Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Coolpad CEO Quantifies Dual Camera Advantages

Coolpad, one of the large China-based smartphone makers that uses 13MP monochrome + 13MP RGB dual camera in its devices, says about the benefits of that configuration:

"The two lenses may look the same, but they have very different functions. One shoots in RGB to produce a color image, while the other takes care of the monochrome images. The monochrome lens brings out the detail, and engage more light than the RGB lens when in low-light condition, which takes care of the colors. The Dual camera 2.0 technology in Cool Dual actually enhanced the overall clarity of the image by 20%, help reduce image noise by 8% and improved brightness by 20%. “With these, we believe the real dual 13MP cameras brings us smart framing and the 6P lens gives customers the best quality of pictures”, said Jeff Liu, Coolpad Group CEO."

Digitimes on Automotive LiDAR Adoption

Digitimes Research comes up with its analysis of LiDAR adoption in the car industry, forecasting first LiDAR-equipped production cars appearing this year:

"...Audi will take the initiative to launch car models equipped with LiDAR sensors in 2017 and Mercedes Benz, Cadillac, Ford and Volvo are expected to follow suit in 2018-2019...

...only one million LiDAR sensors worth US$200 million will be shipped globally in 2019. However, global shipment value for LiDAR sensors will fast grow to US$500 million in 2024 along with decreasing cost and increasing adoption.

For Level 2 self-driving... LiDAR sensors are required to detect objects as far as 100-150 meters ahead. For Level 3, the required range is 200-300 meters

...Velodyne LiDAR and Quanergy Systems, and Germany-based Ibeo Automotive Systems are the main vendors globally of LiDAR sensors, with the former two focusing on solid-state models to reduce LiDAR sensor sizes.
"

Qualcomm Unveils Structured Light Depth-Sensing Platform

Qualcomm announces an expansion to the Qualcomm Spectra Module Program to incorporate a biometric authentication and high-resolution depth sensing for a broad range of mobile devices and head mounted displays (HMD). This module program is built on the 2nd generation Spectra embedded ISP family.

Now, the camera module program is being expanded to include new camera modules capable of utilizing active sensing for biometric authentication, and structured light for a variety of computer vision applications that require real-time, dense depth map generation and segmentation.

The low-power, high-performance motion tracking capabilities of the Qualcomm Spectra ISP, in addition to optimized simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithms, are designed to support new extended reality (XR) use cases for VR and AR applications that require SLAM.

It also features multi-frame noise reduction for superior photographic quality, along with hardware-accelerated motion compensated temporal filtering (MCTF), and inline electronic image stabilization (EIS) for superior camcorder-like video quality.

The Spectra family of ISPs and new Spectra camera modules are expected to be part of the next flagship Snapdragon Mobile Platform.


Qualcomm Emerging Vision Technologies presentation gives some use cases for its 3D depth sensing module.

Qualcomm also publishes a Youtube demo if its structured light depth sensing module:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Pinnacle Introduces HDR ISP Core

Pinnacle Imaging Systems launches Denali-MC HDR ISP IP core said to preserve a scene’s color fidelity and full contrast range throughout the tone mapping process, all without producing halos, color shifts, and undesired motion artifacts.

Denali-MC provides a 16-bit data path capable of producing 100 dB or 16-EV steps of dynamic range. Denali-MC HDR IP completely eliminates halo artifacts and color shifts, and mitigates the ghost artifacts and transition noise often seen when merging multiple exposures. This allows Denali-MC to capture up to four exposure frames from 1080p video at 120 fps, while merging and tone mapping at 30 fps in real time. For applications requiring faster output frame rates, Denali-MC also supports a two frame merge mode exporting at 60 fps. Furthermore, Denali-MC can support up to 29 different CMOS sensors, including 9 Aptina/ON Semi, 6 Omnivision and 11 Sony sensors, and 12 different pixel-level gain and frame-set HDR methods, and is said to be easily ported to the most widely-used logic platforms.

HDR-Specific Features:
  • Advanced motion compensation algorithms virtually eliminate HDR merge artifacts and transition noise
  • Proprietary Locally Adaptive Tone Mapping technology preserves color fidelity through the entire tonal range without creating halo artifacts or color shifts
  • Automatic EV bracketing
  • Automatic or manual contrast adaptation for global or local video correction
  • React concurrent still frame and video capture feature, non-destructively extracts four source LDR Bayer images, merged Bayer HDR, tone mapped Bayer or HDMI RGB still frames without interrupting video
  • Ability to capture separate HDR and tone mapped output video streams concurrently (ideal for ADAS applications)
  • Two or four frame multiple exposure merge (with Sony IMX290 implementation)
  • HDR + Low illumination capabilities with Sony IMX290 sensor enable 24/7 round the clock video capture capabilities for any contrast and lighting condition

At Fairchild Imaging, we have been very impressed with the Denali-MC ISP state of the art locally adaptive tone mapping (LATM) functionality,” said Vern Klein, Director of Sales and Marketing Fairchild Imaging. “I’ve seen first-hand how they can make a great sensor perform even better in its native WDR mode. Camera manufacturers will benefit from this technology, which provides high quality HDR functionality without requiring companion chips or additional hardware cost to support the algorithms.

Pinnacle’s new Denali-MC HDR ISP is a significant achievement addressing HDR video requirements in surveillance, monocular camera automotive markets and machine learning with its customization, artifact compensation, color accuracy and quantifiable high dynamic range of 100 dB,” said Paul Gallagher, image sensor industry veteran and futurist. “Camera system developers in these markets would benefit from utilizing these attributes of the Denali-MC ISP as a standalone ISP or integrate Pinnacle’s HDR IP blocks within their existing ISP.


Pinnacle also publishes a video demo of its HDR capabilities (short version, long version):

Technavio Low-Light Imaging Market Report

BusinessWire: Technavio comes up with another unusual report "Global Low Light Level Imaging Sensors Market 2017-2021." Few quotes:

"In 2016, the night vision devices segment accounted for close to 55% of the total revenues due to high adoption of low light level imaging sensors by the defense sector. The increasing focus on reducing road accidents drives the demand for night vision systems. Night vision systems are offered as built-in systems by Audi, BMW, and Toyota. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of close to 16% during the forecast period.

The global low light level imaging sensors market by cameras contributed 25% of the total revenues in 2016. These sensors are used in applications such as home security cameras, small business monitoring, and infrastructure security.

In 2016, the global low light level imaging sensors market by optic lights accounted for around 13% of the total revenue in 2016. These are widely used in lighting, decorations, and mechanical inspections of obscure things. Optic lights save space and provide superior lighting, and are therefore used in vehicles. Low light level imaging sensors are crucial components of optic lights as these sensors intensify the range of light.
"

Saturday, August 12, 2017

SMIC Reports Rising CIS Sales

SeekingAlpha publishes SMIC Q2 2017 earnings call saying that the foundry sees a significant growth in its CIS process volume:

"By device, most of our year-on-year revenue growth came from CMOS image sensors, NOR Flash, application processors and the power ICs.

And for the existing customer, for... the CMOS imager applications, we also see the recovery, yes.
"

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sony Kumamoto Earthquake Video

Imaging Resource publishes a video on Sony Kumamoto fab earthquake damage and a recovery effort that brought fab back to life in a so sort time:

LG Announces Smartphone Camera with F1.6 Lens

BusinessWire: The upcoming LG V30 smartphone is said to have camera module with F#1.6 lens, said to be the brightest in smartphones. I wonder what is the effective aperture of the pixels in the sensor and whether it makes use of the so bright lens.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sony introduces 2.9um Pixel 1080p60 HDR Sensors

Sony introduces IMX307 and IMX327 sensors featuring 2.9um pixels. The 1080p60 sensors support multiple-exposure and DOL-HDR and have 12b ADC.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

ESPROS CEO Interview

Autosens publishes an interview with ESPROS CEO Beat De Coi. Few quotes:

Q: Why did you decide to buck the trend in semiconductors to have your own foundry?

A: Simply there was or is no silicon CMOS technology available which offered high Quantum Efficiency in NIR in combination with high performance CCD. Our backside illumination technology OHC15L offers what is needed for powerful LiDAR, TOF and in general ultrafast gated imagers.

Q: Your session on time-of-flight sensors is about next generation technology – what’s different about it from existing ToF?

A: - Quantum Efficiency is greater than 75% @905nm
- active ambient light suppression
- single pulse operation vs. continuous light modulation in previous generation systems


Q: What is the timescale of this technology coming to the market?

A: Early 2018