CMOS imaging is widely popular – these sensors are effectively used in a broad range of applications from cell phones to medical devices to machine vision in manufacturing.
What makes CMOS sensors so popular? To understand this, it’s helpful to take a look at how they came to market.
A Brief History of CMOS Imaging
In the beginning, demand for high-speed imaging was mainly from the military and auto-manufacturers, for ballistics and crash testing, respectively. These were expensive, high-maintenance and risk-prone analog cameras. It wasn’t long before there was a serious need for faster, better digital cameras.
In the 90s, improved digital cameras and sensors became available at the same time that demand for high-speed imaging started to grow. Most new applications used CCD imaging for production line troubleshooting, as well as university research. But these sensors still had their limitations – mainly that the use of rolling shutters created “image-lag” in high-speed applications.
In the year 2000, it all changed. The rising popularity of machine vision in manufacturing drove a need for better high-speed imaging, and later that year the first CMOS sensors were released.
The rest is history. More and more companies started making CMOS imaging systems as the demand for them grew, resulting in rapid innovation and reduced manufacturing costs.
Why is Demand for High-Speed CMOS Imaging So Great?
CMOS sensors have been used for high-speed imaging applications for well over a decade now. They have many advantages over previous forms of image sensors.
CMOS imaging systems typically have:
- Small chips with high operating speeds and low energy use
- High degree of noise immunity
- Smaller image details at higher resolutions
- Global shutters to eliminate “image-lag”
- High levels of functional integration which leads to simple designs and short design cycles
- High demand which creates rapid innovation and lower prices
Due to falling prices and continued advances in sensor technology, CMOS sensors have evolved into a widely popular choice for high-speed applications. In all likelihood, this won’t change in the near future as growing benefits are realized.
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