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Image Sensor 100 Times Smaller Than CCD Or CMOS

Image Sensor 100 Times Smaller Than CCD Or CMOS

Tiny flash memory sensor takes great pictures...

Researchers have recently found a new application for flash memory. As it turns out, flash memory cells are extremely receptive to light and are capable of creating a completely digital image.

The team, led by Edoardo Charbon of the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands presented their findings at the October ICCV2009 in Kyoto, Japan.

Flash memory sensors are around 100 x smaller than current charge-coupled device (CCD) and complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) sensors, which are bulky and bad in low light. And according to Charbon, the device performs better in both very bright light and dim light.

Flash Memory Sensors

Flash Memory Sensors

This is because both CCD and CMOS sensors use analog to digital convertors to create a gray scale ranging from 0 -255. But flash memory sensors need none of this conversion circuitry.

It’s a technique called spatial oversampling, says Martin Vetterli, a member of Charbon’s team. And while it’s early days, he’s getting somewhere:

“It’s turning out to be a lot more accurate than the greyscale values you get from regular CMOS sensors…

“Analogue to digital conversion gives only poor estimates of the actual analogue light value.”

The only drawback is: the smaller the pixel, the less receptive to light flash memory cells become. This could pose a problem as pixel density increases.

Nevertheless, Charbon’s team now hope their gigavision technology will pave the way for future cellphones and other devices to take better quality pictures.


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