Dialog acquires CMOS imaging business from Sarnoff Corp.

JULY, 1–Kirchheim/Teck-Nabern, Germany–Dialog Semiconductor has acquired the CMOS imaging business and associated complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) active pixel sensor (APS) patent portfolio from New Jersey-based Sarnoff Corp., the research and development firm formerly known as RCA Laboratories.

Sarnoff will continue its CMOS business in advanced imaging for medical, government and low volume applications and the two companies will partner for long term development of imaging technology.

Effective immediately, the new technology will extend Dialog’s product portfolio–its power management and audio chip-sets are already established in mobile phones, and now Dialog can offer advanced camera-on-a-chip technology as a high-volume fabless CMOS imaging company. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. As part of the agreement, a core team is designated to transfer and implement technology at Dialog.

“The advantage to our customers is that we will now own a key element in helping to drive down the cost and power consumption of camera modules for high volume markets,” says Roland Pudelko, Dialog’s chief executive and president

Sarnoff’s CMOS active pixel sensor (APS) design, first used in radiography applications in 1998, is an enabling technology for digital cameras, and offers unique competitive advantages in mobile phones, low cost digital cameras and automotive applications.

Sensors using CMOS imaging technology are expected to replace the CCD sensors used in the majority of current generation digital still and motion cameras, and equipment requiring image sensing and processing.

According to market research from iSuppli Corp’s market intelligence service, unit volumes for CMOS sensors are projected to grow from 18 million devices worth $367 million in 2001, to 72 million units worth more than $1 billion by 2005. CMOS image sensors will represent about 47% of all image sensor devices shipped by 2005, up from 23% in 2001.

Sensors include:

– Portable wireless imaging, when mobile users want to send real-time video while walking or driving, the camera needs to have a wide dynamic range wit fast response in order to capture a true image of the surroundings.
– Automotive guidance and collision avoidance systems, using night vision infrared illumination, it is possible to improve visibility with fast accurate and accurate response.
– Finger print recognition
– Security and surveillance
– Digital watch cameras
– Personal digital assistants (PDAs) and notebooks
– Television and video conferencing


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