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Toshiba module allows simultaneous image, depth data output

30 Sep 2013

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Toshiba has unveiled a dual camera module for smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices called TCM9518MD. The product includes twin-inch optical format 5MP CMOS camera modules (5MP × 2 arrays) and simultaneously outputs recorded images and depth data.

Toshiba TCM9518MD

The product's output resolution is at 13 megapixels, pixel size is at 1.4µm and module size is at 8.0 x 12.0 x 4.65mm. According to the company, users of the module will be able to modify the depth of field and point of focus of images captured using the module. The product also features post focus on images after taking of picture. Samples are expected by January 2014 and mass production is slated for April 2014. Sample price is at $50 and mass production volume is at 500,000 pieces per month.

The TCM9518MD's twin cameras and dedicated companion LSI simultaneously deliver deep focus images in which foreground and background and all points in between are in focus, with depth data on each object in the image. This supports creation of new applications for smartphone, tablets and mobile devices, including refocus, defocus and extraction of any objects of the images, and gesture operation.

The companion LSI generates 13-megapixel images by upscaling images taken by the twin 5-megapixel cameras, realising a lower module height than that of conventional 13-megapixel camera modules. This will contribute to downsizing of mobile devices.

Computational cameras create images impossible to realise with the standard camera module by combining optical hardware technology—the lens and diaphragm—with digital signal processing technology. The TCM9518MD brings high-resolution and computational camera functionalities to the CMOS image sensor market for smartphones, tablets and mobile devices.

Most of auto focus camera modules for smartphones deploy a mechanical focus structure, moving the lens with motors like VCM. It can take time to focus and also result shutter lag. TCM9518MD offers a non-mechanical digital focus function without mechanical structure, allowing high-speed focus by calculating the depth to any objects. It also realises a lower module height.

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