top of page

Exploring Shikino's Embedded Camera Modules: A Game-Changer in Imaging Technology



Image of Shikino Embedded camera Modules

Understanding Embedded Camera Modules

Embedded camera modules are integral components in a multitude of modern electronic devices, offering capabilities that extend far beyond simple image capture. At their core, these modules comprise several key elements: lenses, image sensors, and often an Image Signal Processor (ISP). Each component plays a crucial role in transforming light into digital information that can be processed, analysed, and utilised across various applications.


Lens and Image Sensor: The lens focuses light onto the image sensor, which is essentially the eye of the camera. Image sensors, typically CMOS or CCD, capture this light and convert it into electrical signals. The choice between CMOS and CCD sensors is pivotal, as it influences the module's light sensitivity, power consumption, and overall image quality. Shikino's embedded camera modules predominantly utilise CMOS sensors due to their lower power requirements and greater versatility, making them suitable for a wide range of industrial and consumer applications.


Image Signal Processor (ISP): An often underappreciated yet critical component is the ISP. The role of the ISP is to take the raw signals from the image sensor and convert them into a usable image or video. This process involves adjusting exposure, white balance, and colour, as well as performing more complex operations such as noise reduction and sharpness enhancement. Shikino distinguishes its embedded camera modules by incorporating advanced ISPs, ensuring high-quality image processing directly within the module. This integrated approach not only simplifies the design of the end device but also enhances the performance and reliability of the camera system.


Interface Types: Embedded camera modules interface with the host device through various protocols such as USB, MIPI, Parallel, and others. Each interface type offers its advantages in terms of data transfer rates, connectivity, and ease of integration. Shikino's embedded camera modules support a broad spectrum of interfaces, catering to the specific needs of different applications. For instance, MIPI interfaces are favoured for their high-speed data transmission capabilities, making them ideal for applications requiring fast image processing, such as real-time video surveillance or advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).


Image showing components of embedded camera module

Customisation and Integration Flexibility

One of the standout features of Shikino's embedded camera modules is their unparalleled customisation and integration flexibility. This adaptability is crucial in meeting the diverse needs of applications across sectors, ranging from industrial automation to consumer electronics and beyond.


Semi-Custom Design: Shikino's semi-custom approach allows for the modification of standard camera modules to suit specific requirements. This process can involve changes to the lens holder to make it compatible with high-temperature environments, alterations to the base material for enhanced durability, or the addition of specific connectors to facilitate easier integration into existing systems. Additionally, adjustments such as sensor rotation or firmware customisation can be made to optimise the camera module for particular use cases. This semi-custom strategy strikes a balance between cost-efficiency and tailored design, ensuring that clients receive a product that meets their needs without the necessity for ground-up design work.


Full-Custom Design: For applications where unique specifications are paramount, Shikino offers full-custom design services. This bespoke approach begins with a comprehensive consultation process, where the client's requirements for resolution, angle of view, frame rate, and other critical specifications are defined. Shikino's engineers then design and produce a camera module from scratch, selecting the appropriate lens, sensor, and interface, and even developing custom firmware to meet these requirements. The full-custom service is particularly valuable for applications requiring highly specialised imaging capabilities that off-the-shelf products cannot provide. (We've enjoyed impressive turnaround times for custom firmware for an Android specific application as an example)


Extensive Lens Line-up: The lens is a critical component of any camera module, influencing the quality and characteristics of the captured image. Shikino's extensive lens line-up ensures that clients can select the most suitable lens for their application, whether the need is for wide-angle views, minimal distortion, or specific focal lengths. The availability of a wide range of lenses, combined with Shikino's expertise in lens selection, means that each camera module can be optimised for its intended application, from precision industrial inspection to immersive consumer devices.


Technical Support and Quality Assurance

At the heart of Shikino's commitment to delivering exceptional embedded camera modules is a robust framework of technical support and quality assurance. This ensures that each module not only meets the high standards expected by clients but also supports them through every step of integration and deployment.


Expert Technical Support Team: Shikino recognises the complexity involved in selecting and integrating camera modules into various applications. To navigate these challenges, they have established a team of camera specialists dedicated to providing clients with expert advice and support. This team plays a pivotal role in assisting customers from the initial consultation phase, through lens and sensor selection, to the optimisation of image processing according to the specific environmental conditions of the application. Shikino's support extends beyond mere technical guidance, offering a partnership to solve complex imaging challenges.


Customisation Support: A key aspect of Shikino's technical support is aiding clients in customising camera modules to fit their unique requirements. Whether adjusting the module for better low-light performance, implementing specific image processing algorithms, or ensuring compatibility with particular hardware interfaces, Shikino’s specialists are equipped to provide insightful recommendations and modifications. This customisation support is critical in applications where standard solutions fall short, such as in specialised industrial equipment or innovative consumer technology.


Quality Assurance in Manufacturing: Integral to Shikino’s offering is their commitment to manufacturing excellence. By conducting integrated production within cleanroom environments in Japan, they ensure that every camera module meets rigorous quality standards. This involves full inspections at various stages of the production process, from component selection to final assembly, to guarantee that each module performs reliably in the field. Shikino’s adherence to high manufacturing standards is a testament to their dedication to quality, which has earned them the trust of clients in demanding sectors that require long-term stability and precision.


Continuous Improvement and Innovation: Shikino's quality assurance extends beyond manufacturing into continuous improvement and innovation. Feedback from field deployments and client consultations informs ongoing enhancements in both product design and production processes. This cycle of feedback and improvement ensures that Shikino's camera modules evolve in line with technological advancements and changing market needs.


Table showing Shikino standard camera module range

Diverse Product Lineup

Shikino's portfolio of embedded camera modules showcases a remarkable diversity, designed to cater to a broad spectrum of applications across various industries. This range includes standard view cameras, intelligent cameras equipped with advanced processing capabilities, and sensing cameras for specialised tasks. Each category of product is developed with specific use cases in mind, ensuring that regardless of the complexity or requirements of a project, there is a Shikino camera module that fits the bill.


Standard View Cameras: These are the backbone of Shikino's lineup, offering reliable performance for general imaging needs. Standard view cameras are versatile and can be employed in a variety of applications, from basic surveillance systems to complex machine vision setups. With resolutions ranging from the lower end for simple tasks to high-definition for detailed image capture, these cameras serve as a robust foundation for any project.


Intelligent Cameras: Shikino sets itself apart with its range of intelligent cameras, which come equipped with built-in image processing capabilities. These cameras are designed for applications where edge processing is crucial, such as in real-time object recognition or advanced surveillance systems. By performing image analysis directly on the camera, these modules reduce the load on the central processing unit and enable faster response times, making them ideal for AI-driven applications.


Shikino's View Camera (USB/LAN), Image Processing Development Kit and Code Reader tools

Sensing Cameras: For applications that require more than just image capture, Shikino offers sensing cameras. These are specifically designed to gather detailed information or recognising machine readable information. Combined with Shikino's proprietary View Camera (USB/LAN), Image Processing Development Kit and Code Reader tools, the sensing cameras can provide valuable functionality to your project.


Custom and Semi-Custom Options: Beyond these categories, Shikino excels in providing custom and semi-custom options. Recognising that off-the-shelf products may not meet every requirement, they offer the flexibility to tailor camera modules to specific needs. This could involve modifying an existing product or developing a completely new solution from the ground up, with customisations ranging from sensor type and lens selection to interface and software adjustments.


Technology and Innovation: Across its product range, Shikino incorporates cutting-edge technology to enhance the performance and functionality of its camera modules. This includes high dynamic range (HDR) imaging for capturing details in varied lighting conditions, advanced signal processing for clearer images, and low-light capabilities for superior performance in dim environments. Furthermore, with a focus on future-proofing their products, Shikino regularly updates its lineup with the latest innovations in camera technology, ensuring that clients have access to the most advanced solutions available.


Image showing matrix of embedded camera modules

Embedded Camera Applications

Embedded camera modules from Shikino are at the forefront of powering a wide array of innovative applications across multiple sectors. Their adaptability, advanced imaging capabilities, and the ability to be customised make them ideal for a variety of uses, from industrial automation to medical diagnostics and beyond. This section highlights how Shikino's embedded camera modules are being utilised in cutting-edge applications, demonstrating their versatility and the value they bring to modern systems.


Industrial Automation and Quality Control: Shikino's camera modules are deployed in automated inspection systems to ensure product quality, identify defects, and support intricate manufacturing processes. The high resolution and fast processing capabilities of these cameras enable them to capture minute details on production lines, facilitating real-time quality assurance and contributing to higher operational efficiency.


Medical Devices and Diagnostics: The medical field benefits significantly from the integration of advanced imaging technology. Shikino's camera modules are used in diagnostic equipment, enabling non-invasive examinations and providing high-quality images that are crucial for accurate diagnoses. Whether it's in compact endoscopic devices or in digital microscopy, the precise imaging and customisation options available with Shikino's modules make them highly valuable for medical applications.


Security and Surveillance: Enhanced imaging capabilities are essential for modern security systems, and Shikino's camera modules deliver on this front. Used in surveillance cameras, they provide clear and detailed images, even in low-light conditions, making them effective for monitoring and security purposes. The inclusion of intelligent cameras capable of edge processing also allows for the implementation of real-time facial recognition and motion detection features, enhancing security measures without overloading the network.


Automotive and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems): As the automotive industry moves towards more autonomous features, the need for reliable and high-performing camera modules increases. Shikino's embedded cameras are integral to ADAS, offering capabilities such as lane departure warnings, traffic sign recognition, and parking assistance. The robustness and advanced imaging features of these modules, including HDR and wide dynamic range, ensure optimal performance in the varying lighting and weather conditions encountered on roads.


Consumer Electronics and Wearables: The compact size and high image quality of Shikino's camera modules make them perfect for integration into consumer electronics, including smartphones, drones, and wearable devices. In drones, for example, they provide the capabilities needed for aerial photography, navigation, and even obstacle avoidance. Similarly, in wearable devices, these cameras enable features such as gesture recognition and augmented reality experiences, enhancing user interaction and engagement.


Environmental Monitoring and Agriculture: In the field of environmental monitoring, embedded cameras help in collecting vital data for research and conservation efforts. Shikino's modules are used in wildlife observation systems, remote weather stations, and even in agricultural drones that monitor crop health and growth patterns, showcasing their adaptability to different environments and requirements.


The Future of Embedded Imaging Technology

As we look towards the horizon of embedded imaging technology, it's clear that the sector is poised for significant advancements and innovations. Shikino, with its deep expertise and forward-thinking approach, is well-positioned to lead these developments, shaping the future of how embedded camera modules are designed, integrated, and utilised across a myriad of applications. This exploration into the future trends and directions of embedded imaging technology underscores the potential transformations and the role Shikino aims to play in this evolving landscape.


Miniaturisation and Higher Resolution: The drive towards smaller, more compact devices with no compromise on image quality is a trend that is expected to continue. Shikino is focused on advancing miniaturisation technologies while enhancing the resolution of its camera modules. This dual focus will enable the integration of high-quality cameras into increasingly smaller devices, opening up new possibilities for medical devices, wearables, and IoT applications where space is at a premium.


Image showing machine vision concept for vehicular transport using AI and embedded cameras

AI and Machine Learning Integration: With the growth of AI's ability to accurately interpret vast amounts of data, we now have the capability to literally help electronic systems see and understand their immediate environment. The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities directly into camera modules represents a significant leap forward. Shikino is exploring ways to embed AI algorithms into its modules, allowing for real-time image analysis and decision-making at the edge. This approach reduces latency, decreases reliance on cloud processing, and enhances the functionality of devices in applications such as autonomous vehicles, smart security systems, and industrial automation.


Enhanced Connectivity: As the world becomes more connected, the need for camera modules to seamlessly integrate with other systems and devices becomes increasingly important. Shikino is working on enhancing the connectivity options of its camera modules, including the support for newer, faster wireless and wired standards. This will facilitate easier integration into broader ecosystems, enabling more complex and interconnected applications.


Sustainability and Energy Efficiency: Recognising the growing emphasis on sustainability, Shikino is committed to developing energy-efficient camera modules that minimise environmental impact. By focusing on low-power designs and incorporating power-saving features, these modules will contribute to the development of sustainable products, particularly in battery-powered and remote applications.


Adaptive and Context-Aware Cameras: The future of embedded imaging technology lies in creating cameras that are not just passive sensors but are context-aware and adaptive. Shikino aims to develop camera modules that can adjust their operation based on the environment, such as varying light conditions, movement, and specific user needs. This adaptability will make them even more integral to applications requiring dynamic imaging solutions, from outdoor surveillance to adaptive automotive lighting systems.


As embedded imaging technology continues to evolve, Shikino is at the forefront, driving innovation and exploring new frontiers. With a commitment to research and development, a keen understanding of market needs, and a focus on future trends, Shikino is not just responding to the changes in the embedded imaging landscape but is actively shaping its future, ensuring that its camera modules remain essential tools in the advancement of technology across industries.


Summary

For engineers looking to integrate the latest in embedded camera technology into their projects, Ineltek stands ready to provide comprehensive support, pricing details, and samples. Whether you're exploring options for industrial automation, medical devices, security systems, or any innovative application, our team is here to assist you in selecting the perfect Shikino embedded camera module for your needs. Contact Ineltek today to make your vision for an embedded camera system a reality.

Komentar


bottom of page