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New MIPI spec streamlines image sensor integration in mobile devices

MIPI CCS reduces software configuration complexities and integration costs when implementing image sensors with MIPI CSI-2 v2.0


The MIPI Alliance, an international organization that develops interface specifications for mobile and mobile-influenced industries, released a new specification that provides a standardized way to integrate image sensors in mobile-connected devices. 

The new specification, MIPI Camera Command Set v1.0 (MIPI CCS v1.0), defines a standard set of functionalities for implementing and controlling image sensors. The specification is offered for use with MIPI Camera Serial Interface 2 v2.0 (MIPI CSI-2 v2.0) and is now available for download. In an effort to help standardize use of MIPI CSI-2, MIPI Alliance membership is not required to access the specification.

Industry’s most widely used hardware interface for deploying camera and imaging components

MIPI CSI-2 is the industry’s most widely used hardware interface for deploying camera and imaging components in mobile devices. The introduction of MIPI CCS to MIPI CSI-2 further increases interoperability, and reduces integration and costs for complex imaging and vision systems.

“MIPI Alliance is building on its success in the mobile camera and imaging ecosystem with MIPI CCS, a new specification that will enhance the market-enabling conveniences MIPI CSI-2 already provides,” said Joel Huloux, chairman of MIPI Alliance. “The availability of MIPI CCS will help image sensor vendors promote greater adoption of their technologies and it will help developers accelerate time-to-market with innovative designs targeting the mobile industry, connected cars, the Internet of Things, AR/VR and other areas.”

Companies are integrating image sensor components into their designs

From startups to global organizations, companies are integrating image sensor components into their designs for specialized and mass-market products. To date, image sensor integration has required device-specific software to enable basic operations. As imaging applications have become more sophisticated and manufacturers have begun deploying multiple image sensors in their products, implementation has become more complex and time consuming.

MIPI CCS alleviates these challenges by making it possible to craft a common software driver to configure the basic functionalities of any off-the-shelf image sensor that is compliant with MIPI CCS and MIPI CSI-2 v2.0. The new specification provides a complete command set that can be used to integrate basic image sensor features such as resolution, frame rate and exposure time, as well as advanced features like phase detection auto focus (PDAF), single frame HDR or fast bracketing.

“The overall advantage of MIPI CCS is that it will enable rapid integration of basic camera functionalities in plug-and-play fashion without requiring any device-specific drivers, which has been a significant pain point for developers,” said Mikko Muukki, technical lead for MIPI CCS. “MIPI CCS will also give developers flexibility to customize their implementations for more advanced camera and imaging systems.”