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An Affordable DIY Camera Component | Marc Sheade from THine Solutions

When it comes to developing the inspiring technologies of tomorrow, nothing quite beats the fun of physically assembling your own gadget. And with the wide availability of DIY computing components, like Raspberry Pi, it’s easier than ever to build that better mousetrap.

Our guest on this edition of UpTech Report is Marc Sheade of THine Solultions, which is taking those possibilities one step further by offering an affordable camera and imaging processing system that can plug into Raspberry Pi boards with a long cable, allowing for applications in surveillance, medical tech, biometrics and more.

Marc explains the surprising sophistication behind this technology and some of its many possible uses.

More information: https://www.thinesolutions.com/


Marc has more than 30 years’ experience in Engineering Management, Operation Management and Marketing Management. He is currently the General Manager and Business Strategy Manager for THine Solutions, Inc. He has previously worked for companies including Watkins-Johnson and Raytheon.

Immediately prior to THine Solutions, Marc was at California Eastern Laboratories (CEL) where he was Vice President and General Manager of CEL’s ComponentProducts business. In that role, Marc managed the business which was responsible to market semiconductor products from various Japanese companies represented by CEL to geographies outside Asia. Marc has a MSEE from Stanford University.

THine Solutions Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, is a fully owned subsidiary of THine Electronics, Inc. Founded in 2018, TSI is responsible for all marketing and sales of THine in the Americas, EMEA and India territories. Our differentiation is the support we offer to customers with our kits, tools and technical expertise, particularly for image-based applications.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Marc Sheade 0:00
So we thought one, you know, good way for our technology become well, more well known was to develop his Raspberry Pi, you know, plug and play kit. And then, you know, get it get in better into the Raspberry PI System.

Alexander Ferguson 0:22
Welcome to UpTech Report. This is our applied tech series UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at Teraleap.io. Today I am joined by my guest, Marc Sheade, who’s based in Cupertino, California. He’s the GM and Business Strategy Manager at THine Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of vinyl electronics in Japan. And that focus, if I understand markets is fabulous semiconductor. That’s a manufacturing company, your guys really focused on image processing and high speed image transmission, which we’ll dig into more in a second. But Marc, I’m excited to have you on today. It’s good to have you. Well, thank you, it’s very good to be here. Now, this is a little bit different topic as a lot of times, we’re actually interviewing folks that are in the software side. But we’ve done a few folks and I’m excited to interview content on the technology to the hardware side. And one of the more recent things that you guys have brought out is actually a solution for the Raspberry Pi. Basically, those were engineers out there that that understand the ins out ins and outs of cameras, and are finding new ways to utilize high speed transmission cameras can basically get one of your kits and start to to use it. Some of the places that you guys are using your kit, your your actual equipment, the content you create is higher end surveillance body cameras, medical scopes, machine vision biometric devices, that I get that right, Marc?

Marc Sheade 1:47
That is That is correct. Those are our target markets, essentially all target markets with embedded camera systems. And those are the ones that we most focus on.

Alexander Ferguson 1:58
Now. The buying electronics in Japan has been around for 2020 years or

Marc Sheade 2:04
30 years, actually. Since 92, actually, so almost 30 years.

Alexander Ferguson 2:10
Okay, gotcha. And then when did you guys set up the subsidiary here in the United States?

Marc Sheade 2:16
We set that up in 2018 2018. This subsidiary has been, you know, about three years. Very excited. Okay. So

Alexander Ferguson 2:24
now the idea for one of the things that you have been rolling out just in this subsidiary part is this Raspberry Pi solution, this kit that you have created that engineers anyone just go in and purchase. Can you describe it more about this kit?

Marc Sheade 2:39
Yeah, yeah, this, this kit is a actually a plug and play solution with everything included in it, including hardware cables, everything you need to be able to take a Raspberry Pi camera, and located at a far distance from the Raspberry Pi computer board. Cuz the way Raspberry Pi camera and computer board come is the camera comes with about a 15 to 20 centimeter ribbon cable. And so when you hook up the camera to the board, and then you have to hook up that board to the PC or to display and everything, everything is right next to each other. So for applications where you really don’t want all the wires and all the display and all the computer, you know, peripheral stuff, Yeah, right there when the camera is you want to put the camera somewhere, you know, at a at an edge of the system or something and then you want to locate the computer board somewhere convenient. And for instance, a you know when application is one of our engineers actually built a telescope system using the Raspberry Pi components. And it was in Chicago in the winter. And so when he put the telescope and the camera system for the telescope outside, you know, he didn’t really want to sit outside with his computer and his Raspberry Pi computer board in the snow. So he was able to put the telescope on his patio in the snow run a cable inside to his nice warm house and then view what was on the telescope inside the house. So it was able to and essentially it really plugs in very nice plug and play you there’s no software updates, there’s nothing you need to do. You just want to

Alexander Ferguson 4:47
that’s always nice,

Marc Sheade 4:48
make all the connections and and then just run the cables from the from from our from the cable board from the camera side to the computer and you’re good to go.

Alexander Ferguson 5:00
Mark, I feel like we’re we’re getting into World War that the need for develop of integration of cameras on IoT and devices is just becoming more everyday more normal. And for those more creative engineers that are trying to find new ways to use it, there’s current limitations to the technology as far as the transmission of high quality video. And in terms of speed, can you just describe a bit more about the the issue that a lot of engineers may face when they’re trying to integrate them cameras of just the overall? Why can’t the cable just normal cable that’s included longer? And why would they need a solution like yours?

Marc Sheade 5:37
Right? Well, there’s a typical standard called mipi, that, that the camera outputs the video data to and sends it to the computer. And it’s in these this mipi, as typically two or four lanes, and there’s a, it’s probably transmitting at gigabit data per lane, so like four gigabits of data in order to get real time video with no latency. So that kind of data amount, over a long distance will eventually not have the signal strength to get to the computer. So if you have a very short cable, which is what this mipi is capable of, it works fine. But in order to get like a 20 meter distance or something longer, what our technology actually does is we have a a standard that we’ve developed a time called V by one high speed. And what it does is it takes the mipi signal, and it actually serializes it in a different format, and then sends this serialized signal over a long cable, which we could then you know, do like for, you know, essentially four gigabits of full data and send it like for instance, in the Raspberry Pi case over a 20 meter cable, and then we d serialize it at the other end, turn it back into the mipi original mipi signal, and then send it to the computer so the computer doesn’t even realize that, you know, there was

Alexander Ferguson 7:24
it would that be considered transcoding or compressing the image? No, we

Marc Sheade 7:29
actually we don’t do any compressing because a lot of times when you do compressing, you start having latency type issues and and for video, you know, you want to see things real time. You know, as it happens, you don’t want any, you know, any delays or anything like that. So I technology actually does not do any compression, it takes the full data amount. And then you know, serializes, it sends it over a long cable, the serializes it turns it back into the way it was exactly with no compression.

Alexander Ferguson 8:04
So this this episode, obviously is a bit more more on the more technical side. For those out there that are curious about business solutions. Hopefully you can see that this is application here. But for the more engineering minded folks that are listening in, I’m also curious, and maybe I am I’m naive in this space, but when I think of solutions, like HDMI to like Ethernet options, is that is that a similar concept? It’s just transcoding into a different format or data type or is this just a completely separate realm?

Marc Sheade 8:32
No, it’s similar. It’s similar. There’s all kinds of different formats. You know HDMI is one of them. m ipi mipi which we call is a different one. A lot of camera systems use this mipi interface whereas TVs and various things like that use a converted to a get hm HDMI type signals. And the benefit in this cases is it you probably just need other types of processing in order to get it out to HDMI so that you can run longer cable versus coming right off of an integrated circuit board

Alexander Ferguson 9:01
or a Raspberry Pi it just naturally is in that mipi format versus something else if I have

Marc Sheade 9:08
a camera systems are you know it’s a HDMI is a different format as pmip is a different format. Typically cameras use the dismissive format and you know HDMI is of course in commercial and TVs and everything is very standard and there’s many line cables that that have you know, that are compatible with HDMI type systems,

Alexander Ferguson 9:35
but for the the future of what you guys are working on so you got this one kit for actually

Marc Sheade 9:39
just you know add a little bit some of the, to the displays inside the TV. That was actually when thyne in Japan was founded and we develop this V by one high speed technology to transmit high speed video over a very small amount of cables. Inside the TV, when the video is generated to the display of the TV, B by one is a very popular standard, almost all TV manufacturers use it. So they’ve all licensed nines, V by one, high speed, technology. Almost all TVs have our technology in them, and we’re not well known outside of that,

Alexander Ferguson 10:29
for tickets, you know, your, your, your what I find fascinating is companies that exist Like, like, like, like you guys find electronics where you’ve created a technology that is embedded inside something we all know. But no one really knows these tiny pieces that make it possible to make the the high speed technology with inside a TV actually happen. But it’s there. And it’s been around was that when did that technology come out was that one side electronics began 30 years ago,

Marc Sheade 10:57
right when we began that that was the technology that launched time, but you buy one into kind of TV manufacturers, mainly in Asia. And in that particular area, you know, thyne is well known.

Alexander Ferguson 11:15
And now you guys are working on translating this underlying core technology in different ways of well, that

Marc Sheade 11:21
we extended the technology to include image processing, as well as image transit transmission. So now we’re trying to become more of a global company. And that’s what we’re when we launched find solutions in Silicon Valley. That was the objective of find solutions to actually become more global, and extend into not just video transmission, but video processing. Marc, what’s your what’s your background? My background is I’m an electronic engineer.

Alexander Ferguson 11:59
You’ve always been like fascinated with with this.

Marc Sheade 12:01
I’ve always been I started out in hardware engineering made mainly radio frequency worked in the defense industry for many years, and ultimately evolved to the marketing side, probably about 20 years ago, but was essentially a hardware engineer in radio frequency systems for half of my career, and then, you know, are a little less than half and then moved on to the marketing side.

Alexander Ferguson 12:30
It this this opportunity, what you guys have brought out with the raspberry kit solution I’m always fascinated for when engineers and get their hands on being able to test and play with things, what are you most excited about what’s coming up that you can share on the roadmap of what you guys are bringing for us?

Marc Sheade 12:44
Well, this is very exciting. And this is one of our strategies to become more well known because Raspberry Pi is, is, you know, there’s just a ton of hobbyists engineering hobbyist who have, you know, day jobs doing real engineering and, and their hobbies include doing some of these projects on Raspberry Pi, and sometimes Raspberry Pi gets used an industrial type application. So we thought one, you know, good way for our technology become well, more well known, was to develop this Raspberry Pi, you know, plug and play kit. And then, you know, get it get in bedded into the Raspberry PI System. And our user system where we become more well known and then extend that not just the Raspberry Pi users. But you know, our plans are to extend this type of kit solution to maybe Jetson users and other single board computer type users. And then so that’s that’s very exciting for us. As far as where we’re going to extend this k plus we’re actually you know, improving the kit, we have some some cost reduction plans to to actually make the kid even lower costs than it is today. And what In addition, I’m sorry,

Alexander Ferguson 14:04
what’s the cost right now, if somebody want to just go ahead and get one, it’s in

Marc Sheade 14:06
the ballpark of the low, you know, like 50 to $55 range.

Alexander Ferguson 14:14
Yeah, so very, very affordable.

Marc Sheade 14:16
And you know, it comes in a nice box with everything and ESD packages, all the boards, all the hardware, there’s the cables, so pretty much you just took the boards to the cables of the Raspberry Pi camera to the Raspberry Pi computer, and then put a long cable in between it and you’re good. you’re you’re you’re essentially without, you know, you could have your camera next to the Raspberry PI System. Everything works fine. And the system has no idea that this long cable is in between so it’s so that’s kind of pretty cool. And then in addition to that, what we’re also coming out with is other kits that involve our signal processing side of things, where we’re coming out with camera reference boards, you That, that have very high resolution outputs. That could be in different versions of those boards, like the first one that we just launching, which is probably a couple of weeks away, is a UVC class camera board, which means it works off of a USB type connectors. So you have a little 35 by 35 millimeter board three inches by three inches or something like that. And you hook a USB connector from from our board, to PC. And through the USB connection, you could control different resolutions and things like this. And the idea is that eventually, you know, in our target markets we talked about before, like body cameras, surveillance, medical scope, and the scope applications, they could take this reference design, which has a fully processed video. And it’s very high speed, it’s it uses typically 13 megabit sensors, which is, you know, really high end loaded data for a camera system. So you can get very good image definition. And through our processors, you could control systems like, you know, you can fix the lighting, fix the exposure, you could customize things, the focus, this particular thing comes with what’s called a phase detected autofocus, which is way faster than a lot of the other autofocus techniques that that do before. So there’s a lot of good features. And you know, the key is the, the the price the single processing that we use in that board,

Alexander Ferguson 16:41
right to be able to transmit so what I’m intrigued is, is kind of the future that we’re heading towards of machine visioning, where we’re giving the world around the computers around us the ability to see the world around us more and more. So finding innovative solutions. Engineers everywhere are like, how can I add a camera here at camera here to be able to get more signal coming in, I’m excited to see the new solutions to come out. And then you have companies like you that are enabling that technology and the future. So thank you so much for

Marc Sheade 17:12
Lucky One more thing, in addition to the machine vision, I do want to mention another really exciting market coming is augmented reality type market with the glasses and things like that. And I do want to mention that our products are also very, very targeted for that type of, of a system now that you know, hasn’t really exploded yet, AR and those type of things, but I think in the next five to 10 years, it’s going to be huge. So you know, that’s another pretty exciting market for embedded camera type apps.

Alexander Ferguson 17:47
I mean, we’re gonna we’re gonna have embedded cameras everywhere and the need for that high speed quality is only high quality video feed coming in from everywhere, it’s only going to increase so you’re helping pave the way for the underlying technology behind it. So thank you so much again, Marc for the time to spend a few minutes with us. For those that want to learn more, you can go over to THine Solutions. So that’s Thinesolutions.com we’ll grab yourself one of these kits and start playing around with it. And if you want to also see this full episode and a lot more episodes, go to Uptechreport.com. Thank you so much. And we’ll see on the next episode. That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at UpTech report.com. Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you’re subscribed to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.

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