InVisage Technologies Inc., the pioneering developer of QuantumFilm™ camera sensors, today announced the SparkP2™ HD near-infrared (NIR) camera sensor for the IoT camera market. Based on the InVisage QuantumFilm camera platform, SparkP2 is a 1.1 um pixel, 2-megapixel sensor in an ultra-compact 1/7 inch format for a lightweight footprint (less than 3 mm. thin) that consumes over 20 times less power than conventional silicon near-infrared cameras.
SparkP2 offers QuantumFilm global shutter for unprecedented image sharpness at 940 nm, the ideal invisible wavelength for IoT, whether in low light or strong sunlight. This performance empowers devices like iris scanners, augmented reality systems and drones to respond more accurately to their environments.
“Previous IoT NIR cameras have been difficult to use indoors and almost impossible to operate outside,” said Jess Lee, InVisage President and CEO. “Indoors, users had to remain within a short range for the device to work. At the same time, conventional camera systems burn a continuous 1000 mW of illumination power, which produces a distracting red glow and drains battery life. Outside, the power requirement is even higher in order to overcome the power of the sun, which makes it challenging for compact IoT devices to see and detect obstacles. SparkP2 is the first solution to address all of these issues.”
"Face and iris recognition, depth-mapping and eye and gesture tracking are key applications in next generation imaging, and are growth drivers to the $10.5 billion CMOS image sensor market. And all these applications benefit greatly from improved NIR sensitivity,” said Brian O’Rourke, Senior Principal Analyst, Consumer Devices and MEMS & Sensors at IHS Technology. "InVisage should be well positioned to benefit from the growth of these markets, whether in mobile phones, security and surveillance cameras or other integrated devices."
Rolling Shutter vs. Global Shutter for IoT
Today, the majority of near-infrared (NIR) cameras struggle to produce accurate images and video of moving objects as a result of rolling shutter, which can interfere with spatial analysis (essential for collision avoidance) and make an augmented or virtual experience less realistic. Newer designs are using global shutter, but with low resolution and high power consumption. InVisage QuantumFilm global shutter works in tune with a pulsed LED, which optimizes the LED battery usage to be just 10 mW (versus 750 mW for LEDs used with rolling shutter NIR cameras) and in turn enables more compact, lighter weight product designs due to smaller battery requirements.
Conventional infrared sensors that use silicon as their photosensitive layer also have difficulty performing outdoors because sunlight’s ambient NIR light overwhelms the light emitted by most NIR camera LED projectors, reducing the amount of information the NIR camera can effectively detect. These LEDs would require extremely high power usage in order to project a strong enough light to compete with the sun’s irradiance. SparkP2’s fast global shutter allows the NIR light source to be pulsed for extremely short intervals instead of remaining continuously illuminated, thus overcoming sunlight while at the same time capturing movement more accurately and using far less net power.
Pricing and Availability
SparkP2 is sampling in April 2016 with mass production scheduled by Summer 2016. Pricing information may be obtained directly from InVisage at www.invisage.com/contact.