New Rambus Tech Makes Single-Shot HDR Mobile Photography Possible

Rambus made its biggest unveiling in the field of mobile photography, with the new Binary Pixel technology. When implemented into mobile camera sensors and imaging chips, the technology gives phones the ability to capture high dynamic range (HDR) images in a single shot. Current phone HDR imaging technologies rely on capturing the same scene multiple time with different ranges, which results in unintended blurriness (due to inter-frame latency), and post-processing time.

Binary Pixel technology promises to let phones capture HDR images with a single shot. It does so by replicating the human eye's variable light sensitivity range, and oversampling. Resulting images don't suffer blurryness, and post-processing time is significantly lower than on current methods. Since Rambus is more into R&D than actual chipmaking, the technology will be offered as licenses to existing phone camera hardware makers.

Rambus Inc., the innovative technology solutions company that brings invention to market, today unveiled breakthrough binary pixel technology that dramatically improves the quality of photos taken from mobile devices. The Rambus Binary Pixel technology includes image sensor and image processing architectures with single-shot high dynamic range (HDR) and improved low-light sensitivity for better videos and photos in any lighting condition.

"Today's compact mainstream sensors are only able to capture a fraction of what the human eye can see," said Dr. Martin Scott, chief technology officer at Rambus. "Our breakthrough binary pixel technology enables a tremendous performance improvement for compact imagers capable of ultra high-quality photos and videos from mobile devices."

As improvements are made in resolution and responsiveness, more and more consumers are using the camera functionality on their smart phone as the primary method for taking photos and capturing memories. However, high contrast scenes typical in daily life, such as bright landscapes, sunset portraits, and scenes with both sunlight and shadow, are difficult to capture with today's compact mobile sensors - the range of bright and dark details in these scenes simply exceeds the limited dynamic range of mainstream CMOS imagers.

This binary pixel technology is optimized at the pixel level to sense light similar to the human eye while maintaining comparable form factor, cost and power of today's mobile and consumer images. The results are professional-quality images and videos from mobile devices that capture the full gamut of details in dark and bright intensities.

Benefits of binary pixel technology:

  • Improved image quality optimized at the pixel level
  • Single-shot HDR photo and video capture operates at high-speed frame-rates
  • Improved signal-to-noise performance in low-light conditions
  • Extended dynamic range through variable temporal and spatial oversampling
  • Silicon-proven technology for mobile form factors
  • Easily integratable into existing SoC architectures
  • Compatible with current CMOS image sensor process technology

The Rambus binary pixel has been demonstrated in a proof-of-concept test-chip and the technology is currently available for integration into future mobile and consumer image sensors.