STMicro VD55G1 – A small, low-power global shutter I3C camera sensor for computer vision

STMicro VD55G1 is a new global shutter I3C camera sensor with a small die size of 2.7 x 2.2 mm, 804 x 704 pixels native resolution, and consuming about 1mW in its ‘always-on’ autonomous mode to wake up the host when motion is detected.

Camera sensors are available with rolling or global shutter, with most from the former type, but as we’ve seen in our reviews of the e-Con Systems See3CAM_24CUG (USB 3.1) and the Raspberry Pi Global Shutter (MIPI CSI) global shutter cameras, the latter is much better we capturing moving objects clearly at high frame rates with fewer artifacts than with rolling cameras. The VD55G1 global shutter sensor will also benefit from the same advantage but is offered in a smaller package working over MIPI CSI and/or I3C, making it suitable for devices with small batteries used in applications such as eye tracking or motion estimation.

STMicro VD55G1 global shutter camera sensor
VD55G1 with ballpoint pen for scale

STMicro VD55G1 specifications:

  • Compact global shutter technology (40 nm/65 nm)
  • Resolution – 804 x 704 pixels
  • Pixel size –  2.16 x 2.16 μm
  • Array size – 1.73 x 1.73 mm
  • Frame rate – 170 fps at 800×700, 260 fps at VGA and 460 fps at 320×240
  • Optical performance –
    • Quantum Efficiency (QE) peak >= 90%
    • Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) 940 nm at 55% Nyquist/2, dynamic range of 65 dB
  • ISP
    • Dynamic defective pixel correction
    • Smart noise pixel control (3 dB to 9 dB noise reduction)
    • Embedded multi-auto exposure. Independent auto exposure per context
    • Different exposure for each pixel on the same frame (up to 3 exposures per frame)
    • Piece-wise linear gamma (PWL), one setup per context, 4 points x/y per setup
    • Crop, analog, and digital binning (x2 and x4) and subsampling (x2 and x4)
    • Mirror/flip readout
  • Features and misc.
    • Differential mode – ultrafast change tracking, event-like image
    • Background removal, without host processing
    • Spatial HDR, enabling 90dB+, without frame ghosting or latency
    • Up to 4x LED outputs with PWM control
    • 1024 bits OTP available for the user/host
    • Integrated temperature sensor with ± 2°C accuracy [25°C; 85°C]
  • Host interface
    • Single lane MIPI CSI-2 for video data configurable between 400 Mbps and 1.2 Gbps
    • I3C, 10x faster than I2C and backward compatible, with support for  320×240 up to 10 fps or 400×400 up to 5 fps
  • Power consumption
    • Auto wake-up mode with always scene change detection (host off)
      • 1.0 mW at 1 Hz
      • 1.5 mW at 5 Hz
      • 2.7 mW at 10 Hz
    • 800×700 (full IQ, 5 msec exposure) – 7 mW at 10 fps, 35 mW at 48 fps
    • 640×480 (full IQ, 5 msec exposure) – 6 mW at 10 fps, 29 mW at 48 fps
    • Power consumption scaling with features/framerate and software standby
  • Dimensions – 2.7 x 2.2 mm (smaller than VGA equivalents according to STMicro)
  • Temperature Range – -30°C to 85°C

The VD55G1 sensor will be found in devices such as AR/VR headsets, personal and industrial robots, drones, barcode readers, and equipment relying on biometrics and gestures, embedded vision, or scene recognition. The global shutter camera sensor will be especially useful in applications where near-IR sensing is important and scenes with movement requiring no shutter artifacts.

STMicro VD55G1 is sampling now, but it’s still at the “preview” stage and pricing is not available. We won’t have to wait that long before seeing it integrated into modules and products as mass production is scheduled to start in March 2024. Further information may be found on the product page and in the press release.

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