Tuesday, August 22, 2017

KGI Compares Apple and Qualcomm 3D Camera Technologies

Macrumors and IF News quote KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo saying that Apple 3D camera technology is 1.5-2 years ahead of Qualcomm one. Apple is expected to use 3D frontside camera in one of its upcoming iPhones for face recognition and user interface.

"According to Kuo, Qualcomm is dealing with immature algorithms and an unfavorable hardware reference design for smartphones due to form factor design and thermal issues. Qualcomm may also be impacted by Apple's choice of suppliers. Many key component suppliers have already allocated resources to Apple, so Qualcomm has to find different suppliers in order to obtain sufficient resources."

So far, only Xiaomi 2018 flagship phone is expected to use Qualcomm 3D solution with volumes less than 10M units, according to Kuo. Even this might be cancelled, depending on the new iPhone success.

Omron Vision Platform

Omron shows its HVC-P2 vision platform capabilities:

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sony Promotes 4K Slow Motion Imaging

Sony video shows 8x slow motion 4K video attributed to the recent progress in its CMOS sensors:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Yole and WCP Mobile Depth Sensing Report

Yole Developpement and Woodside Capital Partners publish "Smartphone Depth Sensing" report dated by July 2017. Few slides from the review:

Entry Level Smartphone SoCs Support Dual Camera

PRNewsWire: Spreadtrum announces mass production of its LTE SoC platforms: SC9853I manufactured in Intel's 14nm foundry process with Octa-core 64-bit Intel Airmont processor; and Spreadtrum SC9850 series. Both SC9853I and SC9850 series emphasize dual-camera processing capability. Both include a built-in 3DNR to improve night shooting and features like refocusing, real-time face beauty, 3D modeling and AR. SC9853I supports 16MP dual camera, while SC9850 supports 13MP dual configuration.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sony Proposes BCMD with Reduced Dark Current

Sony patent application US20170229493 "Pixel circuit and imaging apparatus" by Kouichi Harada and Toshiyuki Nishihara proposes dark current reduction in bulk charge modulated device (BCMD).

"...the above image sensor needs to read 1000 times in one frame for example, and has problems of increase in read voltage and increase in read time. Also, as the number of reads per frame increases, dark current of the FD increases proportionally. As a result, the dark current of the FD becomes the main component of the dark current of the pixel. The dark current of the FD is unable to be reduced easily, and thus even if the conversion efficiency can be set to 600 μV/e−, the accuracy of detecting one photon is reduced. If there is no FD, the accuracy of detecting one photon is improved.

...According to the present technology, it is possible to obtain an excellent effect that the dark current of the FD in the image sensor is eliminated, and that the conversion efficiency of converting the electric charge to a voltage can be improved.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

TrinamiX 3D Sensor Paper

BASF spinoff Trimamix publishes an arxiv.org paper "Focus-Induced Photoresponse: a novel optoelectronic distance measurement technique" by Oili Pekkola, Christoph Lungenschmied, Peter Fejes, Anke Handreck, Wilfried Hermes, Stephan Irle, Christian Lennartz, Christian Schildknecht, Peter Schillen, Patrick Schindler, Robert Send, Sebastian Valouch, Erwin Thiel, and Ingmar Bruder.

"Here we introduce Focus-Induced Photoresponse (FIP), a novel method to measure distances. In a FIP-based system, distance is determined by using the analog photoresponse of a single pixel sensor. This means that the advantages of high-density pixelation and high-speed response are not necessary or even relevant for the FIP technique. High resolution can be achieved without the limitations of pixel size, and detectors selected for a FIP system can be orders of magnitude slower than those required by ToF based ones. A system based on FIP does not require advanced sensor manufacturing processes to function, making adoption of unusual sensors more economically feasible.

In the FIP technique, a light source is imaged onto the photodetector by a lens. The size of its image depends on the position of the detector with respect to the focused image plane. FIP exploits the nonlinearly irradiance-dependent photoresponse of semiconductor devices. This means that the signal of a photodetector not only depends on the incident radiant power, but also on its density on the sensor area, the irradiance. This phenomenon will cause the output of the detector to change when the same amount of light is focused or defocused on it. This is what we call the FIP effect.

Qualcomm on VR Motion Tracking Setup

Qualcomm presentation "On-device motion tracking for immersive mobile VR" discusses 4-camera setup in the company's VR headset:

First Report on CIS Reproducibility, Variability and Reliability

Albert Theuwissen releases the first report on "Reproducibility, Variability and Reliability of CIS" in a 5-year series. The 175-page report contains 118 figures and 98 tables with data on QE, FPN, DSNU, Qsat, DR, SNR, DC, and more.

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."