Friday, March 1, 2024

Enhanced Smart Computer Vision With Compact Global Shutter Imaging Sensor

By Akanksha Sondhi Gaur

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The sensor is tailored for a diverse array of applications, encompassing AR/VR, personal and industrial robotics, drones, barcodes, biometrics, and gestures, as well as embedded vision and scene recognition.

STMicroelectronics is elevating the capabilities of smart computer vision through its latest global shutter image sensor. This technology is particularly advantageous when it comes to capturing distortion-free images in dynamic environments or under near-infrared illumination. Measuring a mere 2.7mm x 2.2mm, this sensor boasts a native resolution of 800 x 700 pixels. Despite its compact size, it delivers outstanding imaging performance characterised by high contrast and impeccable image clarity. Its minimal power consumption enables compatibility with smaller battery setups, making it ideal for a wide range of applications. The key features include:

  • Compact global shutter technology
  • Operating junction temperature: -30°C to 85°C
  • Smallest global shutter 804×704 pixels with a 5.9 mm2 footprint
  • Autonomous auto wake-up mode, with always-on scene change detection
  • Very low power consumption
  • High frame rate: 170 fps at 800×700, 260 fps at VGA and 460 fps at 320×240

This sensor introduces event-like image streaming, making it an optimal choice for tasks such as eye-tracking and motion estimation. It also incorporates innovative built-in features. Among these is native background removal, simplifying post-processing for the host system. Furthermore, it offers an ‘always-on’ mode drawing a mere 1mW of power, enabling continuous monitoring even when the host device is on standby. It awakens when detecting movement or changes in the scene. The company mentions that the global shutter image sensor caters to diverse sectors, including smart glasses, AR/VR headsets, personal and industrial robotics, and smart home devices. Its appeal lies in its exceptional performance, diminutive form factor, ultra-low power requirements, and cost-effectiveness.

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This global-shutter sensor adds to the company’s specialized sensor portfolio and takes advantage of the company’s advanced semiconductor processes, resulting in a class-leading pixel size of 2.16um. These technologies enhance sensitivity and reduce crosstalk. By optimizing pixel architecture and employing full Deep Trench Isolation (DTI), ST achieves remarkable performance, characterised by low Parasitic Light Sensitivity (PLS), high Quantum Efficiency (QE), and a low-noise design. The device is I3C-controlled, facilitating communication at speeds ten times faster than conventional methods. It also incorporates multiple auto-exposure modes, high-framerate operation, flexible tone mapping, and numerous other advanced features.

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