Major Update to MIPI CSI-2 Camera Specification Expands the Next Generation of Always On, Low Power, Machine Vision Applications

By Chad Cox

Production Editor

Embedded Computing Design

February 08, 2022


Image Provided by MIPI Alliance

The MIPI Alliance announced a noteworthy update to its MIPI Camera Serial Interface 2 (MIPI CSI-2) interface to enable advanced machine-vision applications in multiple application spaces.

Building on the machine awareness capabilities established in MIPI CSI-2 v3.0, v4.0 adds an advanced always-on imaging solution that operates over as few as two wires for ultra-low-power machine vision applications. CSI-2 v4.0 includes multi-pixel compression for the latest generation of advanced image sensors and RAW28 color depth to provide advanced image quality and superior signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio.

MIPI CSI-2, introduced in 2005, is a high-speed protocol for the transmission of still and video images from image sensors to application processors. The MIPI CSI-2 supports a broad range of use cases and applications that require high performance, low power, and low electromagnetic interference (EMI) including:

  • Mobile
  • Augmented and virtual reality
  • Drones
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Medical devices
  • Industrial systems
  • Automobiles
  • Client devices such as tablets, notebooks, and all-in-ones

Version 4.0 is the first to support transmission of CSI-2 image frames over the low-cost, low-pin-count MIPI I3C/I3C Basic two-wire interface. CSI-2 can also be implemented over the MIPI A-PHY long-reach SerDes interface (up to 15m). 

CSI-2 v4.0 is backward compatible with all previous versions of the MIPI specification.

“The innovations delivered within MIPI CSI-2 provide a scalable foundation upon which next-generation artificial intelligence and machine-vision systems will enhance human-device interaction,” said Joel Huloux, chairman of MIPI Alliance. “With its new features, v4.0 vastly expands the range of application, from simplified, low-power environmental monitoring, to compression and superior image quality for high-performance, safety-critical applications."

Chad Cox. Production Editor, Embedded Computing Design, has responsibilities that include handling the news cycle, newsletters, social media, and advertising. Chad graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in Cultural and Analytical Literature.

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