STMicroelectronics Introduces Advanced Image Signal Processor

GENEVA /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- STMicroelectronics, a world leader in CMOS imaging technology, has introduced a high-performance, stand-alone image signal processor, with dual-camera support that brings DSC-like performance to mobile imaging applications. Capable of controlling the entire imaging subsystem in a mobile phone, ST's newest digital image processor supports a wide range of camera modules, including Standard Mobile Imaging Architecture-compatible (SMIA) sensors, with up to 5-megapixel resolution.

The STv0986 mobile imaging processor implements a full-featured image-correction chain (from noise reduction to smooth digital zoom) and includes a dedicated hardware JPEG encoder, with programmable quantization tables and compression factors. The advanced processing algorithms enable the STv0986 to deliver images of exceptional quality. The image signal processor supports special image-orientation effects, such as mirroring, flip, and rotation, as well as color features, including sepia (brown-shade) and black and white.

The STv0986 supports continuous video streaming rates of up to 20 (12.5) frames per second, at 3 (5) mega-pixel resolution, making the implementation of multi-shot, best-picture, and anticipation-acquisition modes straightforward. In the anticipation mode, the camera takes snapshots before and after the shutter button is pressed, allowing the user to select the preferred shot from a sequence of pictures.

The STv0986's unique twin-video-processing pipe architecture eliminates shutter delay to ensure that the still image captured matches the current viewfinder frame—what you see is what you get. The dual-pipeline architecture also delivers a true full-frame-rate camcorder mode, with simultaneous local viewfinder support and video capture through an optional 4x smooth digital true zoom.

The advanced autofocus (AF) control loop enables the STV0986 to provide still and video autofocus, with a fast lock time of 0.6 seconds. The AF system is able to control various actuator technologies, including voice-coil, piezo, and stepper motors. The STv0986 provides support for image stabilization through a combination of automatic light-sensitivity control (Auto-ISO control) and best-picture identification. ST also offers full system support for LED or Xenon flash solutions.

In addition to mobile phones, the STv0986 is suitable for use in PDAs, mobile games, security cameras, and video phones.

The STv0986 can be combined with ST's camera modules to create a complete mobile imaging system. A possible two-camera configuration includes ST's newest image signal processor in combination with the VB6851, a SMIA-compliant QXGA auto-focus camera with best-in-class module size (8.5 by 8.5 by 5.9 mm) and image quality, and the VS6555, an ultra-low-power VGA reflowable camera module, with the lens design optimized for video-conferencing applications.

The STv0986 mobile imaging processor is in volume production now, with samples priced at $4.

About STMicroelectronics
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An "unrivalled" combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, intellectual property portfolio, and strategic partners positions, the company is at the forefront of system-on-chip technology, and its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. In 2007, the company's net revenues were $10 billion.