Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rumor: iPhone X to Feature Gesture Recognition, Optical Fingerprint Sensor

Mashable, Apple Insider, and Business Insider quote Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri claiming that Apple iPhone X, to be released this fall, is "to include some form of facial/gesture recognition supported by a new laser sensor and an infrared sensor mounted near the front-facing camera."

The iPhone X is said to feature a fingerprint sensor hidden under the OLED screen. "Apple may switch to Synaptec's optical-based fingerprint reader for the new Touch ID sensor, citing it as "currently the only workable solution" for detecting a fingerprint through a smartphone screen."

Just released Yole Developpement report "Fingerprint Sensor Applications and Technologies – Consumer Market Focus" too points to the optical sensing as one of contenders for under the screen fingreprint devices:


Thanks to AM for the link!

Forza on CIS Trends

Semiconductor Packaging News posts Forza Silicon President Barmak Mansoorian view on the image sensor market trends:

"This year we celebrate Forza Silicon's 16th anniversary in the business of delivering innovative custom CMOS image sensor (CIS) and IC design solutions.

Technological advancements in devices and architectures are still remarkable in the CIS marketplace. Stacked sensor design technology was once a new concept and is now a viable option in high volume applications.

Forza has been working on stacked CIS for several years and we believe it will dominate advances in the CIS marketplace for the next 3-5 years. While stacking has its challenges, Forza is developing custom stacking flows involving intelligent design choices and good product engineering to help our customers take advantage of enhanced technology options.

Additionally, while the cellphone camera has taken center stage with its upgrades we expect a strong response from the DSLR/digital still camera with high-speed 4K video and higher dynamic range. Its performance might also challenge the incumbents in the digital cinema and broadcast markets.

Lastly, as more devices get connected everyday, the Internet of Things (IoT) will remain an important application for the growing network of sensors. At Forza, we continue to look at ways to leverage the stacked chip technology for our customers while still focusing on power, pixel performance, yield, noise and other specific application requirements.
"

Panasonic Aims to Supply Organic Image Sensor to Tesla

Reuters: Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga said in an interview that the company would like to adapt its organic photoconductive film CMOS sensors for automotive applications as they can capture high-speed moving objects without distortion. Panasonic believes that these sensors are a good fit for Tesla cars.

Light Co. Talks about L16 Camera Internals

Light Co. posts an update on the progress to mass production of its L16 multi-aperture camera, giving some details on its internal design:

"The ASIC is the “brain” of the camera and is what we use to control all of the L16’s camera modules. Consider that your traditional (non-computational) camera only has to control a single lens and a single sensor as you compose, focus, adjust and capture. The L16 requires simultaneous control of at least 10 discrete cameras (lens barrels, sensors, mirrors, etc.). Needless to say this requires an extremely advanced “brain,” which is why we designed a highly advanced ASIC specifically for this purpose.

There are 3 ASIC’s in each L16 Camera, each made using industry leading semiconductor processes. Each ASIC is comprised of a 533 MHz processor with multiple levels of internal caches and has up to 4GB of DDR memory support. Light has devised a proprietary MIPI data handling mechanism to be very power efficient. In fact, Light’s ASIC has more MIPI camera interfaces than any leading media or application processor in the semiconductor industry. In addition, each ASIC is loaded with Light’s exclusive lens, mirror, and sensor controls that enable the L16 to work its magic. The development of this chip marks major breakthrough and required an enormous amount of effort from the Light team.
"

Melexis Announces ToF Chipset and Evaluation Kit

Melexis announces a chipset and its evaluation kit for ToF 3D vision. Representing a complete ToF sensor and control solution, the chipset supports QVGA resolution and offers unsurpassed sunlight robustness and up to -40°C to +105°C temperature range operation, so that designers can test this automotive-qualified chipset.

The Melexis chipset includes MLX75023 1/3-inch optical format ToF sensor and the MLX75123, a companion IC that controls the sensor and illumination unit and delivers data to a host processor. The EVK75123 QVGA evaluation kit combines a sensor board featuring the chipset, an 12-LED illumination module, an interface board and a processor module:


The MLX75023 sensor has QVGA resolution and background light rejection capabilities of up to 120klux. This IC can provide raw data output in less than 1.5 ms, giving it capacity to track rapid movement.

Melexis also publishes a Youtube video with their ToF system demo:

Technavio Market Report

BusinessWire: Technavio publishes a report on global optoelectronics market, expected to grow at a CAGR of close to 17% over 2017-2021. Technavio compares image sensor market size with other optoelectronic components:


In some parts, Technavio report looks like coming from a time capsule from 15 years ago:

"CCD image sensors were the first high-quality image sensors, which were initially used in cameras. They are being replaced by CMOS sensors gradually in every application. Though CCD sensor is superior in factors like light sensitivity, quality, and noise, CMOS image sensors have low power consumption and low manufacturing cost, leading to their increased adoption. So, in the future, CCD sensors are likely to be replaced entirely by CMOS sensors.

The growing advances in the image sensors are attributed to their increasing implementation in several imaging devices such as camera modules for consumer electronic devices and digital cameras.
"

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

TSMC RTS Noise Research

TSMC publishes an open source paper "CMOS Image Sensor Random Telegraph Noise Time Constant Extraction From Correlated To Uncorrelated Double Sampling" by Calvin Yi-Ping Chao, Honyih Tu, Thomas Wu, Kuo-Yu Chou, Shang-Fu Yeh, and Fu-Lung Hsueh in IEEE Journal of the Electron Devices Society, Jan. 2017 issue.

Abstract:

A new method for on-chip random telegraph noise (RTN) characteristic time constant extraction using the double sampling circuit in an 8.3 Mpixel CMOS image sensor is described. The dependence of the measured RTN on the time difference between the double sampling and the key equation used for time constant extraction are derived from the continuous time RTN model and the discrete event RTN model. Both approaches lead to the same result and describe the data reasonably well. From the detailed study of the noisiest 1000 pixels, we find that about 75% to 85% of them show the signature of a single-trap RTN behavior with three distinct signal levels, and about 96% of the characteristic time constants fall between 1 μs and 500 μs with the median around 10 μs at room temperature.

AltaSens Announcement

AltaSens website posted an official JVC-Kenwood announcement:

"Dear Valued Customer:

Please be advised that, in connection with restructuring our business strategy concerning CMOS sensors at our wholly-owned subsidiary AltaSens, Inc. (California, USA), we have made changes to our management team at AltaSens, Inc. as well as changes to our strategy for operations in the United States.

With respect to our current product offerings (AL41410C, AL-CM460), as well as products that are still under warranty, JVC KENWOOD will support AltaSens in honoring its commitments.

We appreciate your continued patronage.

JVC KENWOOD Corporation
"

Thanks to SD for the link!

Image Sensor Auto 2017 Confirmed Speakers

Image Sensor Auto event to be held in Dusseldorf, Germany, on April 24-26, 2017 publishes a list of confirmed speakers:
  • Jens Benndorf
    COO, Managing Director
    DreamChip Technologies GmbH
  • Judd Heape
    Senior Director, Imaging and Vision Group
    ARM
  • Carl Jackson
    CTO and Founder
    SensL
  • Marco Jacobs
    VP of Marketing
    Videantis
  • Akhilesh Kona
    Senior Analyst, Automotive Electronics & Semiconductor
    IHS Markit Technology
  • Frédéric Large
    Research and Advanced Engineering Department, Vision Systems and ADAS Applications
    PSA Group
  • Gregory Roffet
    Camera System Expert
    STMicroelectronics
  • Igor Tryndin
    Camera Architect
    NVIDIA
  • Senthil Yogamani
    Technical Lead
    Valeo Vision Systems
  • Young-Jun Yoo
    Head of Strategic Planning for R&D
    Nextchip