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Camera phones get smarter with ST's image sensor

Posted: 13 Feb 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:image signal processor? image sensor? camera phones?

(Click to view block diagram.)

STMicroelectronics says it has introduced market's smallest single-chip camera sensor for mobile applications. Coupling low space requirements with advanced image processing capabilities, ST's latest 2Mpixel mobile-phone camera sensor addresses consumers' appetite for full-featured imaging solutions in ever-more popular thin-profiled handsets.

ST's VD6725 is a 1/5-inch optical-format imaging sensor, with an active pixel array of 1,600 x 1,200 (UXGA), an image processor and camera control functions on a single chip. Said to be the market's smallest device, the VD6725 fits in phone camera modules smaller than 6mm x 6mm x 3.8mm thanks to its 1.75?m pixel design and ST's advanced sensor architecture.

ST's latest technologies in pixel defect correction, adaptive noise reduction and sharpness enhancement features ensure that the embedded image signal processor delivers outstanding picture quality. Advanced anti-vignetting algorithms (balancing uneven illumination) and automatic white-balance control support excellent color rendition in varying light conditions. The camera sensor is also able to identify and neutralize defective (dead) pixels that fail to sense light levels correctly.

The VD6725's embedded image processor enables the users to apply a wide range of special effects on snapshots, including flipped and mirror-reversed images or pure black-and-white conversion for whiteboard content capture, document extraction and barcode reading.

The new single-chip camera sensor produces digital video streams at 15fps at full UXGA resolution and 30 fps at VGA resolution. It supports fast context switching, which means that the sensor switches extremely fast from "preview" to "capture mode," minimizing the delay of the capture control.

The VD6725 is available in ST's TSV (Through Silicon Via) wafer-level package. This package enables the production of reflowable camera modules. These are soldered directly on the phone motherboard, which saves cost, space and time compared with the process of fixing traditional camera modules in the board socket. ST is one of the very few companies that have reflowable camera modules in production.

In addition to mobile phones, the VD6725 can be used in a wide range of portable devices such as laptop cameras, PDAs and mobile gaming platforms.

Engineering samples and demo-kits are available, with the volume production scheduled for the end of June. Unit pricing is in the $2 range, depending on the production period and quantities. ST's VD6725 single-chip camera sensor is available in two package options, as a Chip On Board (COB) die or in the TSV wafer-level package.




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