Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Keynote on Fast Image Sensors

University of Strasbourg and CNRS Prof. Wilfried Uhring presented his keynote "High Speed Image sensors" at SIGNAL 2016 conference on June 27, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. Few slides out of 33:

Talking about the IO speed, 25GPixel/s limitation is somewhat obsolete by now. For example, PCIe 4.0 standard defines 32 lanes of 16Gbps each, with the aggregate bandwidth of 512Gbps. Assuming 10b per pixel, one can get 51GPixel/s I/O speed by just buying the PCIe 4.0-compliant IP. And PCIe 4.0 is not the fastest interface these days.

Challenges in Time Correlated Single Photon Counting Imagers

C. Bruschini and E. Charbon (EPFL and Delft TU) presented "(Challenges in) Time Correlated Single Photon Counting Imagers" at SIGNAL 2016 conference held on June 26-30, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. Few slides out of 55:

CEVA Presents its XM6 Embedded Vision Platform

CEVA introduces a new DSP-based platform bringing deep learning and AI capabilities to low-power embedded systems. The new IP platform that is centered around a new XM6 imaging and vision DSP:

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Rambus LSS Platform

Rambus launches the Partners in Open Development 2.0 (POD 2.0) evaluation platform for its lensless image sensors:

Update: Rambus also publishes an eyetracking use case video:

DJI Mavic Drone Features (Somewhat) Autonomous Flying

SiliconRepublic: DJI Mavic drone uses 5 vision sensors, Movidius Myriad 2 vision processor and 24 processing cores to offer a limited flight autonomy:

Low-Power Event-Driven Image Sensor Architectures

"Low-Power Event-driven Image Sensor Architectures" presentation by Laurent Fesquet, Amani Darwish, and Gilles Sicard of University Grenoble Alpes and CEA-LETI reviews different enent-driven approaches. The presentation was prepared for First International Conference on Advances in Signal, Image and Video Processing held on June 26 - 30, 2016 - Lisbon, Portugal. Few slides from the presentation:

Monday, September 26, 2016

Toshiba Develops Switchable 2D/3D Sensor

Toshiba develops an image sensor that can be switched between 2D and 3D imaging modes. To get a switchable microlens array for 3D light field mode, Toshiba sensor uses a liquid crystal for 8,000 gradient-index (GRIN) lens array. The lenses have 50um pitch and can be switched between 2MP-resolving 2D and a depth-resolving 3D modes by application of +/-4V control voltage:

Sunny Report

Guosen Securities publishes its research report on Sunny Optical - Chinese maker of lens and camera modules. Few quotes:

"Aside from rapid pixel migration (8MP & above over 70% in 1H16), Sunny will benefit from the rapid adoption of dual camera modules in FY16-18. In 2016, we already see Huawei, LG and Xiaomi adopting dual cameras ahead of Apple and Samsung and we expect other competitors very likely to adopt the feature in their upcoming flagship phones to stay competitive. We expect 4% adoption in FY16 rising to 23% through FY18. Beyond that, we predict smartphones will adopt even more cameras to support 3D and augmented reality functions. We forecast HCM revenue to rise at 24% CAGR through FY16-18 while margins should be on a mild uptrend supported by dual camera ramp up."

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Snapchat Launches Spectacles with Camera

BBC, WSJ, Business Insider, Snap: Snapchat launches its first hardware product, a camera equipped sunglasses named Spectacles. Simultaneously the company changes its name to Snap to reflect that its activity expands beyond the smartphone application. Now, Snap home page says:

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel wearing Spectacles

Spectacles’ camera uses a 115-degree lens, said to be much closer to the eyes’ natural field of view. On a tap on the button near the hinge, it records up to 10 sec of video from your first-person vantage (30 sec, according to BBC). Each new tap records another clip. Spectacles will be available this fall for $130.

One of the differentiators of the Spectacles camera is the round format of its video output. The rectangular format is said to be the one of the past when photos were made to print on paper. Now, they are used in a different way:

Friday, September 23, 2016

Strange Applications for Image Sensors

Inspired by Ig Nobel prizes this week, here is a roundup of the recent prize-worthy patent applications that incorporate image sensors:

Philips application US20160262521 "A system and a method for guiding a user during a shaving procedure" by Jacek Lukasz Kustra, Guido Theodorus Gerardus Volleberg, Stefan Pfundtner, Karl Catharina Bree, Petrus Johannes Arnoldus Hubertus Kuijten, John Cornelius Petrus Van Der Ven, Harry Broers proposes "the system comprising an imaging module configured to register an image of a part of the body of the user, an image data analyzer configured to determine a local hair-growth direction based on data in the image, a controller configured to generate instructions about a direction in which a hair cutting device is to be moved over the body in dependence on the determined local hair-growth direction, and a feedback system configured to provide the instructions to the user."

Samsung patent application US20160267895 "Electronic device, method for recognizing playing of string instrument in electronic device, and method for providng feedback on playing of string instrument in electronic device" by Dae Young Jeon, Yeon Su Kim, Yeong Min Kim, Jung Min Park, Kyung Seok Oh proposes "The electronic device includes an image sensor configured to sense a motion of a bow to the string instrument, a vibration sensor configured to sense a vibration generated by the string instrument, and a control module configured to determine a fingering position of a user with respect to the string instrument using the motion of the bow and the vibration."

Bosch Und Siemens Hausgerate patent application US20160201981 "Refrigeration appliance with a camera module" by Stephan Kempfle, Gerhard Wetzl solves a problem of rolling shutter distortions when the refrigerator door opens. The distortions might cause difficulties in the food identification. The application proposes to rotate the camera as the door opens, so that it's always pointing to the same spot 125: