. The open access Nature Communications' paper "Single-photon sensitive light-in-fight imaging" by Genevieve Gariepy, Nikola Krstajić, Robert Henderson, Chunyong Li, Robert Thomson, Gerald Buller, Barmak Heshmat, Ramesh Raskar, Jonathan Leach & Daniele Faccio.

A laser pulse is reflecting off multiple mirrors, passing three times
across the field of view of the SPAD camera (35 35 cm2).
The same laser is used to create a trigger sent to the camera.
The SPAD camera collects scattered photons from the laser pulse.
The field of view does not contain the mirrors because the
scattered light coming from the mirror surfaces is much more
intense than the Rayleigh-scattered light during propagation.
The histogram indicates the time of arrival of the laser pulse as
measured by pixel (22, 21). The time frames, shown at 0, 1, 2, 3
and 4 ns, show the evolution of the pulse in time as it propagates
across the scene. The integration of all frames gives the total
path followed by the light, similarly to what can be acquired
by an EMCCD camera at maximum gain for an exposure time of 7 s.

A Youtube video shows the light propagation process:

New Scientist too publishes an article on the new camera.

Thanks to LG for the link!

2nd International Symposium on Microoptical Imaging and Projection

2nd International Symposium on Microoptical Imaging and Projection (MIPS 2015) id to be held on March 24-26, 2015 in Jena, Germany. The symposium's call for papers mentions many invited speakers on image sensor technology:
  • Bernd Buxbaum, pmdtechnologies gmbh
  • Jacques Duparré, Pelican Imaging Corp.
  • Tigran Galstian, Université Laval
  • Flavien Hirigoyen, ST Microelectronics SA
  • Ryoichi Horisaki, Osaka University
  • Bernard Kress, Google [X] Labs
  • Christian Perwaß, Raytrix GmbH
  • Markus Rossi. Heptagon
  • Sabine Süßtrunk, EPFL, IC-IVRG
Thanks to AT for the link!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Camera-Based Random Number Generator

The paper on camera-based random number generator has been published half a year ago. Now the same group of researches from University of Geneve, Switzerland publishes their deck of slides "Quantum random number generation on a mobile phone" by Bruno Sanguinetti, Anthony Martin, Hugo Zbinden, and Nicolas Gisin.

And here is Youtube video of the presentation: