ams’ High-Sensitivity Optical Sensor Helps Eliminate Flicker Artifacts

November 1, 2019 Alix Paultre


ams introduced a sensor solution that enables smartphone world-facing cameras with rolling shutter image sensors to eliminate unwanted image artifacts such as banding, caused by the flickering of artificial light sources. The TCS3408 color sensor measures the color and brightness of ambient light, as well as detecting photometric flicker, to enable a phone’s camera-enhancement imaging system to eliminate flawed artifacts caused by artificial lighting environments. 

The TCS3408 provides an accurate measurement of color and brightness with five concurrent-reading ambient light sensing channels, and also provides an option to store a sequence of flicker measurements in its internal memory to detect higher-order flicker frequencies up to 2kHz, typically found in modern Pulse-Width Modulated (PWM) LED lighting systems. 

The TCS3408 device incorporates a flicker detection engine that detects the presence or absence of 50Hz or 60Hz flicker typically generated from incandescent or fluorescent lights. When flicker is detected, it is captured and reported through internal status registers of the device. Knowing that flicker is present, the camera’s video processor synchronizes the shutter with the “on” portion of the relative ambient light output in a scene. 

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