OmniVision strengthens imaging portfolio with CDM Optics

April 15, 2005
OmniVision Technologies (Sunnyvale, CA), manufacturer and marketer of single-chip CMOS image sensors for consumer and commercial applications, continues to strengthen its presence in the imaging market, most recently with the acquisition of CDM Optics (Boulder, CO).

SUNNYVALE, CA - OmniVision Technologies (Sunnyvale, CA), manufacturer and marketer of single-chip CMOS image sensors for consumer and commercial applications, continues to strengthen its presence in the imaging market, most recently with the acquisition of CDM Optics (Boulder, CO). Terms of the $30 million acquisition agreement require that $10 million in cash and $10 million in OmniVision common stock be paid to CDM Optics at closing, with a further $10 million payable in cash following shipment by OmniVision of a pre-determined number of products that incorporate CDM’s technology.

According to OmniVision, CDM Optics has wavefront coding technology that merges optical design with digital signal processing and can increase the depth of field and correct optical aberrations of photographic images from a digital camera. The CDM Optics technology requires that the total imaging system be specified; that is, the lens system and the digital detector are integral to the performance of the overall imaging system.

Unlike a classic digital imaging system, a wavefront-coded lens system does not focus on an image plane; instead, points of an object are not imaged to the focal plane but are spread in an extended region using aspheric optics (that can be manufactured in plastic) and are decoded by a digital filtering operation. This patented technology allows fabrication of an auto-focus-like camera module without the need for motors and actuators that can cause reliability concerns, and does not require the usual F-stop reduction (and corresponding reduction in image brightness and contrast) to improve depth of field.

“Unlike conventional aspheric optics, the shape of the surface of our wavefront-coded lens is not rotationally symmetric,” said R.C. Mercure, chairman and CEO of CDM Optics. “This allows us to achieve both telephoto and macro capability in a fixed-focus lens through software and digital processing.”

OmniVision is initially targeting the high-volume digital camera market. The company also plans to expand with future offerings for the automotive and medical imaging markets.

The 18 employees at CDM Optics will remain with the company in their current location near the University of Colorado (Boulder, CO). CDM Optics is the exclusive licensee of the patented wavefront coding technology invented at the University of Colorado Imaging Systems Laboratory.

-Gail Overton

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