Low-power chipsets. Low-power chipset is the next big trendsetter for the power-hungry video and audio analytics. A new DSP has been launched that delivers up to 200MHz performance, enabling faster processing of data with low power consumption for demanding applications, such as audio and video, biometrics and other analytic-specific applications. These applications are opening up a world of possibilities that add capabilities such as face detection, object tracking and voice recognition to a new generation of smart products. These low-power chipsets offer a combination of low standby and low active power, making these the best choice for battery-powered analytic portable systems. Products like Texas Instruments (TI) TMS320C5517 chipset are offering solutions in this domain.

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Digital cockpits. Head-up displays (HUDs) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADASs) are going to be the next game changers in the automotive industry. On an HUD, you can project information on the windshield and inform the driver where to turn, notify lane markings and notify how close the car is actually to the car in front, while features like traffic-sign recognition, blind-spot detection, driver-alertness monitoring and night vision will be defined under ADAS.

Chipsets have been launched recently serving the need of this specific application, which combine the capabilities of projecting information on a surface providing automotive-scale reliability and a wide field-of-view. Examples of such chips are TI’s DLP3000-Q1, DRA75x Jacinto 6 Ep and Jacinto 6 Ex processors.

TFT LCDs. With the emerging demand and application of HUDs, new and advanced TFT LCDs have been recently launched in the market to meet the requirements of the automobile industry. These TFTs are capable of displaying HUD applications and driver information. Some companies like Kyocera Industrial Ceramic have introduced new advanced TFT LCDs to meet the needs of the automobile market.

Ultra-4k chipsets. The fast-growing segment in the consumer electronic space is HD viewing. Viewing has now become four times better than its predecessors, through what is known as ultra high definition (UHD), or 4K. Features like active pull-ups on all display data channel (DDC) lines to maintain UHD signal integrity minimise dependence on HDMI cables for better screening experience.

On the other hand, increased bandwidth of 10GHz to pass through 4K signals without distortion, low-clamping voltage of 10V and fast response time increases performance. For instance, STMicroelectronics is one of those companies that have launched single-chip HDMI (HDMI2C1-14HD, HDMI2C1-14HDS, HDMI2C2-14HD and HDMI2C1-6C1) designed for maximum performance.

Colour sensors. Conventional colour sensors required a transparent optical window in order to accurately detect visible (that is, RGB) light. However, the design trend in many smartphones and portable devices is to adopt dark optical windows for a smart outlook, making it difficult to detect colour. Since less visible light gets through, the light that permeates gets further mixed in with infrared (IR) rays. But the launch of new brightness colour sensor optimised for smartphones leverages the original IR-removal technology. IR cut-off characteristics like reducing the effects of IR rays by over 10x as compared with conventional products enables compatibility with dark (low-permeability) optical windows. Colour sensors for display-equipped devices such as smartphones and tablets are capable of detecting colour temperature, brightness and RGB components of ambient light. A product like ROHM’s BH1745NUC sensor is one among the newer launches.

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What is happening in audio
All-in-one chips. E-Call, instrument cluster, telematics and in-car listening experience are expected to get better with the launch of full-digital class D amplifiers. The full-digital amplifier architecture featured with built-in low-radiation function, floating digital core, anti-cross conduction and slope control minimises tuner interference, enhances mobile phone immunity and simplifies compliance with all other emission standards, enabling high audio performance by using low-cost external components. These amplifiers connect noiselessly to the digital audio processor without a digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) or input filter. Companies like TI (TAS5421-Q1) and STMicroelectronics (FDA2100LV) are contributing their solutions in this sphere.

Better microphones. Often in loud and noisy environment it becomes difficult to hear the voice of the person on a mobile phone. Due to noise and other disturbances, communication is not proper. Now, with the launch of advanced MEMS microphones, one can hear better on mobile devices.

MEMS microphones maintain ultra-low distortion at less than 10 per cent up to very-high external sound-pressure levels, enabling equipment such as smartphones and wearable devices to perform better when placing calls or recording audio in loud environments. In MEMS technology, the preamplifier design is the key, as this prevents saturation of the output signal even when background-noise levels are high, such as at concerts, bars or clubs, or if the user is speaking loudly close to the microphone.

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