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The human eye is an incredible sensor: it can, as an example, adapt to a huge variety of illumination conditions. On the other hand, conventional cameras typically are blinded by light or sudden scene intensity change. For automotive applications where a human-like vision capability is required, the image sensor Dynamic Range (DR), defined by the ratio of the maximum non-saturating signal to the minimum detectable signal, is a quality index of paramount importance. CMOS image sensors have become increasingly popular for electronic imaging applications, challenging and eventually overtaking Charge-Coupled Devices (CCD's) in the solid-state camera market. In fact, CMOS devices can offer several advantages over CCD-based imagers, including enhanced functionalities with individual pixel signal processing, lower power consumption and lower cost.
Development carried out in the SOI group led to a high-dynamic range camera designed with a standard CMOS technology. Characterization under white light conditions has shown that the sensor can reach a very high dynamic range (up to 132 dB) which is, so far, one of the highest values reported in the literature.
- Automotive: driver assistance
- Industrial control: laser cutting control, soldering
- Surveillance: outdoor high-contrast scenes