Atmel improves digital-camera performance

SEPTEMBER 23--Atmel Corporation (San Jose, CA; www.atmel.com) has introduced a new family of digital-camera processors that cover the entire market for digital still cameras.

Sep 23rd, 2003

SEPTEMBER 23--Atmel Corporation (San Jose, CA; www.atmel.com) has introduced a new family of digital-camera processors that cover the entire market for digital still cameras. The AT76C113 family of products integrate all the functions required to implement digital cameras onto a single chip. The device performs the functions of capturing, processing, compressing, displaying, and storing images in flash cards, as well as controlling camera functionality through the use of an integrated ARM7TDMI processor.

In addition, the ARM processor is responsible for analysis of a scene, through hardware assist, and for the fine-tuning of image-processing algorithms that enable consumers to take exceptional pictures. AT76C113 devices support all flash card interfaces including Secure Digital, MMC Multimedia Card, Memorystick, Smartmedia, CompactFlash, and Atmel Dataflash cards. AT76C113 has a direct interface to NAND-flash devices that allows program code as well as captured media to be stored in on-board NAND-flash. This potentially eliminates the need for shipping removable flash cards with a digital camera, which in turn would reduce end-product cost.

In addition, all necessary peripherals including TV video output, USB, UART and SPI, digital audio interfaces, and direct interfaces to popular LCDs have been integrated to minimize the total system cost. Analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters have also been integrated to detect, measure, and recharge batteries; to capture and playback audio without the need of external components; and to control lens motors. Certain parts also contain USB hosting, which allows cameras to directly print pictures to photo printers.

All AT76C113 devices support MPEG video multiplexed and synchronized with MPEG audio at a resolution of 30 frames/s. They can also decompress audio files, including MP3, through a high-resolution digital audio interface. The unparalleled image-processing performance of 55 ms/Mpixel, and the compression speed of 75 ms/Mpixel, combined with the high transfer rates to flash cards, can achieve capturing, processing, compression, and storing of 6-Mpixel images in less than 1 s with minimal power consumption. A 2-Mpixel AT76C113-powered camera can take more than 600 pictures using a pair of regular-size photolithium-type batteries with strobe and zooming for every shot. Typical camera use can exceed 1000 pictures per battery.

Production samples, evaluation boards, software libraries, as well as full application software are available now. Production is ramping up now in support of several digital camera manufacturers.

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