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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

STMicroelectronics Announces System-Friendly Ambient Light and Color Sensing Solutions for Lighting Control and Optical Feedback

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via PRNewswire

GENEVA , Feb. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM)today announced its first highly-integrated light and color-sensing ICintended for a wide range of optical feedback and sensing applications,including mobile phones, notebook PCs, and LCD TVs. The new VM6101 is thefirst product in the market to offer both color and ambient light sensing,with an embedded system interface that needs no external components - a cost-saving feature for manufacturers. The VM6101 is ideal for automatic LCDbacklight control (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (CCFL) or white LED).

The battery life of portable display products such as DVD players,camcorders, and digital cameras, as well as mobile phones and laptop PCs, ishighly dependent on the power used by the LCD and on its brightness setting.These sensors, with a standard I2C/SMBus (System Management Bus) interface,are easily integrated into any system to enable the LCD to be adjustedautomatically to match ambient lighting conditions. In addition, the VM6101can be used to provide color balancing adjustment for projection systems andRGB backlighting.

"Ambient light sensing can benefit numerous applications," commented Jean-Yves Gomez, General Manager of ST's Imaging Division. "Backlight control forLCDs, whether in mobile phones and other portable consumer devices, or inflat-panel TVs can dramatically enhance the consumer experience, whilereducing power consumption and preserving battery life. Current discretesolutions are expensive and cumbersome to integrate. With this new device, STis offering a level of integration and versatility never seen before in thelight sensing market."

The light sensor is the first in a new series of imaging products. It hasbeen developed using the technical expertise of ST's Imaging Division in thefields of CMOS imager-on-chip devices and color processing for cameraapplications, in which ST is a market leader*, to satisfy the need for anintegrated, low-cost light sensor for a variety of automatic backlight controlapplications. In contrast to most imaging markets, where the general trend istowards more pixels for higher resolution, the VM6101 has four (red, green,and blue, and one with no filter), to measure total ambient light level andthe separate RGB color components.

Various discrete solutions based on monochrome light-to-voltage sensorshave been available in the market, but most require additional processing orconversion circuitry to operate as part of a complete application, thusresulting in a significantly higher bill of materials; the few solutions thatcan perform color light measurement carry a heavy premium, which precludesmany high-volume consumer applications. In contrast, the VM6101 measuresYellow, Red, Green, and Blue components separately on a single chip, whichalso includes all system components and uses an industry-standardcommunication bus for data readout and device setup - all at an attractivelylow price.

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