Thursday, February 26, 2015

Framos Survey on Machine Vision Market

Framos 2014 survey on machine vision market paints an interesting picture. "The study is based on answers from 54 respondents based in 13 countries, 10 manufacturers and 44 users, with the main focus on German-speaking countries and Europe. Respondents were ranked in terms of relevance, based on the production or purchase volumes on which they were surveyed. 40% of the manufacturers produce up to 500 cameras a year, 20% over 10,000 cameras. Principal sales areas are North America and Asia. 80% of users purchase fewer than 100 cameras a year, only 5% require more than 1000 cameras. The main area of use is Europe, at 75%, due to the focus of this survey."

Here is the respondents view on CCD vs CMOS market evolution:

"In respect of sensor brands and their future use in imaging systems, camera manufacturers and users are agreed on their decline or rise. Sensors from Sony may have less usage in percentage, but continue to be the most trusted brand, with a predicted market share of 35% in 2016. In particular, considerable growth is expected for the brands Aptina and Truesense Imaging (both now under one roof, belonging to OnSemi), to a market share of 13% and 19% respectively."

AlliedSens to Represent Caeleste in Asia and America

AlliedSens becomes an official representative of Caeleste for custom design CMOS image sensor in Asia and America.

Patrick Henckes, CEO of Caeleste says “With the growing demand of custom design sensors, it is critical for Caeleste to rely on the best possible partners to expand our activities worldwide.

Eiji Watanabe, CEO of AlliedSens says “We are happy to have Caeleste’s cutting edge custom image sensor into our product line in order to fulfill the rapid growing demand of high performance image sensors for industrial, medical and automotive applications in Asia and Americas.

AlliedSens also represents CMOSIS, PixelPlus and Awaiba.

ISSCC 2015 Report - Forza & NHK Sensor, Samsung

Albert Theuwissen continues his report from ISSCC imaging session. The second part presents Forza and NHK 133MP 60fps sensor in 35mm FF format. 484 12b SAR ADCs support that high pixel rate. The pixel size is 2.45 um, 2×1 shared, 2.5T/pixel.

Samsung presents an always on low power sensor having an ultra-low power, low resolution, low quality mode, but waking up as soon as there is any movement in the scene and switching to a normal higher resolution, higher quality mode.

ON Semi Announces PDAF Technology

Business Wire: ON Semiconductor (Aptina) successfully demonstrated its second generation Phase Detect Auto Focus (PDAF) technology featuring a unique pixel micro-lens technology that enables fast focus at 25 Lux light levels. This PDAF has been implemented on a 13MP test chip with 1.1┬Ám pixels and will be utilized in a new product introduction for mobile end-market customers later this year.

The PDAF technology uses two pixels to measure phase information from the target image. This phase information is then used to calculate the direction and the amount the lens needs to move to focus in less than 0.3 seconds, depending on focus actuator speed. Furthermore, ON Semiconductor has implemented a unique pixel micro-lens structure which maintains sensitivity in the PDAF pixels and ensures enough light is captured for PDAF to perform in low-light conditions as low as 25 Lux (similar to a dimly lit room). Competing technologies on the market employ methods that compromise pixel sensitivity and low light auto focus performance.

ON Semiconductor’s PDAF technology is the result of innovations in both pixel and optical stack design,” said Shung Chieh, VP Mobile and Consumer Division for ON Semiconductor. “The outcome is a reduction of auto focus time by nearly a factor of four and delivers a great experience to the mobile device user. The leading low-light capability of our technology enables smartphone manufacturers to deliver a fast AF experience across all light levels to their customers.

Toshiba Starts Mass Production of 8.1MP 1.12um Pixel Sensor

Business Wire: Toshiba started mass production of the previously announced 8MP, 1.12um pixel T4KA3 BSI sensor.

The sensor has a new low power circuit design that cuts power consumption to 46% that of Toshiba’s previous generation 8MP T4K35, an improvement over the earlier announcement that only stated 15% improvement. The sensor fits into 6.5mm square camera module, said to be the smallest in the class of 8MP sensors. The 8MP output at 30fps is possible using 2 Lane MIPI interface. The sensor incorporates "Bright Mode" that boosts image brightness up to four times, realizing HD video capture at 240 fps equivalent.

Allied Vision Confirms Sony CCD Discontinuation

Allied Vision, vendor of machine vision cameras, confirms Sony plans to stop CCD production. Michael Cyros, Chief Commercial Officer of the company, says in an interview: "Many in the industry had expected this to happen sooner or later. As you know, CMOS sensors have become more and more popular in the last couple of years. With greatly improved image quality, sensitivity, dynamic range and speeds, they have outpaced CCD technology of late. Sony’s decision is a logical step in that context to provide further capacity for CMOS growth."

Thanks to PJ for quoting the link in comments to the earlier post.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ISSCC 2015 Report

Albert Theuwissen starts publishing his overview of ISSCC 2015 imaging session. The first part talks about the new Sony 20MP/1.43um stacked sensor with two ADCs per column. The dual ADC can be used:
  • for increased readout speed (120fps in 16MP/10b mode)
  • for 3db noise improvement
  • to achieve 1.3e- noise level by multiple reads
  • simultaneous stills and video capture

More on Sharp Colorized IR Camera publishes an article on AIT and Sharp development of a colorized IR-illuminated camera: "The technology performs the color processing based on the weak correlation between the reflectance properties in the visible light region of objects and those in the infrared region, and obtains color images of the objects in the same or similar colors as the colors of the objects in visible light." The AIT colorizing algorithms require a modification of image sensor in the camera, but article gives no details on what kind of modification is needed.

Left- nightime image with no active IR illumination
Right - IR illumination is on and colorizing algorithms enabled

OmniVision and eyeSight Partner on Gesture Recognition

PR Newswire: OmniVision and eyeSight announced their co-development of next-generation gesture recognition technology in the industry's smallest form factor. eyeSight's gesture recognition technology, together with OmniVision's OVM6211 global shutter camera solution brings gesture recognition to a wide range of applications. The OVM6211 CameraCubeChip is a complete camera solution with a lens, sensor and packaging that uses a 3um OmniPixel3-GS global shutter pixel to capture 400 x 400 pixel video at 120fps.

"One of the frustrations with gesture recognition solutions in the market today is that they tend to work poorly in low light conditions," said Gideon Shmuel, CEO at eyeSight. "OmniVision's easily integrated OVM6211 global shutter sensor, working in tandem with our gesture recognition technology, can overcome the inherent challenges of recognizing gestures in difficult lighting conditions. This is critical for enhancing user experience and further broadening the scope of potential applications."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

ON Semi Presents Imaging Solutions

Business Wire: ON Semiconductor presents 1/2.7-inch AR0230CS image sensor aimed to 1080p IP cameras with data rates up to 60fps. The sensor features 3um DR-Pix pixels, an integrated support for HDR video, improved motion compensation, advanced local tone mapping (ALTM), and digital lateral overflow (DLO) that minimizes motion artifacts and enhances HDR colors:

The company also presents AF controller LC898214XD and AF/OIS controller LC898123XC having quite a complex internal structure with 32b DSP and relatively large memories:

AF/OIS controller block diagram