This past week I was able to spend some time at the Optics East trade show in Boston. While on the exhibit floor, I visited with the folk at Hamamatsu, who produce opto-semiconductors for applications including measurement and industrial use, as well as fiber communications.
The company has been widening its niche and in recent years has gone into products for the automotive market. In that area they make components for the fiber-optic-based Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) bus for automotive infotainment, light sensors for dimming mirrors and headlights, rain sensors for wiper systems, as well as optical-based adaptive cruise control sensors.
While not directly automotive related, but cool nonetheless, the company showed a low-cost, CMOS linear-image sensor (S10226 and 7) barcode reader designed for applications such as appliances. For example, a coffee maker with this sensor could brew based on the barcode on the coffee bag. Also noted was a time-delay integration (TDI) CCD-based camera for low-light tracking of small moving objects, as for electronics manufacturing inspections.
While long well known in the photonics and research markets, look for Hamamatsu to become a force in the automotive sensor sector as well.