Saturday, August 01, 2015

Invisage in AlwaysOn Global 100 List

Invision reports that it been selected as one of the 2015 AlwaysON Global 100 Companies to Watch. "The award recognizes private startups at the forefront of technological innovation that also demonstrate sound business strategies."

Omnivision Adds PDAF to its 13MP RGBW Sensor

PRNewswire: OmniVision announces the OV13853, a 13MP PureCel image sensor based on 1.12um pixel with phase detection autofocus (PDAF). The OV13853 fits into a compact 8.5 mm x 8.5 mm module with a z-height of less than 5 mm. The sensor is currently in volume production.

"The mobile device ecosystem has progressed vastly, and we believe that DSLR features such as PDAF can now potentially be in play even for the mainstream smartphone segment. In light of this, we are announcing today our first 13-megapixel sensor with special phase detection pixels to support PDAF for this segment," said Badri Padmanabhan, product marketing manager at OmniVision. "The OV13853 enables PDAF and is a pin-to-pin compatible upgrade from our previous 13-megapixel sensor. The OV13853 can thus be easily integrated into mainstream smartphone designs, which can dramatically shorten lead time to production."

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hutchinson Introduces SMA OIS Actuator

GlobeNewsWire: Hutchinson expects to begin shipping prototypes of a new Cambridge Mechatronics' Shape Memory Alloy Optical Image Stabilization (SMA OIS) actuator to tier 1 camera module manufacturers in early August. The new Gemini product was designed in response to customer requests for reduced OIS camera thickness. Gemini is said to reduce SMA OIS actuator thickness by more than 70%, to enable the world's slimmest OIS smartphone cameras. Gemini is expected to be ready for volume production in Q4 2015.

Building on the value users place on "selfie" photos, Hutchinson Technology is also developing SMA OIS designs to improve front-facing camera image quality. Front-facing SMA OIS samples are also expected to be available in Q4 2015.

Meanwhile, the UK-based Cambridge Mechatronics that has licensed its technology to Hutchinson reports that its smart metal OIS camera was launched in InFocus M530 smartphone in India.

Omnivision Presents New VGA Sensors

PRNewswire: OmniVision announces the cost-optimized and power-efficient OVM7699 CameraCubeChip and OV7699 CameraChip based on 1.75um OmniBSI+ pixel. The 1/13-inch OVM7699 and OV7699 are said to have the industry's smallest footprint and intended for a wide range of applications, including feature phones, mainstream smartphones, notebooks, wearables and IoT devices, among others.

The OVM7699 comes in a 2.1 mm x 2.1 mm CameraCubeChip™ module with a z-height of approximately 2.3 mm, while the OV7699 comes in a 2.03 mm x 2.08 mm CSP. Both the OVM7699 and the OV7699 are currently available for sampling, and are expected to enter volume production in Q1 2016.

ON Semi Announces Automotive ISPs

BusinessWire: ON Semiconductor introduces a new series of image co-processors for 1080p HDR automotive cameras. Designed to work in conjunction with the company’s 2MP and 1.2MP image sensor devices, the new AP020x series of co-processors enable a range of solutions for automotive rear view and surround view cameras. The new image co-processors all incorporate an HDR color pipeline with adaptive local tone mapping (ALTM).

  • The AP0200AT image co-processor is optimized for rear view cameras and offers Ethernet output. It also includes a spatial transform engine (STE), which enables lens distortion correction and de-warping, as well as a sophisticated overlay graphics engine.
  • The AP0201AT also has Ethernet output and is aimed at Ethernet-based surround view.
  • The AP0202AT is targeted at digital surround view and utilizes a 24-bit parallel output.
  • The AP0102AT is targeted at 1 MP/720p rear view cams, and includes the STE and overlay graphics engine

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Light Closes $25M Series B Financing

Light has raised a $25M Series B round of funding. All of Light existing investors participated in this round, in addition to new investors Formation 8, which led the round, and StepStone. This brings Light’s total funding to around $35M.

The Light camera prototypes are now up and running. The company has doubled the size of its team in the last three months and plans to double it again before the end of the year.

Forbes publishes an article on the Light's financing round:

"The way Light’s camera technology works is by placing multiple cameras on the back of a phone — around 6 or 11 cameras. Light stitches together all those images with its software to come out with high-resolution photos. Depending on how many cameras the phone maker chooses, it can achieve between 32 megapixels and 52 megapixels.

Light’s cameras can also zoom using what’s called folded optics, which is a method of bending light to make the camera’s size requirements more compact. Light can zoom between 70 millimeter and 150mm.

The Light module is paired with a Snapdragon application processor from Qualcomm.

"The build of material costs will be at least $60 for phone makers to add Light’s technology, but [Light CEO] Grannan points out that that’s nothing compared to having to shell out $2,000 for a nice DSLR camera."

"Light expects the first phones to come out with its camera will be in 2016."

Light camera-phone

Toshiba Unveils PDAF-Equipped Sensor Lineup

BusinessWire: After presenting its first image sensor with PDAF 2 weeks ago, Toshiba announces a full lineup of these sensors, all based on 1.12um BSI pixels. The part numbers of the new sensors are same as the previously announced ones, but with -121 suffix to indicate a PDAF-enabled version:

Sample shipments of devices in the series will start in August, and they will be rolled out in turn.

Sony Reports Another Increase in Image Sensor Sales

Sony reports its quarterly results for the quarter ended on June 30, 2015. Few quotes:

"[Sony Devices Segment] Sales increased 35.1% year-on-year (an 18% increase on a constant currency basis) to 237.9 billion yen (1,950 million U.S. dollars). This increase was primarily due to a significant increase in sales of image sensors reflecting higher demand for image sensors for mobile products, the impact of foreign exchange rates, as well as a significant increase in sales of camera modules. Sales to external customers increased 41.2% year-on-year.

Operating income increased 18.8 billion yen year-on-year to 30.3 billion yen (249 million U.S. dollars). This significant increase was primarily due to the impact of the above-mentioned increase in sales of image sensors and the positive impact of foreign exchange rates.

Update: Sony publishes an updated Semiconductor Business Flyer:

Canon Commercializes its ISO 4,000,000 FF Image Sensor

BusinessWire: Canon introduces its first multi-purpose camera, the new ME20F-SH, with exceptionally high sensitivity to capture Full HD video with a minimum subject illumination of less than 0.0005 lux (color, no light accumulation, f/1.2, 30P fps, 50 IRE, at maximum 75 dB gain setting, equivalent to an ISO sensitivity of over 4,000,000). Nighttime surveillance and security, cinematic production, reality television, and nature/wildlife documentaries are just some of the ME20F-SH’s many possible usage applications.

Canon’s new multi-purpose camera employs an enhanced version of the 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor that was originally developed in 2013. The ME20F-SH sensor has pixels measuring 19 μm, said to be more than 5.5 times the surface area of the pixels on the CMOS sensor featured in select top-of-the-line interchangeable lens cameras. Furthermore, the sensor’s pixels and readout circuitry make use of Canon proprietary technologies to achieve both reduced noise and exceptionally high sensitivity on subjects with a minimum illumination of less than 0.0005 lux. This multi-purpose camera allows users to discern subjects under even some of the dimmest lighting conditions, such as environments lit by artificial illumination or under a moonless night sky. Furthermore, similar to Canon’s Cinema EOS System of professional digital cinematography cameras, the ME20F-SH camera includes Canon Log and Wide DR.

ME20F-SH is expected to be available in December 2015 at a suggested retail price of $30,000.

A DSLR comparison picture from Canon Japan site:

Canon plans to make sample images avaliable in Sept 2015 on this link.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nokia OZO Combines Eight Cameras into One

Nokia announces OZO, said to be the first commercially available VR camera designed and built for professional content creators and the first in a planned portfolio of digital media solutions from Nokia Technologies, the company's advanced technology and licensing business. Conceived at the company's R&D facilities in Tampere, Finland, OZO captures stereoscopic 3D video through eight synchronized global shutter sensors and spatial audio through eight integrated microphones.

Verge shows many pictures from the new camera presentation in LA: