NuCORE Introduces CleanCapture Image Processors

NuCORE has formally introduced its CleanCapture™ SiP-1270 and NDX-1260 Image Processors. The products offer the highest image quality and performance for image capture and processing for application in digital still and digital video cameras. The image processors were demonstrated to a broad press and industry audience at the Aoyama Spiral in Tokyo.

NuCORE NDX-1260 and SiP-1270 CleanCapture Image Processors

The NuCORE NDX-1260 is an analog image processor. NDX technology (NuCORE Dynamic range eXpansion) provides an image capture quality difference that can be easily seen in printed photographs and CRT monitors. The NDX-1260 is a mixed signal (analog and digital circuits) semiconductor. It takes the image data from the CCD sensor and executes analog to digital conversion with the absolute lowest noise, utilizing 16 bit internal resolution for exceptional granularity, smooth tonal response and grey scale accuracy. The NDX-1260 performs analog white balance pre-processing and a pixel by pixel gain control for red, green and blue for RGB (still) and also CYMG (video) to provide the highest quality, lowest noise 12 bit output for digital post processing by the SiP-1270.

The very low noise characteristics and the cleanest image capture in the industry provides the following benefits when coupled with a RGB or CYMG CCD sensor:

• Minimum color distortion in red, green, blue A to D conversion
• Virtually no color phase noise due to no crosstalk between colors
• Less digital back end processing required to reduce noise related artifacts, which in turn reduces saturation problems
• Smaller JPEG files at the same resolution due to less of a noise component to compress
• More JPEG still images on a given memory card; less time required for e-mail transmission of said images
• Longer MJPEG movie record times at a given resolution and storage size
• More security cameras on an Intranet at a given resolution
• Lower bandwidth required to transmit images in 1-3 mega pixel CCD camera / cell phone applications, which translates into faster transmission times

The NuCORE SiP-1270 is a digital image processor (SiP means smart image processor). The SiP-1270 is a no compromise, back end processor that has many image quality and performance features to compliment the NDX-1260 analog signal processor.

The SiP-1270 is a highly integrated digital “system on a chip“ or SOC that is fabricated in TSMC’s 0.13 micron CMOS process technology. It includes a flexible hard wired image processing pipeline that achieves the highest performance in the industry. NuCORE’s design philosophy was to focus on image quality at every point of design trade-off. For example, the “edge enhancement” block required the development of complex algorithms in order to deliver the crispest edge definition in the consumer and professional digital imaging products.

” It is very unique that a company would dedicate this kind of passion towards image quality and have the courage to back it up in the architectural and design decisions,” said Seiichiro Watanabe, NuCORE’s founder and Chief Technology Officer. “I have been told many times that our products are too good for the general marketplace requirements so I am gratified to see that many consumer camera manufacturers now want the best quality.”

NuCORE includes both CYMG (video) and RGB (still) processing capability in the NDX-1260 and SiP-1270. NuCORE demonstrated High resolution video processing at today’s event in Tokyo and achieved leading performance in digital burst and shutter latency for digital still cameras. The SiP-1270 is an enabling technology to create hybrid cameras that offer the best video and still quality in a single camera.

The SiP-1270 also includes a high quality motion JPEG engine, capability to support up to 24 mega pixel CCDs, high speed compact flash and SD card memory interfaces, the industry’s highest quality and performance digital zoom, USB 1.1, interfaces for hard disk and minidrive storage, and an embedded ARM™ 9 microprocessor.

First NuCORE “CleanCapture” Based Cameras Expected in Q3’03

The NDX-1260 and SiP-1270 are second generation designs. The first generation NDX and SiP 1250 were designed into a high volume consumer digital still camera and a high-end professional digital video camera. The first generation products provided a successful proof of concept for our conservative Japanese customers, revenue sufficient to close an additional venture capital funding round of $22M in January ’03, and a technology learning curve that benefited the new SiP-1270 and NDX-1260 designs.

Today’s introduction is the first detailed public explanation of the specifications of the NuCORE CleanCapture image processors as well as the announcement of the trademarked CleanCapture brand name. A demonstration of silicon and software functionality designed to highlight the major product benefits was performed at the Tokyo event.

The NDX-1260 and SiP-1270 were sampled to key customers in Q1’03 and the first cameras with the new NuCORE image processors will be introduced in Q3’03.

“ I am extremely proud of the results of the engineering team. NuCORE clearly has a world class product, and now the challenge is to get the NUCORE solution to market broadly in cameras that end users find compelling,” said James N. Chapman, president and CEO of NuCORE. “I am convinced that the NuCORE solution can help get OEMs to market faster and that is important as design cycles are shortening due to competition on the final camera products.”


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