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Sensor innovations push global shutter chip capabilities

Engineers with Tohoku University have detailed a new project in which a CMOS sensor with a global shutter is able to record ultra-high-speed footage without the constraints of existing technology, namely short-duration recording and low resolutions. The end result is a CMOS sensor capable of recording one million frames-per-second over a ‘large’ duration of time, relatively speaking (480 micro-seconds in this case), at full resolution.

By re-designing the sensor’s memory bank, researchers have tested a 96 x 128 pixel array with global shutter at 480 frames. The design is intended to be tiled on a sensor with 1MP resolution – clearly not enough for consumer photography, but great for engineering applications. 

Don’t feel left out though, consumer photography and videography may also see benefits from this kind of technology – Canon also reported progress on its research of global shutter sensors. Canon’s technology similarly uses memory in an innovative way: by assigning each pixel its own memory cell. While Tohoku University’s research is concerned with ultra high speeds, Canon is looking for ways to improve the dynamic range of global shutter sensors. The company has tested a 10MP sensor at 30 fps – take a look at the results below. 

Sensor innovations push global shutter chip capabilities 1
Global shutter chips typically offer poor dynamic range. To improve DR, Canon has increased the number of ‘accumulations’ per frame, or the number of times each pixel deposits electrons to its associated memory cell. Image supplied by Canon

Via: IEEE Spectrum

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