Friday, May 29, 2015

Apple Acquires Metaio

Techcrunch reports that Apple has apparently acquired a German AR company Metaio. The company has a number of AR projects, one of them being Thermal Touch covered in this blog a year ago. Another interesting project out of many was an AR application for camera-equipped smart watch (Youtube link):

Target and Carrefour Test VLC

Electronics360: Carrefour SA, the largest retailer in Europe, is experimenting with visible light communications, becoming the first major retailer to install Philips’ connected lighting system with LED-based indoor positioning at its newly refurbished supermarket in Lille, France. The Carrefour news comes about a month after it was reported that U.S. retailer Target will use indoor positioning, widely believed to be VLC-based, to power its in-store app to help customers navigate its stores.

The Carrefour supermarket system has 800 LED fixtures that use Philips VLC technology to transmit location. Philips software and cloud-based location database are integrated into Carrefour’s mobile app.

Update: Philips posted infographics of how it works:

Philips also posted a Youtube video showing its Carrefour trial:

We are leading the way with connected lighting for retail with Carrefour,” comments Gerben van der Lugt, Head of LED-based indoor positioning at Philips Lighting. “Our connected lighting system has the potential to transform shopping into a more interactive and personalized experience. At the same time it will enable retailers to differentiate themselves, enhance customer loyalty and provide new services to shoppers.

Omnivision Reports Quarterly and Yearly Results

PRNewswire: Omnivision reports quarterly results for its fiscal quarter ended on April 30, 2015.

Revenues for the fiscal year ended April 30, 2015 were $1.4 billion, as compared to $1.5 billion in fiscal 2014. GAAP net income for fiscal 2015 was $93.4 million, as compared to $95.0 million a year ago.

Revenues for the last quarter were $285.9 million, as compared to $292.3 million in the previous quarter, and $331.0 million a year ago. GAAP net income in the last quarter was $6.0 million, as compared to net income of $14.0 million in the previous quarter, and $15.1 million a year ago. GAAP gross margin for the last quarter was 22.4%, as compared to 22.1% for the previous quarter and 20.1% a year ago. The Company ended the period with cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaling $524.2 million, an increase of $11.4 million from the previous quarter.

Based on current trends, the Company expects revenues for the next quarter will be in the range of $310 million to $340 million.

SeekingAlpha publishes a trascript of Omnivision's earnings call. There was no Q&A session for some reason. Shaw Hong, Chairman and CEO, says on the acquisition news: "by partnering with the consortium and operating as a private company, we will have more flexibility to innovate and develop new solutions for our customers, which will benefit our employees, customers and business partners. We expect the transaction will close within the next nine to 12 months.

As of today, we have not obtained all the necessary approval, nor have we met the closing conditions. As such, there's no assurance that the proposed acquisition by the consortium will close.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Google Presents VR Shooting Setup with 16 Cameras

Google presents 16-GoPro-cameras JUMP setup for shooting VR video at its I/O conference:

Cnet video shows how it works:

Pelican Imaging Expands into Array of Different Cameras

Up to now, Pelican Imaging camera components in the array had the same FOV and viewing direction. Its new patent application US20150146029 "Array Camera Configurations Incorporating Multiple Constituent Array Cameras" by Kartik Venkataraman and Jacques Duparré, presents integration of "a plurality of constituent array cameras, where each constituent array camera has a distinct field of view and/or a distinct viewing direction." The main advantage of that is implementation of zoom feature:

Now it becomes fairly similar to Corephotonics and Linx Imaging proposals.

Ximea on Hyperspectral Imaging

German machine vision camera vendor Ximea CEO Max Larin discusses hyperspectral imagers approaches and applications in this Youtube video:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sony 2015 IR Day

Sony has held a 2015 Investor Relations Day today. Device Segment presentation by Tomoyuki Suzuki, Executive Deputy President and Corporate Executive Officer responsible for the Device business, has a lot of info on Sony image sensor business:

Samsung Presents 1um RWB Pixels

PhoneArena quotes Chinese-language posting pictures from Samsung image sensor seminar. Samsung presents its 1um RWB color patterned sensors, said to provide much better low light sensitivity:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Canon vs IV Patent Arguments

Delaware Intellectual Property Litigation publishes a detailed document on trial where Intellectual Ventures accuses Canon in patent infringement, including two image sensor patents: US6,221,686 "Method of making a semiconductor image sensor" and US6,023,081 "Semiconductor image sensor." Canon has lost the battle, in spite of Eric Fossum and Albert Theuwissen trying to defend it, see pp. 11-19 in the document.

Hamamatsu Image Sensor Sales

Hamamatsu reports its quarterly results, including image sensor sales: