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/┬Ám2, 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:

Pyxalis Paper on Transfer Gate Spillback

Pyxalis publishes its presentation "Effects of Transfer Gate Spill Back in Low Light High Performances CMOS Image Sensors" by Julien Michelot, Alexis de Ipanema Moreira, Paul Monsinjon, and Sophie Caranhac presented at Photon Counting, Low Flux and High Dynamic Range Optoelectronic Detectors Workshop in Toulouse, France, in November 2016. Few slides from the presentation:

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

ON Semi Q3 2016 Results

ON Semi reported its Q3 results in the beginning of November. This time, the company presents the sales figures in $M for its main business groups:

SeekingAlpha earnings call transcript mentions imaging business status in Q&A session:

Tristan Gerra - Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc. (Broker)

Great. And then if I heard the number well, your Image Sensor Group revenue implies a little bit of a year-over-year decline in the quarter. Could you talk about the trends in that business? Are we still on track in terms of the accretion for the year and also the type of growth drivers that you see going forward?

Keith D. Jackson - ON Semiconductor CEO

Yeah. We had a very substantial double-digit growth in the automotive sector, which is the focus in that business. The slight declines year-on-year were all coming out of handsets in the consumer side, which again we mentioned at the time of purchase we wanted to de-emphasize those because they were quite low margin. And so, really, everything remains on track as we look at it another year long.

Mobileye on Challenges for Artificial Intelligence in Self-Driving Cars

Mobileye publishes a Youtube lecture by its CTO Amnon Shashua on challenges in creating algorithms for autonomous cars. The company keeps to be optimistic about self-driving car in 5-7 years from now and somewhat critical of the current autonomous driving experiments, such as one in Pittsburgh:

One of the slides at 11:20 time talks abut 8-camera configuration that Mobileye is developing for self-driving car:

Thanks to DS for the link!

Monday, December 05, 2016

Galaxycore Announces 1.12um Pixel

With the new Galaxycore product line, it seems that most of 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier mainstream image sensor makers have 1.12um pixel products in their portfolio. Galaxycore's first 1.12um product appears to be 5MP 1/5-inch GC5005 based on TSI technology: