The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Emerging Image Sensor Tech for FM

04 August 2021

A new report from IDTechEx, “Emerging Image Sensor Technologies 2021-2031: Applications and Markets”, comprehensively explores the market for emerging image sensors, covering a diverse range of technologies that span from thin-film flexible photodetectors to event-based vision. 

Image sensing is an essential capability, utilised across multiple applications that range from webcams and smartphone cameras to autonomous vehicles and industrial inspection. The FM industry is reaching for new heights of technological integration and looking to adopt innovations like this. Despite a reluctance from some in the sector to engage with digital transformation, leading services and installations are employing the latest in smart tech for fit-outs. Image sensor technology upgrades have the potential to improve a multitude of monitoring faculties, such as security surveillance, or maintenance identification.


Motivation for Emerging Image Sensor Technologies


While conventional CMOS detectors for visible light – semiconductor devices that serve as "electronic eyes" - are well established and somewhat commoditised, at least for low-value applications, there is an extensive opportunity for more complex image sensing hardware that offer capabilities beyond simply acquiring red, green, and blue intensity values at each pixel. This largely stems from the ever-increasing adoption of machine vision, in which image analysis is performed by computational algorithms. Machine learning requires as much input data as possible to establish correlations that can facilitate object identification and classification, so acquiring optical information over different wavelength ranges, or with spectral resolution, for example, is highly advantageous.

Of course, emerging image sensor technologies offer many other benefits. This can include similar capabilities at a lower cost, increased dynamic range, improve temporal resolution, spatially variable sensitivity, global shutters at high resolution, reducing the unwanted influence of scattering, flexibility/conformity, and more.


Avenues of Development and Innovation


Emerging image sensor technologies within the IDTechEx report include:


  • Hybrid image sensors - Adding an additional light-absorbing layer on top of a CMOS read-out circuit is a hybrid approach that utilises either organic semiconductors or quantum dots to increase the spectral sensitivity into the short-wave infrared (SWIR) region. Currently dominated by expensive InGaAs sensors, this new technology promises a substantial price reduction and hence the adoption of SWIR imaging for new applications such as autonomous vehicles.
  • Extended-range silicon - Given the very high price of indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) sensors, there is considerable motivation to develop much lower-cost alternatives that can detect light towards the lower end of the SWIR spectral region. Such SWIR sensors could then be employed in vehicles to provide better vision through fog and dust due to reduced scattering. 
  • Thin-film photodetectors - Detection of light over a large area, rather than at a single small detector, is highly desirable for acquiring biometric data and, if flexible, for imaging through the skin. Emerging approaches that utilise solution processable semiconductors offer a compelling way to produce large-area conformal photodetectors for applications such as under-display fingerprint detection.
  • Event-based vision - Autonomous vehicles, drones, and high-speed industrial applications require image sensing with a high temporal resolution. However, with conventional frame-based imaging, a high temporal resolution produces vast amounts of data that requires computationally intensive processing. Event-based vision is a new way of obtaining optical information that combines greater temporal resolution of rapidly changing image regions with much reduced data transfer and subsequent processing requirements.


In summary, the increasing adoption of machine vision provides a great opportunity for emerging image sensing technologies that offer capabilities beyond conventional CMOS sensors. This report offers a comprehensive overview of the market for emerging image sensor technologies, covering a multitude of applications that range from autonomous vehicles to industrial quality control.

Emerging Image Sensor Technologies 2021-2031: Applications and Markets”, outlines the current status and future application for a wide range of emerging image sensors. Also included are highly granular 10-year market forecasts by revenue and volume - split by technology and application - along with multiple application case studies and technological/commercial readiness assessments. The report also includes many company profiles based on interviews with early-stage and established companies.


Picture: a light graphic.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 04 August 2021


Related Articles

IFM Innovators Programme – Shedding New Light on Maintenance 5.0

87 per cent of professionals that completed The IFM Innovators Programme online course agreed that it had “impacted their vision and plans for the...

 Read Full Article
Infogrid Unveils Global Rebrand

As part of its next phase of growth, Infogrid has revealed a global rebrand featuring a new logo, brand expression, and website. The brand takes inspiration from urban...

 Read Full Article
JLL Acquires Envio Systems

JLL is to acquire Envio Systems, a cloud-based IoT platform for enhanced performance and operations of commercial buildings. The Berlin-based company’s smart...

 Read Full Article
Smart Buildings at Increased Risk of Cyber Attacks, Says Verdantix

The operational technology that powers connected devices across building systems is providing more entry points for cyber criminals to exploit, says research and advisory...

 Read Full Article
Smart Buildings Enable Smarter Facilities Management

Shumon Choudhury, who has over 15 years of experience managing PRS & FM portfolios, writes about his experiences helping his clients to embrace smart...

 Read Full Article
Biosafety Tech Company Achieves World Changing Idea Award

An IoT-enabled disinfection technology company has been named in Fast Company's 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards. R-Zero's intelligent biosafety platform...

 Read Full Article
Smart Local Energy System for Staffordshire Town Awarded Funding

A new project called Zero Carbon Rugeley has been given extra funding to progress the detailed design of a smart local energy system. EQUANS has secured extended...

 Read Full Article
Cobotics and the Future of Workplace Experience  

How will cobotics shape our future experience of work? Stefano Bensi, General Manager at SoftBank Robotics, explains how collaborative robots have a part to play in...

 Read Full Article
Sodexo Mentors Start-Ups to Develop Smart Tech and Sustainability Innovations

Sodexo, in partnership with L Marks, has selected five start-up businesses to help them develop new solutions in the areas of smart buildings, employee experience and...

 Read Full Article
West Berkshire and Reading Borough Councils Pilot Smart Energy Systems

A pilot project to create a smart energy system in Thames Valley has successfully connected four of West Berkshire Council’s sites to the growing network. The...

 Read Full Article