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CMOS image sensors enable smaller camera modules

Posted: 04 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Toshiba? TAEC? Dynastron? image sensors? ET8EE6-AS?

Toshiba's ET8EE6-AS and ET8EF2-AS image sensors

Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc. (TAEC) has expanded its Dynastron CMOS image-sensor product line with the addition of two new chipsthe 3.2Mpixel ET8EE6-AS CMOS image sensor and 2Mpixel ET8EF2-AS CMOS image sensor SoC with integrated image-signal processor (ISP).

With a pixel pitch of 2.2?m, a significant advance in cell-size miniaturization compared to the 2.7?m pixel pitch of previous 2Mpixel and 3.2Mpixel products, TAEC said these devices enable smaller, space-saving camera modules for cellular phones and other camera-enabled mobile devices.

"With the launch of our new 3.2Mpixel and 2Mpixel Dynastron chips, we can meet cellphone manufacturers' camera-phone requirements for a smaller optical-format image sensor with best-in-class picture quality," said Andrew Burt, VP of imaging and communications marketing in the ASSP Business Unit at TAEC. "We are geared up to meet anticipated strong demand in the 1/4-inch 2Mpixel market space in 2007 and our customers are showing a high level of interest in our 3.2Mpixel device for high-end camera phones as well."

2.2?m pixel pitch
Toshiba engineers were able to reduce the pixel pitch in both image sensors from 2. 7?m to 2.2?m while retaining a pixel size capable of recording high-resolution images. With the ET8EE6-AS, Toshiba reduced a 3.2Mpixel image sensor to a 1/3.2 optical format, an improvement over the company's previous 1/2.6-inch format size. Meanwhile, the ET8EF2-AS achieves a 2Mpixel count in a 1/4-inch optical format.

The new sensors promise low-power consumption, smearless imaging and high-speed operation, all essential requirements for personal mobile equipment, including camera phones and personal media centers. (A smear is a vertical stripe in an image and can occur in bright-light conditions, such as direct sunlight.) ET8EF2-AS also integrates an ISP for sophisticated picture effects and advanced camera operations, such as digital zoom, windowing, image downsizing and picture flip.

Key features
In video mode, the ET8EE6-AS offers high-speed 15fps in QXGA output, and 30fps in 3-to-1 vertical pixel binning. The ET8EF2-AS also supports 15fps in UXGA output and 30fps in VGA output.

To support simplified design of an optimized camera system, the ET8EE6-AS provides integrated automatic blemish detection and correction, gain control and lens shading compensation. Features of the ET8EF2-AS include auto white balance, auto luminance control and automatic blemish correction.

The ET8EF2-AS also incorporates an ISP to provide advanced functions, including digital zoom, windowing to any arbitrary size with panning, image down sizing with programmable decimation, picture flip that includes right/left flip and top/bottom flip, and picture effects that include monochrome, negative, sepia, antique, sketch and emboss. Both products incorporate a flexible input clock supported by a phase-locked loop circuit.

Samples of the ET8EE6-AS are currently available and priced at $43 in 1,000-piece quantities. This product is already in full production. Samples of the ET8EF2-AS are also available and priced at $35 in 1,000-piece quantities. Production is planned at the end of 2006.

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