Taking pictures

Atmel Corporation has introduced a new family of image processors that target the digital still camera market.

The AT76C113 family of products integrate all the functions required to implement digital cameras on to a single chip. They 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 ARM 7TDMI 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.

AT76C113 devices support all flash card interfaces including Secure Digital, MMC Multimedia Card, Memorystick, Smartmedia, CompactFlash, and Atmel Dataflash cards.

The AT76C113 family 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 minimise 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.

All AT76C113 devices support MPEG video multiplexed and synchronized with MPEG audio at a resolution of 30fps quarter-VGA resolution. They can also decompress audio files, including MP3, through a high-resolution digital audio interface.

The image processing performance of 55msec per megapixel and the compression speed of 75msec per megapixel, combined with the high transfer rates to flash cards, means that the devices can achieve capturing, processing, compression, and storing of six megapixel images in less than one second.

A two-megapixel AT76C113-powered camera can take over 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.

The family of AT76C113 devices contains products for low-end cameras limited to three megapixels and products for high-end cameras from four to six megapixels. Both low and high-end products are available with and without USB hosting capability.

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.

Pricing will be under $8 for quantities of 50,000 parts.

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