Sony has today announced the development of a 3-layer stacked CMOS image sensor with DRAM for smartphones, making it possible to capture video at 1000 fps. The new chip comes with a DRAM layer in addition to the conventional 2-layer stacked CMOS structure with a back-illuminated layer of photo-sites and a circuit layer for signal processing. The DRAM acts as a temporary buffer for image data that is recorded at very high speeds, before it is put out at normal speed to a conventional image signal processor.
The new design results in very fast readout speeds of 1/120sec for a 19.3 MP image which is approximately 4x faster than conventional chips. Due to the reduction of time it takes to read each line of pixels, the so-called Jello-effect, which occurs when shooting fast-moving subjects on cameras without mechanical shutter, has been greatly reduced.
The sensor has also been designed to keep noise generated between the circuits on each of the three layers at a minimum. Given the technology is currently still in development stage, there is no way of knowing when it will appear in any production devices. That said, looking at the quite impressive slow-motion footage in the sample video reel below, we sincerely hope it won't be too long.