The power of the MIPI CSI-2 interface for embedded vision applications

What is MIPI? MIPI Alliance – or Mobile Industry Processor Interface Alliance – is an association of nearly all manufacturers of applications or hardware in the mobile communication and entertainment electronics industry. Its goal is to standardize all important interfaces between the mobile processor and peripherals (position sensors, cameras, input interfaces, displays, etc.)
MIPI standards include the DSI (Display Serial Interface) specification and the CSI (Camera Serial Interface).

What is MIPI CSI-2? The MIPI CSI-2 specification describes the physical layer of the signal transfer (D-PHY or C-PHY) as well as the CSI-2 protocol for image data transfers which are based on it. CSI-2 also offers a standard protocol for the configuration of the sensor/camera module in the form of CCI (Camera Control Interface). CCI is physically based on I²C and in general, the camera module could be configured through an arbitrary I²C interface, which is present in multiple instances on virtually all SoCs.

Why chose MIPI CSI-2? The MIPI CSI-2 interface makes integration easier and future-proofed. MIPI CSI-2 camera modules can be interfaced with processors such as NXP i.MX8, i.MX7, i.MX6, NVIDIA’s Jetson Nano™, Jetson Xavier™ NX, Jetson AGX Xavier™, Jetson™ TX2, and Jetson™ TX2 NX, and other Linux/Windows/Android-based systems. MIPI CSI-2 enables extremely slim and inexpensive machine vision designs, which make it possible to use sensors or camera modules with a very high bandwidth and small form factor.
Engineers can freely choose the design of the optimal system depending on the application. MIPI CSI-2 technologically enables very small design sizes, which can be implemented with a flat flex cable through a board-to-board connection with very low power consumption.

SWIR camera modules with MIPI CSI-2 interface
Alvium 1800 C SWIR cameras are the smallest industrial grade low-power uncooled SWIR (Short-Wave InfraRed) core modules on the market, making them the ideal match for compact embedded vision systems. Equipped with the new IMX990 (1280 x 1024 – SXGA) or IMX991 (656 x 520 – VGA) SenSWIR InGaAs sensor from Sony, the SWIR camera modules provide you high image quality and frame rates at small size, low weight, power, and costs (SWaP+C).
The Alvium SWIR is available with open housing or as a bare board level camera core.
Alvium 1800 C - MIPI CSI-2 bare board level

Supported embedded boards:

  • Adapter Board for Boundary Devices Nitrogen6_MAX
  • Adapter Board for Wandboard i.MX6 Series
  • Adapter Board for Toradex Ixora Carrier Board
  • Adapter Board for NVIDIA Jetson Nano and Jetson Xavier NX Developer Kit
  • Adapter Board for NVIDIA Jetson TX2 and AGX Xavier

LWIR camera module with MIPI CSI-2 interface
The Dione OEM series is based on an uncooled 12 μm pitch microbolometer detector with a 1280 × 1024, 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 resolution and NETD of less than 50 mK. The cores are optimized for low SWaP (Size, Weight and Power). The overall size of the OEM core is 35 x 35 x 23.5 mm3 and weight is 27 gr. It utilizes Xenics image enhancement for advanced image processing while keeping power consumption low.

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