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Rambus introduces Binary Pixel image sensor for smartphones

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Rambus introduces Binary Pixel image sensor for smartphones

Rambus has unveiled a new image sensor technology for smartphones, called Binary Pixel, which will dramatically improve low-light photography.

The battle for the best image sensor technology in smartphones will not end very soon. Several such technologies have been officially announced over the past few weeks, by MIT scientists, Aptina, and Panasonic among others.

Binary Pixel technology can capture the extended dynamic range to provide better images and videos in low-light conditions.
The Binary Pixel imager compared to current mobile sensor. Rambus claims its technology captures high-quality images and videos in low-light conditions.

Binary Pixel will be great for HDR and low-light imagery

Rambus is the latest company to announce a promising image sensor technology, which is called Binary Pixel. It is based on a breakthrough discovery and is said to improve the quality of the images taken with smartphones.

Binary Pixel was revealed during the Mobile World Congress 2013, an event which takes place in Barcelona, Spain.

The new image sensor is based on a new processing architecture with “single-shot high dynamic range”. Binary Pixel supports enhanced low-light sensitivity that will create better photos and videos regardless of lighting conditions.

Human eye used as an inspiration source for this breakthrough technology

According to the Rambus Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Martin Scott, conventional image sensors can only “capture a fraction” of light seen by the human eye. Small image sensors can capture “ultra high-quality” images and films, said Dr. Scott.

The company demoed a 128 x 128 pixel resolution sensor, which can be integrated into all current sensors. Additionally, Binary Pixel can be added into CMOS sensors.

However, larger sensors already have special technologies which allow them to take better photos in low-light conditions, therefore Rambus’ sensor would be more useful in mobile devices.

The technology behind the Binary Pixel is pretty straightforward. When the pixel receives enough light, it resets the exposure of the image sensor, allowing extended single-shot dynamic range photos to be captured. This technique is called “temporal oversampling”.

Moreover, low-light sensitivity was improved thanks to Binary Operation. This technique is similar to what the human eye does when it is greeted by low-light conditions.

Rambus says that the Binary Pixel finds itself at the “prototype” stage, but will become available soon for manufacturers looking to integrate it into mobile devices.

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Rambus introduces Binary Pixel image sensor for smartphones