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Tower fabs Canesta 3D image sensors for cars

Posted: 17 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D? image sensor? CMOS? fab facility?

Wafer foundry Tower Semiconductor Ltd is ramping the production of Canesta Inc.'s 3D image sensors, enabling, for the first time, mass-market "everyday devices" to "see."

CanestaVision sensors, now in final qualification stages for the automotive industry, are being manufactured at Tower's Fab2 facility, using its CMOS image sensor 0.18?m technology process.

"In addition to developing sophisticated technologies that enable our CanestaVision chips to follow objects in three dimensions and real time in any light, we have invested significant resources to create this capability on a chip that can be produced using a conventional CMOS platform," said Jim Spare, Canesta president and CEO. "The resulting high availability and low cost make the sensors attractive to mass market opportunities for electronic perception technology."

"We are very pleased to see the fruits of our mutual investment in the past few years coming to reality," said Avi Strum, general manager of CMOS image sensor product line at Tower. "Canesta's approach to 3D imaging is a breakthrough. Together, our market opportunity is very large."

According to a recent study by Strategy Analytics, these kinds of applications, such as 3D camera will boost the growth of the automotive semiconductor market from $18 billion in 2006 to $29 billion by 2013 through an 8.2 percent yearly growth rate. Similarly, new user-interaction mechanisms in which a user's actions or gestures drive the functions of a device have been proven by the success of recent videogame and mobile phone products. The market for next-generation 3D image sensors designed to enable a device to understand and interact with its environment more accurately and robustly will be a significant part of the traditional image sensor market.

While traditional 2D image sensors collect and record color images for human perception, 3D sensors add the extra dimension necessary to enable electronic devices to "see." 3D sensors are expected to be widely deployed in a variety of markets including consumer entertainment systems; machine vision and smart, automatic door sensors; and advanced automotive systems.

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