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Monday, October 16, 2017

Sony plans its first USB3 industrial camera module

By Nick Flaherty at

Sony Europe's Image Sensing Solutions division is planning its first USB3 camera module as part of its move to CMOS image sensors.

The first of the new modules is the XCG-CG160 which has a Gigabit Ethernet interface and a 1/3-type IMX273 sensor. Sony sees this as a low-disruption way to move from CCD to Global Shutter GSCMOS to replace cameras using the highly-regarded Sony ICX445 CCD sensor. The GSCMOS camera starred shipping in January 2016.

The first module runs at 75 frames per second in SXGA resolution with 8bit colour. Black/white modules are available immediately and colour modules will enter mass production in December 2017.

A version using the USB3.0 protocol is scheduled to enter mass production by Q1 2018.

The modules are aimed at embedded applications such as print, robotics and inspection to ITS, medical and logistics, as well as being suitable for general imaging.

The XCG-CG160 provides a simple migration path from CCD to GSCMOS without having to upgrade or change architecture. The IMX273 shares comparable sensor and pixel size characteristics with the ICX445, but offers improvements in sensitivity, dynamic range, noise reduction and frame rate. These include defect-pixel correction, shading correction with both peak and average detection and area gain to automatically adjust for the target object. The module also supports 2x2 multi-region of interest, flip and binning.

The series uses a 1/2.9-type Sony Pregius GS CMOS sensor, delivering 1440 x 1080 (1.6 MP) images. The b/w module has a minimum illumination of just 0.5lx; the colour module requires just 12lx and comes with a manual, auto and one-push white balance setting. Both modules have a sensitivity of F5.6, a gain of 0 to +18 dB, a shutter speed of 60 s to 1/10,000 s.

"These cameras extract the best possible image from the IMX273 with additional performance enhancing unique features. With it, we believe, we have set the industry standard for an SXGA module," said Matt Swinney, Senior Marketing Manager, Sony Image Sensing Solutions.

Sony's v1.1 firmware is certified by Cognex VisionPro and is GigE Version 2.0 compliant; allowing both hard and software triggering, with the module able to act as a both an IEEE1588 (PTP) master and slave. The firmware uniquely allows for up to 16 action cue commands, plus acquisition sequence scheduling and GPO control.

The firmware also supports burst trigger and new event modes, as well as a reduced jitter function with single frame acquisition. An asynchronous image transfer enables a memory shot and output upon user demand, and its broadcast register write function enables synchronised camera feature controls to be implemented.
The C-mount module uses a highly compatible GPIO with 1xISO IN, 1xISO OUT and 1xTTL IN/OUT. It measures 29 x 29 x 42 mm, with a weight of 65g and has an operating temperature of -5°C to +45°C.

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