Etron Technology, Inc. (taiwan gtsm:5351) has expanded its webcam controller IC product portfolio by introducing two new 3D (three-dimensional) webcam controllers. The new eSP768 chip captures 3D images and video, while the eSP868 chip recognizes 3D motions and enables various gesture-controlled functions. Both eSP768 and eSP868 were developed based on Etron’s unique webcam controller technology and IP’s. These chips can bring Hollywood-like special effects into our daily life that everyone can experience joys of interactively controlling images and videos on digital displays. Etron displayed these new 3D webcam chips at both 37031 in the South Hall 4 of the Las Vegas Convention Center at CES 2012 from January 10th to 13th.
The eSP768 chip can simultaneously control both timing and image quality of two horizontally placed HD cameras to mimic the function of human eyes in capturing 3D images or video. It features a patented timing control mechanism to synchronize the left and the right images up to 30 frames per second. In addition, it automatically aligns both left and right images in both x and y directions to compensate the unavoidable manufacturing discrepancies between two cameras on both left and right sides. The unique synchronization and self-aligned features in this eSP768 chip ensure a high quality of 3D images/ video and minimize both flickering and blurring noise effects, which are commonly seen in previous 3D image/video capturing systems. With its flexible and programmable output image format, the eSP768 chip supports various kinds of 3D displays using Anaglyph, Shuttered, Polarized and Auto-stereoscopy (Lenticular and Parallax Barrier) technologies.
The eSP868 chip with its unique software can not only provide all the features supported by the eSP768 but also generate a depth map from both left and right images, and therefore can have real 3D image recognition capabilities. As a result, the eSP868 chip can produce both 3D images and video while simultaneously enable 3D motion recognitions of both gesture and body controls. The eSP868 chip includes a special image signal processing engine, which is used to optimize image qualities under various ambient conditions and to alleviate the well-known correspondence and divergence problems stemming from traditional stereo-vision cameras. After being integrated with complete hardware and software solutions, the eSP868 provides an all-new user-friendly digital control function; for example, a user can simply wave one’s hand in front of home multimedia AV equipments to change displayed channels, to adjust volume, or to switch viewing contents.
In contrast to most conventional 3D image/video capturing webcams (requiring two controller ICs and one USB hub), the Etron’s eSP768, which is a system-on-a-chip IC, has offered better 3D effects at much lower cost. Most conventional 3D image recognition systems require either special sensors or special optical-light sources to calculate the object’s depth (i.e. a z dimension), but the eSP868 can perform all 3D motion recognitions with commercially available sensors and therefore achieve a much lower system BOM cost. With its fewer components, the eSP868 systems can be built into thin LCD panels and widely deployed into notebook, PC, TV, and handheld device applications.
Both eSP768 and eSP868 chips are highly integrated SoC’s with a full blown image signal processor, USB2.0 interface with an image compression engine, four built-in LDO’s, the 40KB ROM, 6KB RAM, 8KB OTP (One Time Programming) memories and an embedded CPU. Both chips support Windows, Mac, Linux and Android operation systems, and are available in either 64 LQFP (7×7 mm2) or 68 aQFN (6×6 mm2) packages.