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OmniVision 1/4-inch camera sensor integrates image stabilisation

Posted: 19 Jun 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:image sensors  camera phones  image signal processing 

OmniVision Technologies Inc. has launched what it claims as the first fully integrated three-megapixel sensor in a 1/4-inch format. The CameraChip sensor is based on OmniVision's recently announced 1.75mm OmniPixel3 architecture.

The OV3640 is small enough to fit the standard 8-by- 8mm sockets used in 2-megapixel camera phones, making it suitable as a drop-in upgrade for existing handset designs.

The new sensor features a high-speed, two-lane mobile industry processor interface (MIPI) to enable the fast transfer of large blocks of data, which is critical to making effective use of increased camera resolutions, said OmniVision. It also incorporates advanced image signal processing and onboard JPEG compression to allow existing base band processors without MIPI to support a camera upgrade to three megapixels at 15fps in full resolution.

In addition to MIPI, the OV3640 also incorporates advanced image stabilization functionality similar to that used in digital still camera and camcorder products. In low light conditions, cameras need a longer exposure time, which in turn requires the photographer to keep a steady hand. Camera phones with an OV3640 sensor will automatically sense the slightest camera shake and activate the image stabilization function to help prevent image blur and produce sharper images.

Other new features and improvements include a new read-out circuit for significantly reduced noise; improved high-resolution image signal processing for better overall camera performance and image quality; a black level follower for stronger image contrast; easy black level calibration to eliminate the need for gain adjust; integrated auto-focus control for 8.5-by-8.5mm auto focus camera modules and improved scaling to facilitate smooth zoom function.

The OmniPixel3 architecture is designed to focus light onto the sensor more effectively, allowing the pixels to capture significantly more light to make more effective use of the smaller pixel's active area. The resulting improved fill factor and increased sensitivity deliver more true-to-life color reproduction. The OmniPixel3's optimized pixel symmetry avoids color distortion and offers improved dynamic range of up to 65dB.

The OV3640 is currently available for customer sampling. Volume production is expected by Q4 2007.

- Gina Roos

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