Digital Imaging Sensors - An Introduction

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

In the current age of AI, imaging systems are evolving to replace the human eye. Imaging is an exponentially growing mode of data acquisition and collection. Imaging is used to gather all kinds of data such as age, gender, height etc. of people standing at signal, using a vending machine, visiting a shop, crossing the road, passing by a kiosk, registering at some conference, ordering a coffee, boarding a flight etc. Apart from people, imaging also helps collect data on vehicles, packages, animals, birds, fishes, medicines, groceries and so on.

This blog talks about the image sensors and their high-level categorization.

An imaging sensor is a device/subsystem/chipset that conveys information used to make an image. It does so by converting the variable attenuation of light waves (as they pass through or reflect off objects) falling on the sensor area into electrical signals that can be understood by a CPU.

In this digital era, let’s keep our focus on digital sensors. Digital imaging sensors can be categorized in terms of the below listed aspects.

1. Based on the building block of the sensor

a. CCD – charge-couple device

b. CMOS – Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor

2. Based on pixel scanning methodology

a. Global Shutter

b. Rolling Shutter

c. Global Reset Release

3. Based on output format

a. Raw Bayer

b. Monochrome

4. Based on output interface


b. DVP

c. sLVDS

We have covered the four categorization of imaging sensor. Each of the type serve specific purpose and use case. There is no one type that fits all requirement. Based on the use case, we shall have to decide which type of sensor helps us to address the requirement the best.

We, at Regami, have had the pleasure of working with variety of imaging sensors from companies such as On Semiconductors, Sony, Omnivision etc. Please let us know if you have any queries. The team at Regami shall be glad to address them.

We are expecting questions like - How do we select which type of sensor to use? What are the pros and cons of each type? Are there any further sub-categories we need to be aware? We shall cover them individually in the upcoming blogs.


Sarvesh Rajagopal

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