New Qualcomm Spectra system brings 3D depth sensing to Android devices
Qualcomm launched the Clear Sight dual-camera system—which was powered by its Spectra ISP and used a combination of RGB and monochrome images sensors—in 2016. Today the company announced the second generation Spectra Module that introduces 3D computer vision to Qualcomm-powered Android devices.
The Qualcomm system is a dual-camera setup that is capable of sensing depth and motion in real time. In a smartphone's rear camera, this technology could be used in apps to track motion and measure subject distance, which could ostensibly help improve simulated shallow depth-of-field effects.
In a front-facing camera, the Qualcomm system could help improve biometric security through iris scanning or 3D facial recognition. One of the technology's advantages is the capability to capture and process image data in real time using off-the-shelf parts, unlike Google's Tango project that relies on specialized hardware.
Qualcomm hasn't yet announced any manufacturing partners yet, but given the popularity of the Qualcomm platform it's arguably only a matter of time before we'll see the technology pop up in the first Android devices.
Qualcomm First to Announce Depth-Sensing Camera Technology Designed For Android Ecosystem
— Unveils next-generation Qualcomm Spectra ISP for computer vision, extended reality and computational photography technologies—
SAN DIEGO — August 15, 2017 — Today Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ:QCOM), through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., announced an expansion to the Qualcomm® Spectra™ Module Program, capable of improved biometric authentication and high-resolution depth sensing, designed to meet growing demands of photo and video for a broad range of mobile devices and head mounted displays (HMD). This module program is built on the cutting-edge technology behind the Qualcomm® SpectraTM embedded image signal processors (ISP) family. Engineered by Qualcomm Technologies from the ground up, Qualcomm Spectra paves the way for future image quality and computer vision innovations in upcoming Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM Mobile Platforms.
"Whether used for computational photography, video recording, or for computer vision applications that require accurate motion tracking, it's clear that power efficient camera image signal processing has become more important for the next generation of mobile user experiences," said Tim Leland, vice president of product management, Qualcomm TechnologiesInc. "Our breakthrough advancements in visual quality and computer vision, combined with our family of integrated Spectra ISPs for Snapdragon, are designed to support an ecosystem of cutting edge mobile applications for our customers."
Together, the new ISPs and camera modules are engineered to support superior image quality and new computer vision use cases that utilize deep learning techniques and bokeh quality image experiences with a faster time to market for smartphone and HMD devices. The next-generation ISPs feature a new camera architecture designed for advancements in computer vision, image quality and power efficiency for the next Snapdragon mobile and VR platforms. The camera module program additions consist of a trio of camera modules, including an iris authentication module, a passive depth sensing module and an active depth sensing module.
Qualcomm Spectra Module Program
Launched last year, the Qualcomm Spectra Module Program was designed to help customers accelerate time to market for devices with stunning image quality and advanced camera technology. Last year's offerings provided customers with optimized, dual-camera module solutions that make it easy for manufacturers to produce smartphone cameras with improved low light photography and video recording with smooth zoom. Now, the camera module program is being expanded to include new camera modules capable of utilizing active sensing for superior biometric authentication, and structured light for a variety of computer vision applications that require real-time, dense depth map generation and segmentation.
Second-generation Qualcomm Spectra ISP
The second-generation Qualcomm Spectra ISP is the next family of integrated ISPs that utilizes new hardware and software architecture designed specifically for advancements in computer vision, image quality, and power efficiency in future Snapdragon platforms. It features multiframe noise reduction for superior photographic quality, along with hardware-accelerated motion compensated temporal filtering (MCTF), and inline electronic image stabilization (EIS) for superior camcorder-like video quality.
The low-power, high-performance motion tracking capabilities of the Qualcomm Spectra ISP, in addition to optimized simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithms, are designed to support new extended reality (XR) use cases for virtual and augmented reality applications that require SLAM.
The Qualcomm Spectra family of ISPs and new Qualcomm Spectra camera modules are expected to be part of the next flagship Snapdragon Mobile Platform.
Qualcomm's technologies powered the smartphone revolution and connected billions of people. We pioneered 3G and 4G – and now we are leading the way to 5G and a new era of intelligent, connected devices. Our products are revolutionizing industries, including automotive, computing, IoT, healthcare and data center, and are allowing millions of devices to connect with each other in ways never before imagined. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, all of our engineering, research and development functions, and all of our products and services businesses, including, our QCT semiconductor business. For more information, visit Qualcomm's website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.
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