Rambus Binary Pixel brings single-shot HDR photos to phone cameras

Most high dynamic range photography 'cheats' by merging multiple exposures into a composite image, which can lead to blurry shots. While HDR camera technology is catching up and will even let us record HDR video on our smartphones, Rambus believes its new Binary Pixel technology can achieve the effect with less waste. Its new imaging chip tries to replicate the human eye's range through setting light thresholds and oversampling the scene in both space and time. The results are more natural shadows and highlights down to the pixel level, with processing processing fast enough for video. The overall image reportedly suffers from less noise as well. Companies will have to talk to Rambus to implement Binary Pixel, although it's a considered a drop-in technology that should talk to existing processors and camera sensors, whether it's for smartphones or point-and-shoot cameras. Rambus may just want to hurry if it hopes to get noticed -- it's joining an increasingly crowded field.

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Rambus Unveils Binary Pixel Technology For Dramatically Improved Image Quality in Mobile Devices

Breakthrough technology Provides Single-Shot High Dynamic Range and Improved Low-Light Sensitivity in a Single Explosure

SUNNYVALE, CALIFORNIA AND BARCELONA, SPAIN – February 25, 2013 – Rambus Inc. (NASDAQ: RMBS), the innovative technology solutions company that brings invention to market, today unveiled breakthrough binary pixel technology that dramatically improves the quality of photos taken from mobile devices. The Rambus Binary Pixel technology includes image sensor and image processing architectures with single-shot high dynamic range (HDR) and improved low-light sensitivity for better videos and photos in any lighting condition.

"Today's compact mainstream sensors are only able to capture a fraction of what the human eye can see," said Dr. Martin Scott, chief technology officer at Rambus. "Our breakthrough binary pixel technology enables a tremendous performance improvement for compact imagers capable of ultra high-quality photos and videos from mobile devices."

As improvements are made in resolution and responsiveness, more and more consumers are using the camera functionality on their smart phone as the primary method for taking photos and capturing memories. However, high contrast scenes typical in daily life, such as bright landscapes, sunset portraits, and scenes with both sunlight and shadow, are difficult to capture with today's compact mobile sensors - the range of bright and dark details in these scenes simply exceeds the limited dynamic range of mainstream CMOS imagers.

This binary pixel technology is optimized at the pixel level to sense light similar to the human eye while maintaining comparable form factor, cost and power of today's mobile and consumer images. The results are professional-quality images and videos from mobile devices that capture the full gamut of details in dark and bright intensities.

Benefits of binary pixel technology:

· Improved image quality optimized at the pixel level

· Single-shot HDR photo and video capture operates at high-speed frame-rates

· Improved signal-to-noise performance in low-light conditions

· Extended dynamic range through variable temporal and spatial oversampling

· Silicon-proven technology for mobile form factors

· Easily integratable into existing SoC architectures

· Compatible with current CMOS image sensor process technology

The Rambus binary pixel has been demonstrated in a proof-of-concept test-chip and the technology is currently available for integration into future mobile and consumer image sensors. For additional information visit