Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sony CCD and CMOS Global Shutter Sensors Compared

Point Grey publishes a white paper comparing EMVA1288 measurements of Sony ICX274 CCD with global shutter CMOS sensor IMX174:

Point Grey also promises to reveal Sony's new generation global shutter CMOS sensor, the IMX249, in its pre-Vision Show Youtube video.

Device-ALab Announces 80x80 Pixel LWIR Sensor

Grenoble, France-based Device-ALab presents an affordable compact thermal imaging camera module for proof of concept makers and medium volumes application makers. SmartIR80 is the perfect learning tool, tanks to the integrated USB 2.0 interface with 14 bit streaming video.

Thanks to AC for the link!

Ambarella Announces H.265/HEVC Processor for IP Cameras

Business Wire: Ambarella introduces S3, a security IP camera SoC family with support for the new H.265/HEVC video standard. S3’s full implementation of H.265 delivers up to twice the compression efficiency of Ambarella’s current H.264 IP camera SoCs. S3 can encode H.265 video at up to 4Kp30 resolution, or H.264 up to 4Kp60. Its latest generation of ISP provides advanced noise reduction to maximize the benefits of H.265, while HDR processing manages challenging high contrast scenes. S3 also includes flexible de-warping hardware for cameras with 180-degree or 360-degree panoramic viewing with dynamic windows and digital PTZ.

With S3, we establish a new standard of H.265 encoding excellence to enable future generations of the highest quality HD and Ultra HD IP cameras,” said Fermi Wang, President & CEO of Ambarella.

The S3 family comprises software-compatible SoCs that range in performance from 1080p60 to 4Kp60 video with support for multiple streams and transcoding between H.264 and H.265 formats. S3 includes a 1.2 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU with floating point and NEONTM as well as dedicated DSP subsystems for ISP, video compression and analytics. It also supports comprehensive I/O including high-speed SLVS/MIPI/HiSPI sensor interfaces, USB host and client and gigabit Ethernet. The S3 Linux-based SDK allows designers to create IP cameras with differentiated features including wireless connectivity, cloud services, wide-angle panorama viewing, analytics, edge recording and transcoding.

S3 Feature Summary:

  • H.265 (HEVC) Main Profile encoding up to 4Kp30 video with support for Ambarella SmartHEVC low-bitrate streaming enhancements.
  • H.264 (AVC) Baseline/Main/High Profile Level 5.1 encoding up to 4Kp60 video with support for Ambarella SmartAVC low-bitrate streaming enhancements.
  • Flexible encoder engine supporting multiple streams with independent resolution, frame rate, quality and codec configurations. Support for transcoding between H.265 and H.264, Scalable Video Codec (SVC-T) and sub-frame low-delay encoding.
  • ISP with high-speed SLVDS/MIPI®/HiSPi™ interfaces supporting up to 64MP sensor resolution.
  • Line-interleaved multi-exposure HDR processing up to 4Kp30.
  • Motion-compensated 3D noise reduction with de-ghosting to enhance low-light performance.
  • 1.2 GHz Dual Core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU with floating point, NEON and 1 MByte full speed L2 cache. Intelligent video analytics hardware acceleration.
  • Real-time hardware-accelerated de-warping for 180/360 degree panoramic lenses with up to 4Kp30 performance, multiple window layouts and digital PTZ.
  • AES/3DES/SHA-1/MD5 encryption engines.
  • Support for DDR4/DDR3/DDR3L, gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 host and device, HDMI® 2.0, SDXC SD™ Card, and dual sensor interfaces.
  • Low-power 28nm process

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yole on Medical Image Sensor Market

Yole Developpement releases a "Solid State Medical Imaging: X-ray and Endoscopy" report.

"The solid-state medical image sensors market is driven by two major applications: X-ray imaging and endoscopy. The global Medical Image Sensors market will grow in volume from 2.1M units in 2013 to 6.7M units by 2019, fueled by emerging endoscopy products like camera pills and disposable endoscopes. These emerging products will enjoy broad adoption in clinical practices, owing to incentives being provided in Europe and the U.S. to reduce nosocomial infections.

From a revenue standpoint, the medical image sensors market will grow at a significant 11% CAGR from 2014-2019, and is expected to reach $142M by 2019. X-ray image sensors account for 93% of total medical image sensors market revenue, due to the high cost of X-ray sensors.

The medical image sensors market is characterized by a straight duality between X-ray imaging and endoscopy applications on price and volume. X-ray imaging is a very high-end application with a multitude of players, while endoscopy is a high-volume, low-price point application with a limited number of players.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Omnivision Announces Two Automotive Sensors with Red-Clear Filters

PR Newswire: OmniVision announces additions to its portfolio of OmniHDR automotive sensors: the 1.3MP/60fps BSI OV10642 and the WVGA/60fps OV10625. Both the OV10642 and the OV10625 are said to deliver top-level sensitivity and HDR performance in their respective market segments. The sensors also use a special red-clear filter that is required for many forward-looking automotive applications. These benefits ADAS systems, including lane departure warning, blind spot detection and traffic signal detection, among others.

"As more automobiles adopt image sensor technology to enhance safety and the driving experience, the importance of high quality imaging and reliable sensing technology cannot be overstated," said Inayat Khajasha, senior product marketing manager for automotive products at OmniVision. "With industry-leading HDR and ultra-low light sensitivity, these sensors are capable of supporting highly advanced vehicle sensing systems deployed in the latest vehicle platforms."

The 1/2.6-inch 4.2um pixel-based OV10642 fits into a compact 7.4 x 7.2 mm package and supports 120dB HDR mode. The 1/3.2-inch 6um pixel-based WVGA OV10625 too delivers HDR of up to 120 dB and best-in-class low-light sensitivity of 15 V/Lux-sec and fits into one of the industry's most compact and efficient 7.3 x 7.8 mm package.

Both sensors are currently sampling and are expected to enter volume production in Q4 2014.

Khronos Releases OpenVX 1.0 Spec 
for Computer Vision Acceleration

Khronos Group announces the public release of the OpenVX 1.0 specification, an open, royalty-free standard for cross platform acceleration of computer vision applications. OpenVX enables performance and power-optimized computer vision processing for embedded and real-time uses such as face, body and gesture tracking, smart video surveillance, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), object and scene reconstruction, augmented reality, visual inspection, robotics and more. The full OpenVX 1.0 specification and details about the OpenVX Adopters Program are available at

Increasingly powerful and efficient processors and image sensors are enabling engineers to incorporate visual intelligence into a wide range of systems and applications,” said Jeff Bier, founder of the Embedded Vision Alliance. “A key challenge for engineers is efficiently mapping complex algorithms onto the processor best suited to the application. OpenVX is an important step towards easing this challenge.

The OpenVX spec is supported by many well known companies:

Stereo Machine Vision Example

FLIR Promotes its LWIR-VIS Fusion Technology

FLIR One Youtube video says that two sensors are better than one:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sony Presents Industrial Version of its Highly Sensitive Sensor

Sony presents an industrial version of its 3.75um pixel-based highly sensitive sensor, previously announced for automotive applications. The lineup for industrial applications includes the IMX224LQR, with WDR function, and the IMX225LQR with now WDR. Most of the spec is shared with the automotive version, including minimum subject illumination of 0.005 lx or less at a gain of 72dB, but some parts are explained in more details:

"The IMX224LQR supports a DOL (digital overlap)-type WDR function. This function uses a method that outputs the data for three frames with different storage times line by line instead of frame by frame, enabling improvement of picture quality especially under low illumination compared to the existing multiple exposure WDR function." The sensors feature a nice set of interfaces: LVDS, 4-lane MIPI CSI-2 with 594 Mbps/lane, and CMOS parallel.

Sony shows a higher resolution image shot at 0.05 lux (10x of the stated minimum) with F1.4 lens at 30fps and internal gain of 60dB (click to expand to 799x597 pix image):

Another recent announcement is system LSI for entry-level IP security cameras, the CXD4145GG, supporting ISP and H.264 encoding at 30fps up to 3MP, or 15fps for 5MP:

Friday, October 17, 2014

LensVector and Sunny Announce The World’s Smallest 5MP AF Camera

PR Web: LensVector and Sunny Opotech announce what they say is the world’s smallest 5MP autofocus camera, P5S10A, aimed to low cost smartphones. The P5S10A combines LensVector’s solid-state LV4519 autofocus with Sunny’s 3531 base lens and a small 5MP sensor in a compact size measuring 6.5 mm x 6.5 mm x 4.6mm. The module can fit both main cameras and high-end front facing cameras.

Our LV4519 autofocus device contains no moving parts, which is a huge step up from electro mechanical alternatives. We're also smaller, easier to integrate and require less power than other options,” said Howard Earhart, CEO at LensVector. “Through our relationship with a world-leading camera module supplier like Sunny, we’re creating a new generation of miniature autofocus cameras for the rapidly growing budget smartphone market.

Sunny Opotech is pleased to offer the world’s smallest autofocus camera, powered by LensVector’s LV4519 solid-state autofocus device,” said David Wang, GM at Sunny Opotech. “P5S10A was created to deliver high performance at lower costs for the rapidly growing smartphone market where size and affordability are critically important.

The camera is currently sampling and is expected to enter volume production in early 2015.

LensVector's Gen3 AF device spec, including the driver with integrated heater and temperature sensor:

In another news, LensVector founder, Tigran Galstian, received Canadian Ernest Manning Innovation Award for development liquid crystal technology to replace the mechanical focus in camera phones.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sony Announces High Sensitivity Sensor for Automotive Applications

Sony announces the IMX224MQV 1/3-inch 1.27MP CMOS sensor for automotive cameras, said to have the world's highest sensitivity levels of any image sensor of its kind (for type 1/3 image sensors with HD or higher resolution, based on Sony research, as of the announcement date, October 16, 2014). The new sensor is capable of capturing high-resolution color images in light conditions as low as 0.005 lux, a level equivalent to that of a moonless night and one that is far below illumination levels under a star-filled night sky. The is set to become Sony's first image sensor for automotive cameras to meet the requirements of the AEC-Q100 reliability tests. The sensor sampling starts on Nov. 2014, mass production is planned for Dec. 2015.

The IMX224MQV sensor has 2,350mV (standard F5.6) sensitivity, a level of sensitivity that is around twice that of older Sony IMX238LQJ sensor with 3.75um pixels and the industry's highest. This was achieved through the adoption of photo diodes that improve the conversion efficiency of light into electrons and through the addition of circuits that improve the conversion efficiency of those electrons into voltage. Also, a PGA with a gain up to 72 dB further contributes to the ultimate achievement of a minimum object illuminance of 0.005 lux. With this design, it now becomes possible to capture high-resolution color images even on a dark road at night with no stars to illuminate the surroundings.

This image sensor also supports a WDR that allows for extended exposure time, which, when compared to conventional multi-exposure WDR systems, makes possible improved image quality in low light conditions when combined with a compatible ISP (Mass production of compatible ISP from Sony is planned on June 2016). Furthermore, the sensor's pixel has an improved NIR sensitivity for better object recognition when used in with NIR LED illumination.

IMX224MQV image captured at 0.005 lux
(F1.4, 16.7ms exposure, 72 dB gain)

Going forward, Sony intends to expand its image sensor reach beyond the realm of digital imaging devices and into the arena of "sensing" as well. Building off products such as the "IMX224MQV," Sony will pioneer and tap into a new market for image sensors that are capable of acquiring and discerning information from captured images such as objects' distance, movement, shape, and color, for use in vehicles and elsewhere.