Tuesday, January 24, 2017

imec Introduces RGB-NIR Sensor

imec is to introduce a new image sensor with integrated RGB and narrow-band NIR filters. Imec’s RGB-NIR multispectral platform demonstrates the possibility to integrate together standard RGB color filters, NIR-cut filter, NIR narrow band-pass filters and on-chip microlenses, down to small pixels as small as 5┬Ám today. The NIR band-pass filter and design pattern implementation can be tuned to match requirements of a specific application case, e.g. the wavelength of a particular laser or LED light.

An affordable, high resolution and high speed solution for integrating true RGB color combined with narrow-band NIR detection was essential to develop for future applications that need to detect or track near infra-red signals that should not be visible to human eyes” explains Andy Lambrechts, program manager for imec’s integrated imaging activities. “This capability to integrate a color view with one or several near-infrared narrow bands will be a key enabler for next-generation 3D, virtual reality (VR) & augmented reality (AR) imaging platforms. As well as in machine vision, medical, automotive and security surveillance applications.

Tesla Autopilot Cleared in NHTSA Probe

Bloomberg: The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) essentially cleared Tesla Autopilot of fault in a fatal 2016 crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent agency that has no regulatory power, is conducting a parallel investigation of the accident. The safety board is planning to issue its conclusions by early summer.

ams Completes Heptagon Acquisition

BusinessWire: ams announces the completion of the transaction to acquire 100% of the shares in Heptagon. The transaction includes approximately $64M in cash, 5,450,586 ams shares from currently held treasury shares as well as 11,011,281 new shares from authorized capital. The total number of shares outstanding of ams AG will therefore be 84,419,826.

Following the registration, the selling shareholders of Heptagon hold approximately 19.5% of the total registered share capital of ams. They are subject to a lock-up obligation ending in Q2 2018.

Hynix Considered Buying Toshiba CIS Business but Sony Moved Quicker

BusinessKorea reports: "According to the semiconductor industry, SK Hynix attempted to acquire a Toshiba image sensor plant in Oita Prefecture, Japan in 2015. However, while SK Hynix executives were considering it, it was reported that Sony bought the Oita factory for about 180 billion won."

VR Impact On The Image Sensor Industry

Image Sensors Europe event publishes an interview with Jason Lovell, ex Head of VR from Samsung and now founder and CEO at his own company Captivate. Few quotes:

Q: What changes have you seen in the image sensors market for VR in the last 5 years?

A: It’s now about creating content for VR that fully maximises its strengths; allowing users to have experiences that simply aren’t possible with existing mediums. The quality of 360 degree image/video capture is obviously fundamental to this, both in terms of the professional and home consumer markets, as the content created via both of these channels will be the lifeblood of the technology moving forward.

"What’s also going to be interesting is how the worlds of VR and augmented reality (AR) co-exist, as I’m extremely excited about the growth of head-mounted AR solutions over the next 3-5 years. Microsoft Hololens is a great start here, but the future will be fascinating."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sony Kumamoto Fab after April 2016 Earthquake

Nikkei publishes a picture from Sony Kumamoto fab after the April 2016 earthquake. The damage is quite significant, explaining why it took Sony so long time to recover from it:

Sony fab after April 16, 2016 earthquake

"The clean room on the third floor was shaken far more intensely than it was designed to withstand -- 1,396 Gal versus 900 Gal, a gal being a measure of ground acceleration.

With the walls and ceiling damaged, equipment toppled and semiconductor wafers scattered around, "I thought we might have to withdraw from Kumamoto when I first stepped inside," said Yasuhiro Ueda, president of Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing, which runs the factory in the town of Kikuyo.

Rice University FlatCam Lecture

Austrian JKU publishes Rice University Professor Ashok Veeraraghavan webinar of flat cameras and long-distance imaging array cameras:

PerkinElmer Interview

MediSens posts an interview with PerkinElmer representatives talking about its medical image sensors developed in its London, UK design center (former Dexela):