Tuesday, July 16, 2024

STMicroelectronics Reveals ST BrightSense Image Sensor Ecosystem For Advanced Camera Performance Everywhere

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Enables quicker and smarter designs of compact power-efficient products for factory automation, robotics, AR/VR, and medical applications

STMicroelectronics has introduced a set of plug-and-play hardware kits, evaluation camera modules and software that ease development with its ST BrightSense global-shutter image sensors. The ecosystem lets developers of mass-market industrial and consumer applications ensure superior camera performance by designing-in ST BrightSense image sensors. By sampling all pixels simultaneously, unlike a conventional rolling shutter, global-shutter sensors can capture images of fast-moving objects without distortion and significantly reduce power when coupled to a lighting system.

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ST BrightSense CMOS global-shutter sensors implement advanced backside-illuminated pixel technology, manufactured at ST’s own foundry in France, ensuring high image sharpness to capture fine details such as in barcode reading. Their high sensitivity enhances low-light performance and permits fast image capture, enhancing responses such as obstacle avoidance in mobile robots and face recognition in personal electronics. The sensors’ advanced 3D-stacked construction allows an extremely small die area, easing integration anywhere space is limited especially in the final optical module, while enriching the products with advanced on-chip image processing for auto-exposure, correction, and calibration. Their MIPI-CSI-2 interface makes them ideal for embedded vision and edge AI devices.

Historically only offered to qualified customers, ST’s cutting-edge sensor technologies are now available in a wide variety of markets through the ST BrightSense portfolio, highlighting industrial-grade products and 10-year longevity commitment. Widespread access to these sensors, whose qualities are proven with over one billion units shipped on market, now lets developers bring high-performance machine vision to applications that face strict size and power constraints and challenging operating conditions. These include factory automation, scanning, domestic and industrial robots, VR/AR equipment, traffic monitoring, and medical devices.

ST’s new mass-market offering includes evaluation camera modules that integrate image sensor, lens holder, lens, and plug-and-play flex connector to enable instant integration of the image sensors. The modules offer a selection of tiny form factors down to 5mm2, various lens options to suit different application requirements, and a plug-and-play connector that allows easy swapping. A series of hardware kits helps developers integrate the sensors with various desktop and embedded computing platforms. Complementary software tools are available for free download on ST’s website, such as a PC-based GUI and Linux drivers that assist integration with popular processing platforms including STM32MP2 microprocessors.

The ST BrightSense global-shutter family currently comprises the VD55G0, VD55G1, and VD56G3 monochrome sensors with resolution from 0.38Mpixel to 1.5Mpixel, as well as the color VD66GY with 1.5Mpixel. The sensors, along with their evaluation camera modules, and development boards are in production now.


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