Smarter design for advanced camera performance

Engineer Live News Desk
The ST BrightSense shutter sensor ecosystem

STMicroelectronics has introduced a set of plug-and-play hardware kits, evaluation camera modules and software designed to enhance camera performance within factory automation, robotics, medical, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications. The ecosystem is designed to ease development of such products alongside the company’s ST BrightSense global-shutter image sensors, allowing developers of mass-market industrial and consumer applications to ensure superior camera performance.

By sampling all pixels simultaneously, unlike a conventional rolling shutter, global-shutter sensors can capture images of fast-moving objects without distortion and significantly reduce power when coupled to a lighting system.

Superior sensors

ST BrightSense CMOS global-shutter sensors implement advanced backside-illuminated pixel technology, manufactured at ST’s own foundry in France, ensuring high image sharpness to capture fine details such as in barcode reading. Their high sensitivity enhances low-light performance and permits fast image capture, enhancing responses such as obstacle avoidance in mobile robots and face recognition in personal electronics.

The sensors’ advanced 3D-stacked construction allows an extremely small die area, easing integration anywhere space is limited especially in the final optical module, while enriching the products with advanced on-chip image processing for auto-exposure, correction and calibration. The sensors’ MIPI-CSI-2 interface makes them ideal for embedded vision and edge AI devices.

Opening up availability

Historically only offered to qualified customers, ST’s cutting-edge sensor technologies are now available in a wide variety of markets through the ST BrightSense portfolio. According to the company, widespread access to these sensors will allow developers to bring high-performance machine vision to applications that face strict size and power constraints and challenging operating conditions. These include factory automation, scanning, domestic and industrial robots, VR/AR equipment, traffic monitoring and medical devices.

ST’s new mass-market offering includes evaluation camera modules that integrate image sensors, lens holders, lens, and plug-and-play flex connectors to enable instant integration of the image sensors. The modules offer a selection of tiny form factors down to 5mm2, various lens options to suit different application requirements, and a plug-and-play connector that allows easy swapping. A series of hardware kits helps developers integrate the sensors with various desktop and embedded computing platforms. Complementary software tools are available for free download on ST’s website, such as a PC-based GUI and Linux drivers that assist integration with popular processing platforms including STM32MP2 microprocessors.

Recent Issues