e-con Systems Introduces Ultra-Low Light Camera for NVIDIA Jetson TX2

By Mike Ball / 26 Jan 2018
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e-con Systems Jetson TX2 camera module

e-con Systems, a developer of imaging solutions, has announced the launch of the SONY STARVIS series IMX290 CMOS sensor-based MIPI CSI-2 camera module for the NVIDIA Jetson TX2 developer kit. The STARVIS is back-illuminated pixel technology used in Sony CMOS image sensors for smart surveillance camera applications, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other autonomous robotics systems.

The e-CAM21_CUTX2 camera’s excellent low-light sensitivity realizes high picture quality in the visible-light and near infrared light regions. The IMX290 is a RGB 10/12-bit Bayer format image sensor that can stream 1080p @ 120fps. e-con Systems partnered with NVIDIA to develop this camera that leverages the Image Signal Processor of the NVIDIA TX2. e-con Systems worked closely with NVIDIA on the driver development, image sensor characterization and ISP tuning for realizing excellent image quality under various lighting conditions including near darkness. The e-CAM21_CUTX2 camera is an ideal camera for smart applications powered by Machine Learning and Deep Learning technologies on the powerful Tegra X2 platforms including smart surveillance, smart parking and other innovative applications requiring cameras with excellent image quality.

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The distinguishing feature of e-CAM21_CUTX2 is its capability to realize images in absolute darkness. This has been made possible with a high level of image quality tuning for this sensor on the ISP of Tegra X2. Another highlighted feature of this sensor is its sensitivity in the near IR region of the light spectrum. Hence, this camera can be used for capturing images using IR lighting.

e-con Systems distributes a sample camera viewer, running on the Ubuntu distribution of the Jetson TX2 development board and leveraging NVIDIA’s ‘libargus’ camera APIs, that demonstrates the video preview and still capture capabilities. e-con’s Full HD IMX290 camera module along with the adapter board allows developers to incorporate this camera into their designs, on a turnkey basis.

“As a Jetson Camera Partner, we are delighted to launch our first camera module leveraging the sophisticated Image Signal Processor of the NVIDIA Tegra X2. Combining our expertise in camera imaging technology with the advanced ISP capabilities of NVIDIA Tegra X2, our e-CAM21_CUTX2 produces excellent images in low light conditions and supports 120fps in Full HD 1080p resolution. The e-CAM21_CUTX2 camera will be an ideal camera for AI-powered smart video/imaging applications,” said Ashok Babu, President of e-con Systems. “As NVIDIA Preferred Partner, e-con can also support virtually any image sensor utilizing the state-of-the-art ISP of the NVIDIA Tegra CPU family.”

The e-CAM21_CUTX2 Full HD Camera Module interfaces with the TX2 processor over a 4-lane MIPI CSI-2 interface. e-con Systems has developed the V4L2 media-controller sensor kernel driver API based camera drivers, on top of JetPack 3.1 version from NVidia. JetPack 3.1 features new APIs for efficient low-level camera and multimedia streaming with Jetson TX2, alongside updates to Linux for Tegra (L4T) R28.1 with Ubuntu 16.04 aarch64 and Linux kernel 4.4. The e-con’s e-CAM21_CUTX2 + TX2 ISP, exposes the standard camera controls such as exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, white balance, gamma, gain, sharpness, etc. through the NVIDIA’s ‘libargus’ APIs.

The e-CAM21_CUTX2 is provided with the S-mount (M12) lens holder which allows customers to choose and use the lens according to their requirements. This Starlight camera uses NVIDIA’s on-board Jetson TX2 Image Signal Processor (ISP) to perform all the Auto functions (Auto White Balance, Auto Exposure control) and significantly improve image quality. The e-CAM21_CUMI290_MOD supports 4-lane MIPI CSI-2 interface for video transport and the standard I2C interface for camera control. Through the 4-lane MIPI CSI-2 interface, this camera supports Full HD (1080X1920) video streaming RBG 10 bit at 120 frames per second.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact