2 Mar 2021

Two interesting new technologies in smartphone imaging

Apple’s iPhone 12 introduced two new features which CML believes the market is set to adopt. One is sensor shift cameras and the other is long-range high-resolution 3D sensing modules.

Camera with in-body stablisation

Sensor Shift

In the new iPhone 12 Pro Max, Apple introduced sensor shift functionality.  This is used in professional handheld cameras to compensate handshake and stabilise the image, but Apple are the first to apply this to a smartphone.

Anticipating this trend, CML has developed its own sensor shift technology.  This, CML believes, has more advanced performance than Apple’s. Apple’s sensor shift cameras only have 4-axis functionality, whereas CML’s sensor shift offers 5-axis stabilisation. Since this is a premium feature for professional cameras by compensating for shake in all directions to deliver the highest quality images, this is a significant improvement. In addition, CML’s design can be produced in a more compact form factor.

3D sensing

In addition to sensor shift, Apple iPhone 12 Pro models include Apple’s LiDAR scanner to increase the range of 3D sensing.  There is a fascinating market dynamic at work here, with a catch 22 issue to be addressed. On the one hand, so the debate goes, without a significant improvement in the range and resolution of current 3D sensing modules, the “app community” will not develop the “app” universe to provide customer pull. But without a significant market pull, what is the incentive to develop a much improved 3D sensing module?  Samsung has gone one way, removing 3D sensors from their 2021 modules; Apple has gone the other way with the iPhone 12 Pro.

CML has chosen the route of developing a greatly improved 3D sensing module.

Apple’s technology increases working range to five meters and provides a simulated QVGA (0.08Mpixel) depth map.  CML’s modules have more than ten meters range with a true VGA (0.3Mpixel) output.  CML’s 3D sensing technology also consumes little power and is relatively simple to integrate into mobile devices, across the Android space.

CML is showcasing both its sensor shift technology and demonstrating its working 3D sensing modules.  Market interest is strong.