Sunday, December 11, 2016

CAOS-CMOS Camera Promises 1000x Dynamic Range Improvement

LaserFocusWorld: Nabeel A. Riza, University College Cork, Ireland, and colleagues say to have demonstrated the Coded Access Optical Sensor (CAOS) CMOS camera, or CAOS-CMOS, with a three-orders-of-magnitude improvement in camera DR when compared to a conventional CMOS camera.

"Light from an external object is directed by a lens (L1) onto the agile pixels plane of a programmable digital micromirror device (DMD). To initiate the imaging operation, the DMD micromirrors are set to spatially route the incident light to the CMOS sensor to create an initial target-scene irradiance map. Based on this initial image intelligence, the DMD is programmed in its CAOS mode to create specifically located agile pixels that sample image zones of interest.

This agile-pixel programming capability via the DMD allows the agile pixels to operate with different time-frequency coding methods such as frequency/code/time division multiple access (FDMA/CDMA/TDMA) schemes common in cell-phone radio-frequency (RF) communications.

Experiments demonstrate a CAOS-CMOS camera dynamic range of 82.06 dB, which can be improved upon by further optimization of the camera hardware and image processing.
“The CAOS camera platform, when used in unison with current multipixel sensor camera technology, is envisioned to enable users to make a smart extreme-dynamic-range camera, opening up a world of the yet unseen,” says Nabeel Riza.

Nabeel Riza publishes a Youtube video explaining the CAOS-CMOS camera principles:

Saturday, December 10, 2016

CCD vs CMOS - Zoom Needed to See CCD Market Share

Vision Show, held in Nov 2016 in Hannover, Germany, publishes presentations form the different companies at the Show. ON Semi's presentation "AND not OR CCD & CMOS Technologies in Industrial Markets" by Michael DeLuca quotes the latest CCD vs CMOS market data from TSR. A serious magnification is needed to see CCDs on the chart:

Still, CCDs keep a major market share in machine vision applications, according to AIA. Possibly, AIA means an installed base here, rather than yearly sales:

Framos presents its research on machine vision components, including image sensors:

Friday, December 09, 2016

Canon Applies for Electrical Bending Controlled Sensor Patent

CanonWatch reports that Canon has applied for an electrical control for an image sensor bending patent. Elastic material that responds to an electric signal is used for the control:

Highly Selective Plasmonic Color Filter

A paper "Hyper-Selective Plasmonic Color Filters" by Dagny Fleischman, Luke A. Sweatlock, Hirotaka Murakami, and Harry Atwater presents the results of collaboration between Caltech, Sony and Northrop Grumman:

"The subwavelength mode volumes of plasmonic filters are well matched to the small size of state-of-the-art active pixels (~ 1 μm) in CMOS image sensor arrays used in portable electronic devices. Typical plasmonic filters exhibit broad (> 100 nm) transmission bandwidths. Dramatically reducing the peak width of filter transmission spectra would allow for the realization of CMOS hyperspectral imaging arrays, which demand the FWHM of transmission peaks to be less than 30 nm. We find that the design of 5 layer metal-insulator-metal-insulator-metal structures gives rise to multimode interference phenomena that suppresses spurious transmission features gives rise to a single narrow transmission band with FWHM as small as 17 nm. The transmission peaks of these multilayer slot-mode plasmonic filters (MSPFs) can be systematically varied throughout the visible and near infrared spectrum, so the same basic structure can serve as a filter over a large range of wavelengths."

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Rumor: Sony Stops Making 16MP APS-C Sensors for Fujifilm

Fujirumors reports "According to a new source (thanks), Sony just stopped the production of its 16 Megapixel sensors. As a consequence, so the source, Fujifilm is in the process of withdrawing all its 16MP cameras.

The source said that Sony’s decision surprised Fujifilm, since it came without much advanced warning (usually Sony gives a much longer advanced warning when it comes to end of sensor production, so that companies can adjust their strategy according to Sony’s sensor plans).

Yole on Apple Dual Camera Strategy

Yole Developpement publishes it analysis of the impact of Apple's dual camera on the industry "What are the key lessons learned from Apple’s recent introduction of dual cameras? And where are we headed?"

"The first take-away from Apple’s dual camera strategy is the successful introduction of the technology. The response of consumers has been positive, even though we are still wondering if significant performance improvement is achieved by the approach.

However, dual camera technology is improving the current usage of photography by bringing new performance elements, such as the blurry aesthetic of bokeh, high resolution black and white, or optical x2 zoom operation in daylight. Performance is broadening, rather than focusing on a few indicators like pixel count and low light capability.

Another key aspect of the successful introduction is the status symbol it brings to adopters. Dual cameras are a visible attribute that can be linked to the slim form factor of high-end smartphones.

The second take-away is the increased revenue this approach is bringing to the smartphone industry. The dual camera setup necessarily doubles the number of imagers, their packaging, and eventually autofocus (AF) and/or OIS devices. The total cost for smartphone cameras has escalated toward the $22-$24 range, around 10% of the total smartphone manufacturing cost. The additional camera volume will fuel 10.4% global revenue growth rate we forecasted for the CIS Industry for the 2015-2021 time frame.

Caeleste Becomes One of the Fastest Growing Companies in Belgium

Caeleste announces it has won 16th place in Deloitte list of Belgian 50 fastest growing companies. Among hardware companies, Caeleste is the fastest growing one in Belgium. The company growth was 272% over the last 4 years, the highest in the hardware category.

Caeleste founders: CEO Patrick Henckes and CTO Bart Dierickx

Also, Caeleste posted a video with nice questions from its Electroniad competition held in October.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Light Co. Updates on the Progress

Light Co. says it's on track to start volume production of its multi-aperture cameras in early Q2 2017. The company also posts a new Vimeo video explaining in simple words its multi-aperture ideas:

Leti Presents FDSOI Light Sensing Technique

CEA-Leti develops a new light-sensing device that integrates photodiodes below the buried oxide (BOX) of FDSOI transistors, making the transistors very sensitive to visible light. Photodiodes are co-integrated in the SOI substrate, replacing conventional FDSOI transistor backgate. Potentially, this device architecture may lead not only to very small pixels with maximized fill factor, but also to more complex light-detection functions, due to complementary effects observed depending on diode polarity and FET type.

Presented in IEDM 2016 32.6 paper “Extending the Functionality of FDSOI N- and P-FETs to Light Sensing”, the new device architecture uses capacitive coupling, which doesn’t necessarily require an electrical connection between the transistor and the diode. Leti said preliminary results show that sensitivity in the visible spectrum is already better than 0.1pW/µm2, with a wide dynamic range (seven orders of magnitude, i.e. similar to most advanced CMOS image sensors).

FDSOI is a very versatile technology that already has been shown to be ‘faster, cooler, and simpler’ than FinFET, and which also may become smarter for More than Moore applications such as imaging,” said Lina Kadura, who presented the paper. “In fact, it may be smarter for sensing generally, because FDSOI transistors can be considered as very small footprint probes that are sensitive to the electric potential below the BOX.

In addition to embedding more light-sensing functionality in circuits, potential future applications include leveraging pixel size in image sensors.

In other results of the study, Leti demonstrated for the first time that SRAM cell characteristics can be controlled by light illumination. Leti also said that with capacitive coupling, light absorption in the diode integrated below the BOX leads to light-induced Vth shift of the transistor above the BOX, which means that forward optical back-biasing and reverse optical back-biasing are possible, depending on the diode polarity. In addition, the response of the system is logarithmic with light illumination, similar to the response of human vision.

Mobileye 8-Camera Self-Driving Vehicle

Mobileye demos its 8-camera self-driving car: