17 Jun 2002
Basler AG, the German manufacturer of CCD cameras, has bought 16% of the US based Photobit Corporation, which makes CMOS image sensors. Basler's USD 11.7 million investment makes it the largest investor other than Photobit's founders and gives Basler board representation and first access to new processors before market release.
Basler believes that CMOS chips will take over from CCD technology for the mass technology market, although CCDs will still be needed for high resolution applications such as medical imaging. The benefits of CMOS include cost and availability. The technology allows more of the image processing to take place on the chip. The sensors also require about 100 times less power than CCDs which means that they produce less heat, leading to less noise and less need for cooling.
Potential applications for CMOS image sensors include intelligent air bag sensors for cars. These would allow the inflation of the air bag to vary depending on the size and position of the passenger.