SuperResolution added to world’s smallest camera module for medical imaging

November 17, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
SuperResolution added to world’s smallest camera module for medical imaging
OmniVision’s wafer-level CameraCubeChip adds Almalence’s SuperResolution algorithm for medical endoscopes

OmniVision Technologies has added a ‘super resolution' algorithm to improve the quality of its wafer scale camera chip in medical applications.  

This eliminates the conflict between camera size and resolution found in current medical imaging systems. The fully packaged backside-illuminated camera chip measures 0.65mm x 0.65mm, with a z-height of just 1.158mm, making it suitable for endoscopes and catheters, but this limits the resolution of the images.

Using the SuperResolution algorithm developed by Almalence for smart phone cameras to OmniVision’s OVM6948 CameraCubeChip improves the resolution of the tiny chip to 300 x300, up 50 percent, and boosting the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) by up to 8dB for a total of about 42dB. These increases would otherwise double the image sensor and camera size, due to the required increase in pixel count.

The algorithm increases the sensor’s effective resolution by not only making the image look sharper and smoother, but also reconstructing more details, as if it were captured with a higher resolution sensor. Additionally, the algorithm’s computational load is optimized to run on any major SoC or DSP, leaving plenty of headroom for other processing tasks.

European market research firm Yole Développement expects a 27 percent compound growth between 2019 and 2025 for CMOS image sensors for disposable endoscopes, reaching $241m.

“This market is being pushed by the addition of video and the shift toward small-diameter applications needing higher image resolutions. Additionally, medical trends are favoring single-use devices, including cross-contamination issues and strong regulations stemming from endoscope disinfection matters,” said Jérôme Mouly, team lead analyst for sensing at Yole. “The ramp up is starting this year and will continue in the coming years as regulators enforce the use of disposable endoscopes for certain procedures, such as bronchoscopy, laryngoscopy and urology.”

The OVM6948 camera module integrates OmniVision’s OV6948 image sensor, which holds the Guinness World Record for “The Smallest Image Sensor Commercially Available” with its size of 0.575mm x 0.575mm. Because

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