Using Dummy Pixels Patents (Class 348/245)
  • Patent number: 10375338
    Abstract: A hybrid bonded image sensor has a photodiode die with macrocells having at least one photodiode and a bond contact; a supporting circuitry die with multiple supercells, each supercell having at least one macrocell unit having a bond contact coupled to the bond contact of a macrocell of the photodiode die. Each macrocell unit lies within a supercell and has a reset transistor adapted to reset photodiodes of the macrocell of the photodiode die. Each supercell has at least one common source amplifier adapted to receive signal from the bond contact of a selected macrocell unit of the supercell, the common source amplifier coupled to drive a column line through a selectable source follower. In embodiments, the common source amplifiers of several supercells drive the selectable source follower through a distributed differential amplifier.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 1, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2019
    Assignee: OmniVision Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Zheng Yang, Hiroaki Ebihara, Chun-Ming Tang, Chao-Fang Tsai, Rui Wang, Tiejun Dai
  • Patent number: 10057529
    Abstract: A device has stacked first and second substrates. The first substrate includes pixel array having pixels arranged along surface, the second substrate includes readout circuit having first AD-conversion circuit for generating first digital signals corresponding to first signals from the pixels, first parallel-serial conversion circuit for outputting first serial signal by performing parallel-serial conversion on the first digital signals, and processing circuit for processing the first serial signal. In orthogonal projection to the surface, part of the pixel array and part of the processing circuit overlap with each other. The first AD-conversion circuit is arranged between edge of the second substrate and the processing circuit. The first parallel-serial conversion circuit is arranged between the first AD-conversion circuit and the processing circuit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 22, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 21, 2018
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Kazuhiro Saito, Takanori Yamashita, Tatsuya Ryoki, Yoshikazu Yamazaki
  • Patent number: 9993143
    Abstract: A capsule endoscope includes an image pickup device, a memory configured to store brightness information acquired by the image pickup device, and a control section configured to perform control to compare the brightness information acquired by the image pickup device with brightness information acquired by the image pickup device immediately before acquiring the brightness information and stored in the memory, cause the image pickup device to acquire brightness information when the comparison result is no greater than a threshold, compare the acquired brightness information with the brightness information acquired by the image pickup device immediately before and stored in the memory, and cause the image pickup device to pick up an image when the comparison result is greater than the threshold and cause the memory to store the picked-up image or cause an image transmitting section provided in the capsule endoscope to transmit the image to outside the capsule endoscope.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 12, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 12, 2018
    Assignee: OLYMPUS CORPORATION
    Inventor: Kei Mitsuhashi
  • Patent number: 9888836
    Abstract: An endoscope includes: a CMOS image sensor including only a vertical OB pixel region as an optical black pixel region, and a horizontal OB pixel region generation processing section that reads a photoelectric conversion signal generated in an effective pixel region in the CMOS image sensor and an OB signal generated in the vertical OB pixel region, adds the OB signal generated in the vertical OB pixel region to the beginning or end of each row of the photoelectric conversion signal which has been generated in the effective pixel region and read out for each row, and outputs a signal to which the OB signal is added.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 20, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 13, 2018
    Assignee: Olympus Corporation
    Inventors: Fumiyuki Okawa, Hidenori Hashimoto, Yasunori Matsui
  • Patent number: 9832402
    Abstract: Row and column noise calibration and correction includes obtaining pixel values from a row/column of calibration pixels and from a corresponding row/column of bright pixels. Defective calibration pixels are detected based on the pixel values of the row/column of calibration pixels. For example, calibration pixels with pixel values outside a predetermined range may be detected as defective. The pixel values of defective calibration pixels may be removed from the pixel data, or a corrected pixel value substituted in lieu thereof. An average of the pixel values of the row/column of calibration pixels is used to correct the pixel values of the corresponding row/column of bright pixels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 29, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 28, 2017
    Assignee: Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation
    Inventors: Edward Elikhis, Ping Wah Wong
  • Patent number: 9800810
    Abstract: One imaging apparatus includes a first amplifier circuit, a second amplifier circuit, and a limiter circuit that limits the output of the first amplifier circuit, and further includes a configuration to clamp the output of the limiter circuit. Moreover, another imaging apparatus includes a fully differential amplifier circuit that outputs an amplified noise signal amplified from a noise signal, and an amplified optical signal amplified from an optical signal, and an output limiting circuit that limits each of the amplitude range of the amplified noise signal and the amplitude range the amplified optical signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 12, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 24, 2017
    Assignee: CANON KABUSHIKI KAISHA
    Inventors: Shin Kikuchi, Kei Ochiai
  • Patent number: 9674437
    Abstract: The present invention provides an imaging apparatus configured to perform interval shooting for taking shots sequentially at a set shooting interval. The imaging apparatus includes a shooting parameter setting unit and the shooting parameter setting limiting unit. The shooting parameter setting unit sets time-related shooting parameters including a shooting interval of the interval shooting. Further, the shooting parameter setting unit determines the shooting situation or shooting setting. The shooting parameter setting limiting unit limits a settable range of a time-related shooting parameter to be set by the shooting parameter setting unit to a different range according to the shooting situation or the shooting setting determined by the shooting parameter setting unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 6, 2017
    Assignee: CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD.
    Inventor: Hitoshi Tanaka
  • Patent number: 9462179
    Abstract: A method of focusing an image sensor includes scanning a first portion of an image frame from an image sensor a first time at a first rate to produce first focus data. A second portion of the image frame from the image sensor is scanned at a second rate to read image data from the second portion. The first rate is greater than the second rate. The first portion of the image frame is scanned a second time at the first rate to produce second focus data. The first focus data and the second focus data are compared, and the focus of a lens is adjusted in response to the comparison of the first focus data and the second focus data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 25, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 4, 2016
    Assignee: OmniVision Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Tiejun Dai, Eiichi Funatsu, Donghui Wu, Zheng Yang, Xiao Xie
  • Patent number: 9349762
    Abstract: A pixel array for an image sensor is provided. The pixel array includes a dark pixel which is configured to detect a local dark current in an active pixel block. The dark pixel is distinguished from an optical black pixel block which is arranged around the active pixel block and is configured to detect a global dark current. The pixel array is configured to compensate for dark shading, which is not compensated through global dark current compensation, using the local dark current output from the dark pixel which is arranged within the active pixel block.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 24, 2016
    Assignee: SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Young Sung Cho, Dong Jae Lee, Tae Chan Kim, Tomer Livneh
  • Patent number: 9252184
    Abstract: A solid-state imaging apparatus includes a pixel array in which pixels are arranged in a matrix. Each pixel includes a photoelectric conversion element, a transfer transistor, an amplifier transistor, and a reset transistor. The pixel array an effective pixel part in which light enters the photoelectric conversion element and which is configured to output a video signal, an optical black pixel part in which the photoelectric conversion element is shielded from light and which is configured to output a reference signal, and a dummy pixel part. Of pixels connected to the same signal output line, effective pixels of the effective pixel part are configured such that a first potential is supplied from the reset transistor to a floating diffusion part, and clipping pixels of the dummy pixel part are configured such that a second potential is supplied from the reset transistor to the floating diffusion part.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 2013
    Date of Patent: February 2, 2016
    Assignee: PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO., LTD.
    Inventor: Hiroyuki Amikawa
  • Patent number: 9148605
    Abstract: A sensing device is provided. The sensing device includes a plurality of pixel groups and a readout circuit. The pixel groups are arranged on a plurality of rows and a plurality of columns to form a pixel array. The pixel groups include a first pixel group and a second pixel group which are arranged on the different rows and the same column. The readout circuit is coupled to the pixel groups. When the first pixel group is triggered to perform a readout operation to generate a first sensing signal, the second pixel group performs a coupling operation to generate a reference signal. The readout circuit performs a subtraction operation based on the first sensing signal and the reference signal to generate a first readout data corresponding to the readout operation of the first pixel group.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 17, 2014
    Date of Patent: September 29, 2015
    Assignee: HIMAX IMAGING LIMITED
    Inventor: Jia-Shyang Wang
  • Patent number: 9124829
    Abstract: Providing for analog averaging of optical black pixels of an image sensor is described herein. By way of example, optical black pixel signals can be output by a row of pixels and provided in a parallel manner to a readout circuit. The readout circuit can include an averaging circuit that, when activated, generates an analog average of signals received at the readout circuit. The analog average can be sampled at any suitable signal output of the readout circuit, or multiple samples can be acquired to mitigate temporal noise, improve yield, and so on. By utilizing analog averaging, optical black pixel information can be obtained much more quickly than with digital counterparts, and optical black pixels can be fully utilized, as well as utilized more flexibly, in generating the black pixel output. Further sensor die size can be reduced, by replacing digital adders, dividers or shifters with the averaging circuit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 26, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 1, 2015
    Assignee: AltaSens, Inc.
    Inventor: Gaurang Patel
  • Patent number: 9123104
    Abstract: Apparatus and methods reduce common-mode error. An integrated circuit includes a plurality of signal channels, a first proxy channel, and a subtraction block. The signal channels are configured to receive a plurality of input signals and to generate a plurality of output signals, and each of the signal channels has a substantially similar circuit topology. The first proxy channel has a substantially similar circuit topology as the plurality of signal channels, and includes an output that can vary in relation to a common-mode error of the signal channels. The subtraction block is configured to generate a plurality of modified output signals by using the output of the first proxy channel to reduce the common-mode error of the plurality of output signal channels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 2014
    Date of Patent: September 1, 2015
    Assignee: ANALOG DEVICES, INC.
    Inventors: Yoshinori Kusuda, Gary Robert Carreau, Michael C. Coln
  • Patent number: 9106854
    Abstract: A reference pixel sensor cell (e.g., global shutter) with hold node for leakage cancellation, methods of manufacture and design structure is provided. A pixel array includes one or more reference pixel sensor cells dispersed locally throughout active light sensing regions. The one or more reference pixel sensor cells provides a reference signal used to correct for photon generated leakage signals which vary by locality within the active light sensing regions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 1, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2015
    Assignee: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION
    Inventors: James W. Adkisson, John J. Ellis-Monaghan, Richard J. Rassel
  • Patent number: 9049395
    Abstract: A processing circuit for an X-ray sensor for collecting at least a first pixel information of a first pixel and a second pixel information of a second pixel is provided. The processing circuit comprises an amplifier (112), a feedback loop (113) and a first collecting device (111). It is provided a compensation for a non-linearity in the pixels or in the pixel circuits (100, 200) by applying an inverse non-linearity (125) in the periphery of the X-ray sensor. A processing circuit (110) may provide a copy of a pixel voltage and/or of a pixel charge. In the case of pixel charge a non-linear characteristic of a pixel capacitance may be compensated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 16, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 2, 2015
    Assignee: Trixell
    Inventors: Roelf Van Der Wal, Lex Alving, Walter Ruetten
  • Patent number: 9039208
    Abstract: The invention provides, in some aspects, devices for image acquisition that use seals between concentrically disposed portions of an enclosure and an optics assembly in order to protect image acquisition components from the surrounding environment while providing adequate friction for both adjusting and locking focus. Such devices can include an image capture medium that is disposed within an enclosure and an optics assembly that is also disposed within that enclosure. The optics assembly, which includes at least a lens, can have a cylindrical outer diameter along at least a portion of its length that is received within the enclosure along a length that has a corresponding cylindrical inner diameter. A first seal is disposed between, and in contact with, the optics assembly and the enclosure. That seal permits rotation of the optics assembly for purposes of focusing the lens, while preventing contamination from the environment from entering into the enclosure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 26, 2015
    Assignee: Cognex Corporation
    Inventors: George Costigan, Steven Goodspeed, Robert Tremblay, John Keating, Brian Phillips, James Hoffmaster
  • Patent number: 9025056
    Abstract: A solid-state imaging element includes: a pixel section having a plurality of pixels arranged in a matrix form, each of the pixels converting an optical signal into an electric signal and storing the electric signal according to exposure time; a dummy pixel section having dummy pixels arranged in a matrix form; and pixel drive sections adapted to control the pixel operations in such a manner as to operate an electronic shutter on and read the pixel section and dummy pixel section, wherein when an electronic rolling shutter is operated in which the pixels are shuttered row by row, the pixel drive sections judge whether the current and next frames are shuttered concurrently and in parallel so as to determine in which horizontal read period the dummy pixel section is to be shuttered.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 5, 2015
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventor: Hiroaki Ebihara
  • Patent number: 8975569
    Abstract: A solid-state imaging device is configured such that an effective pixel and a reference pixel are connected to first and second signal lines, respectively. The solid-state imaging device includes a difference signal output unit configured to perform difference processing on a signal output from a first amplifying transistor included in the effective pixel and a signal output from a second amplifying transistor included in the reference pixel. The difference signal output unit is provided separately from the first and second amplifying transistors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 2012
    Date of Patent: March 10, 2015
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Kazuo Yamazaki
  • Patent number: 8963818
    Abstract: A display panel includes a plurality of data lines, a plurality of gate lines, a plurality of dummy loads, a pad portion and a fanout portion. The data lines are disposed in a display area, on which a plurality of pixels are disposed. The gate lines are disposed in the display area and cross the data lines. The dummy loads are disposed in a peripheral area surrounding the display area. The pad portion is disposed in the peripheral area and includes signal pads and dummy pads. The fanout portion includes a first fanout line portion connecting the data lines to the signal pads, and a second fanout line portion connecting the dummy loads to the dummy pads.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 2011
    Date of Patent: February 24, 2015
    Assignee: Samsung Display Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Chang-Sin Kim, Byeong-Doo Kang, Yong-Soon Lee, Ock-Jin Kim, Sang-Gon Lee
  • Patent number: 8957996
    Abstract: A solid-state imaging device includes: a pixel unit in which a plurality of pixels that perform photoelectric conversion are arranged in the form of a matrix; a pixel signal reading unit performing reading of a pixel signal in a signal line from the pixel unit in the unit of plural pixels, and performing column signal processing with respect to an input signal; and an evaluation pattern generation unit receiving a control signal and a signal line interception signal and generating a pseudo-evaluation pattern according to the control signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2011
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2015
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventors: Takumi Kajihara, Junichi Inutsuka
  • Patent number: 8922679
    Abstract: A solid-state imaging device includes: a pixel array section having an effective pixel region formed by a plurality of pixels which are disposed in the form of a matrix, each of which includes a photoelectric conversion device and a transistor reading out an electric charge obtained by photoelectric conversion at the photoelectric conversion device, and which are illuminated by light and a light-shielded pixel region formed by a plurality of pixels which are shielded from light; a row scan section selecting and controlling each row of pixels of the pixel array section to output a signal from each of the pixels of the selected row of pixels to a column signal line provided in association with the row of pixels; and an A-D conversion section converting the signal output from the signal line into a digital signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 2012
    Date of Patent: December 30, 2014
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventor: Norihiro Nikai
  • Patent number: 8917338
    Abstract: A solid-state imaging device includes a light blocking layer formed in an active pixel region of a pixel region on a light incident side so as to surround a photoelectric conversion unit of each pixel and formed in an extending manner to an optical black region, a concave portion formed so as to be surrounded by the light blocking layer in a region corresponding to the photoelectric conversion unit, a first refractive index layer formed on surfaces of the light blocking layer and the concave portion and having a relatively low refractive index, a second refractive index layer formed on the first refractive index layer so as to be buried in the concave portion and having a relatively high refractive index, and an anti-flare layer formed on the first refractive index layer in the optical black region.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 2011
    Date of Patent: December 23, 2014
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventors: Yoichi Otsuka, Akiko Ogino
  • Patent number: 8908067
    Abstract: An image sensor may be provided that includes an image pixel array, analog column circuitry and digital column circuitry. The digital column circuitry may extract a systematic analog signal offset from data received from the analog column circuitry. The digital column circuitry may generate analog signal offset correction values based on the systematic analog signal offsets and provide the analog signal offset correction values to the analog column circuitry. The analog column circuitry may remove signal offsets from subsequently read out image data from the image pixel array using the analog signal offset correction values provided by the digital column circuitry. The image pixel array may include image pixels having color filters of various colors. The digital column circuitry may generate analog signal offset correction values corresponding to each of the various colors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 24, 2012
    Date of Patent: December 9, 2014
    Assignee: Aptina Imaging Corporation
    Inventor: Shinichiro Matsuo
  • Patent number: 8890982
    Abstract: A solid-state imaging device includes first and second sets of pixels. The first pixels have light reception elements and a discharging unit that discharges charge corresponding to light received by the first pixels. The second pixels have corresponding light reception elements but are covered with a light shielding film. Signals stored in the second light reception elements are read to a next stage when the discharging units corresponding to the first light reception elements are enabled.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 18, 2014
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventors: Akihiko Kato, Yusuke Oike
  • Patent number: 8878965
    Abstract: A black level adjustment method for a CMOS image sensor is provided. The CMOS image sensor has a pixel array with dark rows and active rows. The method has the following steps of: computing an average value of pixels from the dark rows, wherein the average value is in the form of an integer and a fraction; calculating a black level control (BLC) offset value according to the integer; generating a dithering mask based on the fraction; applying the dithering mask to pixels from the active rows; and adding the calculated BLC offset value to the dithered pixels from the active rows to generate resulting pixels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2014
    Assignee: Himax Imaging Limited
    Inventors: Po-Chang Chen, Yuan-Chih Peng
  • Patent number: 8878971
    Abstract: An image sensing apparatus comprises: an output unit which includes an output line group, a plurality of difference circuits, a first dummy line, and a second dummy line, and wherein the output line group is interposed between the first dummy line and the second dummy line, a readout unit includes a plurality of memory circuits, each of the plurality of memory circuits includes a first holding capacitance and a second holding capacitance, a gain determined by a ratio of a capacitance value of the first holding capacitance and a capacitance value of a first output line is applied to the first signal output to the first output line, and a gain determined by a ratio of a capacitance value of the second holding capacitance and a capacitance value of a second output line is applied to the second signal output to the second output line.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 24, 2012
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2014
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Tatsuya Ryoki, Toru Koizumi
  • Patent number: 8854507
    Abstract: A solid-state imaging device 1 according to an embodiment of the invention includes: pixel units P(x, y) each of which includes a photoelectric conversion element and an amplifying unit for a pixel unit and which are two-dimensionally arranged; at least one row of optical black units Pob(x, y) each of which includes a photoelectric conversion element, an amplifying unit for a pixel unit, and a light shielding film that covers the photoelectric conversion element, the photoelectric conversion element and the amplifying unit for a pixel unit being the same as those of the pixel unit P(x, y); and at least one row of optical gray units Pog(x, y) each of which includes an amplifying unit for a pixel unit which is the same as that of the pixel unit and to which a reference voltage is input. The value of the reference voltage is less than the value of the output signal from the photoelectric conversion element in a saturated state.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 26, 2010
    Date of Patent: October 7, 2014
    Assignee: Hamamatsu Photonics K.K.
    Inventors: Tasuku Joboji, Yukinobu Sugiyama, Haruyoshi Toyoda, Munenori Takumi
  • Patent number: 8823838
    Abstract: An image pickup system includes an image pickup apparatus in which, photoelectric conversion cells are arranged two-dimensionally, and at least some of the photoelectric conversion cells are arranged to output a signal for detecting an amount of defocus. The photoelectric conversion cells which output the signal for detecting the amount defocus form at least two photoelectric conversion cell groups, each receiving a light beam from a pupil area having different area. Each photoelectric conversion cell group has a plurality of photoelectric conversion cell columns. The image pickup system includes a calculating section which has an AF mode which generates a defocus signal by comparing mutually the signals for detecting the amount of defocus which have been output from the two photoelectric conversion cell groups, and a correction section which corrects the signal for detecting the amount of defocus, from information related to distortion of the taking lens.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 17, 2011
    Date of Patent: September 2, 2014
    Assignee: Olympus Corporation
    Inventor: Hisashi Goto
  • Patent number: 8816265
    Abstract: A solid-state image pickup device includes a plurality of effective pixels each including a photoelectric conversion element and an OB pixel that is provided outside of an area where the effective pixels are formed and obtains the same output with a dark output of the effective pixel. Each of the effective pixels includes a first signal read-out circuit formed on a semiconductor substrate. The OB pixel includes a second signal read-out circuit formed on the semiconductor substrate and a capacitor connected to an input node of the second signal read-out circuit. The second signal read-out circuit has the same configuration as the first signal read-out circuit. A capacitance value of the capacitor is a value that renders the capacitance value at the input node of the first signal read-out circuit and the capacitance value at the input node of the second signal read-out circuit to be substantially equal to each other.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 2011
    Date of Patent: August 26, 2014
    Assignee: FUJIFILM Corporation
    Inventor: Takashi Goto
  • Patent number: 8804017
    Abstract: According to one embodiment, a solid-state imaging device includes a VOB region, an effective pixel region, a comparator, a holder, and a drive controller. The effective pixel region outputs the reset signal, and an image signal to the vertical signal line. The comparator compares the reset signal transferred from the VOB region through the vertical signal line with a reference signal, and determining whether the reset signal is within a digital level range. The holder is capable of holding either a value representing a first result or a value representing a second result, according to a determination result of the comparator. The drive controller varies a pulse timing period according to the value held by the holder, and automatically sets the period when the reset signal is read from the effective pixel region to the vertical signal line. A voltage of the vertical signal line is clamped in the period.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2011
    Date of Patent: August 12, 2014
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba
    Inventors: Maki Sato, Kazuhide Sugiura
  • Patent number: 8780236
    Abstract: Provided is an imaging apparatus including an image sensor. In the image sensor that includes a valid pixel area in which a plurality of valid pixels each having a photoelectric conversion unit is disposed, a first reference pixel area in which a plurality of first reference pixels each having a light-shielded photoelectric conversion unit is disposed, and a second reference pixel area in which a plurality of second reference pixels each having no photoelectric conversion unit is disposed, when outputs of the plurality of valid pixels are added to be read, outputs of the plurality of first reference pixels are added by the addition unit to be read, and outputs of the plurality of second reference pixels are read without being added by the addition unit. Thus, noises can be effectively corrected even in the small number of invalid pixels areas.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2014
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Mie Ishii
  • Patent number: 8698922
    Abstract: A technique for obtaining a corrected pixel value is disclosed. The technique includes measuring a first dark current of a dark calibration pixel of a pixel array and measuring a second dark current of an imaging pixel of the pixel array. A dark current ratio is calculated based on the first dark current and the second dark current. An image charge is acquired with the imaging pixel where the image charge is accumulated over a first time period. A charge is acquired with the dark calibration pixel where the charge is accumulated over a second time period. The second time period is approximately equal to the first time period divided by the dark current ratio. A corrected imaging pixel value is calculated using a first readout from the imaging pixel and a second readout from the dark calibration pixel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 14, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 15, 2014
    Assignee: Omni Vision Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Guangbin Zhang
  • Patent number: 8629923
    Abstract: A solid-state imaging element includes: a pixel section having a plurality of pixels arranged in a matrix form, each of the pixels converting an optical signal into an electric signal and storing the electric signal according to exposure time; a dummy pixel section having dummy pixels arranged in a matrix form; and pixel drive sections adapted to control the pixel operations in such a manner as to operate an electronic shutter on and read the pixel section and dummy pixel section, wherein when an electronic rolling shutter is operated in which the pixels are shuttered row by row, the pixel drive sections judge whether the current and next frames are shuttered concurrently and in parallel so as to determine in which horizontal read period the dummy pixel section is to be shuttered.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 2010
    Date of Patent: January 14, 2014
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventor: Hiroaki Ebihara
  • Patent number: 8610802
    Abstract: A solid-state imaging device having within a pixel region where pixels containing photoelectric conversion device are two-dimensionally arranged, a plurality of noise extracting pixels for outputting a noise signal not depending on incident light amount provided in an effective pixel region from which image signal associated with object image is outputted, disposed in a manner scattered into two dimensions so that, taking N×N (N being an integer of 2 or more) pixels within the effective pixel region as unit block, at least one is provided in each row and in each column within that unit block.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 1, 2008
    Date of Patent: December 17, 2013
    Assignee: Olympus Corporation
    Inventor: Yuichi Gomi
  • Patent number: 8587699
    Abstract: A solid state imaging device including: a pixel portion having a plurality of pixels arrayed two-dimensionally and including an effective pixel portion and a dummy pixel portion; a timing generator for generating address information for reading signals of pixels of the pixel portion and timing signals for reading; a column decoder; a column selection circuit for generating transfer signals and reset signals used for control for reading signals of pixels in the column portions of the pixel portion by the plurality of line selection signals output from the column decoder based on the timing signals and selecting column portions of pixels in an effective portion and a dummy portion of the pixel portion; and a transfer circuit for reading signals of corresponding pixels based on the transfer signals and reset signals output from the column selection circuit, then transferring signals of read pixels by the row signal lines.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 19, 2013
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventor: Keigo Aoki
  • Patent number: 8576309
    Abstract: A pixel defect correction device includes: a defect determining section determining whether a pixel of interest of an image, in which pixels each having a pixel value are arrayed in a two-dimensional manner, is a defect of the image; a gradient detecting section detecting a gradient or an edge in a processing region, which includes pixels with the pixel of interest in the middle, based on values of at least peripheral pixels around the pixel of interest which are included in the processing region; a correction value acquisition section selecting a pixel, which is used for acquisition of a correction value of the pixel of interest, according to the detected gradient or edge and acquiring the correction value from a value of the selected pixel; and a defective pixel replacing section replacing the value of the pixel of interest with the correction value when the pixel of interest is determined to be a defect.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 13, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2013
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventor: Jun Hashizume
  • Patent number: 8576305
    Abstract: An image pickup apparatus includes a solid-state image pickup device including a plurality of pixels arranged in a two-dimensional array, a circuit necessary for the pixel structure being shared between the pixels of a predetermined number having the same arrangement pattern; correction value generating means for generating a correction value for the pixel data read out from the pixel position of each pixel having the same arrangement pattern, the correction value being used for correcting the nonuniformity in pixel characteristics caused by a difference in position between the pixels in the arrangement pattern; and correcting means for correcting each pixel data read out from the solid-state image pickup device on the basis of the correction value for the corresponding pixel data, generated by the correction value generating means.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2013
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventor: Masaya Kinoshita
  • Patent number: 8547455
    Abstract: An image processing circuit includes an analogue front-end (AFE) processing unit, comprising a horizontal driver, an image-capturing unit, a voltage current regulation unit, and a dummy loading device. The image-capturing unit is driven by the horizontal driver. The voltage current regulation unit at least provides a voltage and a current to the AFE processing unit. The dummy loading device bears an inrush current noise of the current, connected to an output terminal of the voltage current regulation unit. During a predetermined time section just before a start of transmitting a horizontal shift clock by the AFE processing unit to the image-capturing unit, the dummy loading device is set at a turned-on state within the predetermined time section, and set at a turned-off state other than the predetermined time section.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 2012
    Date of Patent: October 1, 2013
    Assignee: Novatek Microelectronics Corp.
    Inventors: Min-Hui Hung, Chung-Chih Luo
  • Patent number: 8508629
    Abstract: A CMOS image sensor includes an image pixel array, a dark pixel array, data bit liens, reference bit lines, a driver, comparators, and analog-to-digital converter (“ADC”) circuits. The image pixel array generates analog image signals in response to incident light. The dark pixel array generates analog black reference signals for analog black level calibration of the analog image signals. In one embodiment, the data bit lines each coupled to a different column of image pixels of the image pixel array and the reference bit lines each coupled to a different column of black reference pixels within the dark pixel array. The driver is coupled to the reference bit lines to drive an analog black reference signal. The comparators each couple to one of the data bit lines and each coupled to an output of the driver and offset the analog image signals with the analog black reference signals in an analog domain. The ADC circuits each coupled to an output of a comparator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 8, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 13, 2013
    Assignee: OmniVision Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Yaowu Mo, Chen Xu
  • Patent number: 8488028
    Abstract: According to one embodiment, a solid state imaging device includes a pixel region to be used for generating pixels, a black reference region provided outside the pixel region, and a dummy region provided between the black reference region and the pixel region, and including a light shielding pattern configured to shield the black reference against light coming from the pixel region.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2013
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba
    Inventor: Hidetoshi Koike
  • Patent number: 8488026
    Abstract: An image capturing system includes: a first noise reduction unit which roughly removes the effects of an edge component by performing edge-preserving adaptive noise reduction processing on a target pixel within a local region including the target pixel and the neighboring pixels extracted from an image signal acquired from a CCD; a noise estimation unit which dynamically estimates the noise amount with respect to the target pixel based upon the target pixel value thus subjected to the noise reduction processing by the first noise reduction unit; and a second noise reduction unit which performs noise reduction processing on the target pixel based upon the target pixel value thus subjected to the noise reduction processing by the first noise reduction unit and the noise amount thus estimated by the noise estimation unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 14, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2013
    Assignee: Olympus Corporation
    Inventor: Takao Tsuruoka
  • Patent number: 8482647
    Abstract: A CMOS image sensor includes: a plurality of CDS/PGAs (correlating double sampling/programmable gain amplifiers) for processing output signals of pixels corresponding to same colors on different paths; and an offset difference removing part for removing offset difference that occurs when the same color signals are processed on the different paths, wherein the offset difference removing part includes: a dummy pixel array where light is shielded; a unit for reading signals of the dummy pixel array through the CDS/PGAs and storing average offset values for each path; and a signal synthesizing unit for synthesizing the average offset values and signals of an effective pixel array, which are read through the respective CDS/PGAs, and outputting signals of which offset difference is removed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 9, 2013
    Assignee: Intellectual Ventures II LLC
    Inventors: Nam-Ryeol Kim, Song-Yl Kim, Chang-Min Bae, Hack-Soo Oh
  • Patent number: 8482639
    Abstract: An imaging sensor pixel array includes a semiconductor substrate, a plurality of active pixels and at least one black reference pixel. The plurality of active pixels are disposed in the semiconductor substrate for capturing an image. Each of the active pixels includes a first region for receiving light including a p-n junction for accumulating an image charge and active pixel circuitry coupled to the first region to readout the image charge. The black reference pixel is also disposed within the semiconductor substrate for generating a black level reference value. The black reference pixel includes a second region for receiving light without a p-n junction and black pixel circuitry coupled to the photodiode region without the p-n junction to readout a black level reference signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 8, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 9, 2013
    Assignee: OmniVision Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Hsin-Chih Tai, Vincent Venezia, Duli Mao, Howard E. Rhodes
  • Patent number: 8462235
    Abstract: A method and system is for limiting the x-droop effect in the digital image captured with solid state image sensors with a correction mechanism which instead of using only correction values from the same column to which the correction is applied, also takes the neighboring pixels into account to provide an averaged value to aid in the reduction of temporal and fixed noise contributions associated with the readout of a single pixel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2013
    Assignee: STMicroelectronics (Research & Development) Limited
    Inventor: John Kevin Moore
  • Patent number: 8445838
    Abstract: A method for generating a deselect mapping for a focal plane array according to one embodiment includes gathering a data set for a focal plane array when exposed to light or radiation from a first known target; analyzing the data set for determining which pixels or subpixels of the focal plane array to add to a deselect mapping; adding the pixels or subpixels to the deselect mapping based on the analysis; and storing the deselect mapping. A method for gathering data using a focal plane array according to another embodiment includes deselecting pixels or subpixels based on a deselect mapping; gathering a data set using pixels or subpixels in a focal plane array that are not deselected upon exposure thereof to light or radiation from a target of interest; and outputting the data set.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2013
    Assignee: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC
    Inventors: Jay V. Bixler, Timothy G. Brandt, James L. Conger, Janice K. Lawson
  • Patent number: 8427542
    Abstract: An image calibration method includes: (a) sensing at least one target pixel of a sensing row from an effective pixel region of an image sensor to generate at least one target pixel value; (b) sensing at least one reference pixel of a shading region in the image sensor to generate a calibration value, wherein the reference pixel and the sensing row do not belong to the same row; and (c) referring to the calibration value to calibrate and output the target pixel value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 23, 2013
    Assignee: PixArt Imaging Inc.
    Inventors: Cheng-Chung Chou, Yi-Hsien Ko, Wei-Ting Chan
  • Patent number: 8411174
    Abstract: An image sensor having an array of pixel cells, each including a photo-conversion device. The array has first, second, and third groups of pixel cells. The first group of pixel cells receives light and the second and third groups are shielded from light. Each pixel cell of the second group is configured to output a black reference signal for determining a black level of the array. Each pixel cell of the third group has at least one first transistor coupled to the photo-conversion device, and each transistor coupled to the photo-conversion device has a gate coupled to a power supply voltage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 7, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 2, 2013
    Assignee: Micron Technology, Inc.
    Inventor: Ilia Ovsiannikov
  • Patent number: RE44857
    Abstract: An image sensing apparatus, having an image sensor for sensing an image of an object and an analog-digital converter which operates at a predetermined frequency and converts an analog signal read from the image sensor to a digital signal, controls the relationship between a phase of the analog signal read from the image sensor and a phase of a timing signal for operating the analog-digital converter in accordance with the peripheral condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 22, 2014
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Tatsuyuki Tokunaga
  • Patent number: RE46551
    Abstract: A plurality of pixels PX include effective pixels and optical black pixels. Signal lines VL are provided corresponding to each column of the pixels PX and supplied with output signals of the pixels PX of the corresponding column. Clip transistors CL are provided corresponding to the respective signal lines VL and limit a potential of the corresponding vertical signal lines VL based on a gate potential. At least in a predetermined operating mode, a potential Vclip_dark is supplied to a gate of one of the clip transistors CL corresponding to at least one pixel column formed of the optical black pixels when reading a noise level from the pixels PX corresponding to the clip transistors CL and when reading a data level from the pixels PX corresponding to the clip transistors CL.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 2, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 12, 2017
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Toru Shima
  • Patent number: RE47765
    Abstract: A plurality of pixels PX include effective pixels and optical black pixels. Signal lines VL are provided corresponding to each column of the pixels PX and supplied with output signals of the pixels PX of the corresponding column. Clip transistors CL are provided corresponding to the respective signal lines VL and limit a potential of the corresponding vertical signal lines VL based on a gate potential. At least in a predetermined operating mode, a potential Vclip_dark is supplied to a gate of one of the clip transistors CL corresponding to at least one pixel column formed of the optical black pixels when reading a noise level from the pixels PX corresponding to the clip transistors CL and when reading a data level from the pixels PX corresponding to the clip transistors CL.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 10, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 10, 2019
    Assignee: NIKON CORPORATION
    Inventor: Toru Shima