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Atmel Releases new Digital Imaging Processors

Atmel Corporation announced today the introduction of a new family of digital camera processors that cover the entire market for Digital Still Cameras (DSC). The AT76C113 family of products integrate all the functions required to implement digital cameras on to 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(TM) 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(TM), Smartmedia(TM), CompactFlash(TM), and Atmel Dataflash(R) 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 is also available on 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 30fps quarter-VGA resolution. They can also decompress audio files, including MP3, through a high-resolution digital audio interface. The unparalleled image processing performance- of 55ms per megapixel, and the compression speed of 75ms per megapixel, combined with the high transfer rates to flash cards, can achieve capturing, processing, compression, and storing of six megapixel images in less than one second with minimal power consumption. 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 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 Atmel’s Director of Multimedia Products, Tassos Markas remarked, “This new generation of AT76C113-based Digital Still Camera Processors with their quality, speed, power-consumption, and cost structure will bring high megapixel cameras to a new level of performance. Our unique architecture that allows us to implement high-performance image processing algorithms in hardware, thus optimizing speed and power consumption, along with the power of a high-speed companion CPU, allowing us to customize image quality for a particular scene, makes our device ideal for the fast-growing three to six megapixel camera market.”

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