Wednesday, June 28, 2017

IC Insights Forecasts Nonstop Image Sensor Sales Records Through 2021

IC Insights report says "CMOS image sensor sales are on pace to reach a seventh straight record high this year and nothing ahead should stop this semiconductor product category from breaking more annual records through 2021.

After rising 9% in 2017 to about $11.5 billion, worldwide CMOS image sensors sales are expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7% to $15.9 billion in 2021 from the current record high of $10.5 billion set in 2016, based on the five-year forecast.

Automotive systems are forecast to be the fastest growing application for CMOS image sensors, rising by a CAGR of 48% to $2.3 billion in 2021 or 14% of the market’s total sales that year. CMOS image sensor sales for cameras in cellphones are forecast to grow by a CAGR of just 2% to $7.6 billion in 2021, or about 47% of the market total versus 67% in 2016 ($7.0 billion). Smartphone applications are getting a lift from dual-camera systems that enable a new depth-of-field effect (known as “bokeh”).

Competition among CMOS image sensor suppliers is heating up for new three-dimensional sensing capability using time-of-flight (ToF) technology and other techniques for 3D imaging and distance measurements... CMOS technology has progressed to the point of supporting integration of ToF functions into small chip modules and potentially down to a single die. Sony, Samsung, OmniVision, ON Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics, and others have rolled out and developed 3D image sensors. Infineon has also jumped into the image sensor arena with a 3D offering that is built in ToF-optimized CMOS technology.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sony Integrates ToF-based Face Recognition in Xperia Smartphone

Techcrunch reports that Sony is to demo an integrated Softkinetic ToF camera inside Xperia smartphone paired with KeyLemon software for "3D face recognition system that could let users authenticate themselves with one photo." Softkinetic PR partially confirms this info.

Imatest on Challenges in Automotive Image Quality

Imatest publishes Norman Koren presentation "Challenges in Automotive Image Quality" presented in Autosens Detroit in May:

Thrown Camera Imaging

Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory of Tokyo University shows how throwing a high-speed camera up can be useful to create images from unique points of view:

e2v 2.8um GS Pixel & Sensor Presentation

e2v publishes a presentation of its new Emerald image sensor featuring 2.8um global shutter pixels. Few slides from the presentation:

Omnivision Announces Dual Camera Set, Single Camera Sensors

PRNewswire: Omnivision's OV13A10 and OV13A1Q is a pair of 13MP stacked-die sensors with second-generation PureCel Plus 1.0um pixel. The new sensors are intended for 2x optical zoom to front- and rear-facing cameras in mainstream smartphones. The OV13A10 is a telephoto sensor designed specifically for dual-camera applications with a module z-height of less than 6mm, and features zig-zag HDR (zHDR) and PDAF. A customized chief ray angle (CRA) enables the OV13A10 to be used as a tele-sensor in a 2X optical zoom camera configuration.

PRNewswire: OmniVision also announces the OV16B10, a 16MP stacked image sensor designed for the next generation of flagship smartphones. Built on the second-generation, 1.12um PureCel Plus-S pixel. It includes PDAF and zHDR too. zHDR uses a long and short exposure in a single frame. When compared with traditional frame-based HDR techniques, the zHDR is said to have increased DR with minimum ghosting artifacts.

The OV16B10 has a built-in feature that synchronizes the frames and supports context switching when it is used in dual-camera configurations, supporting image fusion while simplifying camera system architecture. Additionally, the OV16B10 features a gyro interface that reads and synchronizes the motion data from an external gyroscope to enable precise image stabilization for video and still capture.

The new sensors are currently available for sampling and are expected to enter volume production in Q4 2017.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Multi-Resolution Image Sensor Paper

MDPI Sensors starts publishing a Special Issue on Image Sensors. The first paper in this issue is "A Multi-Resolution Mode CMOS Image Sensor with a Novel Two-Step Single-Slope ADC for Intelligent Surveillance Systems" by Daehyeok Kim, Minkyu Song, Byeongseong Choe, and Soo Youn Kim from Dongguk University-Seoul, Korea. Here is the paper's main idea explanation:

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Two Recent Theses

University of Michigan publishes PhD thesis "CMOS Sensors for Time-Resolved Active Imaging" by Jihyun Cho. After a quick overview of image sensor architectures and noise, the thesis describes a single shot FLIM imager and a ToF imager with background light suppression:

Lund and Linköping Universities, Sweden, publish MSc thesis "Demosaicing using a Convolutional Neural Network approach" by Karin Dammer and Ronja Grosz. The main intention of CNN approach is reduction of artifacts:

The results are somewhat mixed: "Using convolutional neural networks is a valid method for demosaicing images with good results and it could replace a method using linear interpolation. Our CNN method outperforms the multilayer perceptron by a difference of 7.14 dB in the peak signal to noise ratio. The convolutional neural network performs well when using L2 and PSNR as loss functions when training the network, however SSIM does not perform as well. Despite the relatively good result the network would benefit from using an error metric that is better at indicating the presence of image artifacts and color errors. The network did not significantly benefit from the residual layer nor a deconvolution layer."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Light Field Sensor on a Chip

Light Field Forum notices a recently published SK Hynix patent application US20170179180 "Light Field Imaging Device and Method for Fabricating the Same" by Jong Eun Kim proposing the integration of the whole light field system in the microlens stack:

New Sony Products

Sony presents 4/3-inch 10.71MP IMX294CJK image sensor for 4K 120fps video and security applications. Thanks to the 4.63 µm large pixel achieves SNR1s of 0.14 lx, and use of a Quad Bayer pixel structure (see Figure 1) is claimed to realize an HDR with no time difference artifacts.

Sony also unveils 1-inch 20.48MP IMX183CLK-J / CQJ-J Monochrome/Color sensor pair. The sensor features 2.4 µm BSI pixel with a proven record in products for security camera and industrial applications.

Sony also announces
2MP, 6MP, and 12MP monochrome sensors for industrial camera applications based on BSI pixels: IMX290LLR, IMX178LLJ and IMX226CLJ.