Quick Facts

Advantages

Widely used in mobile devices and automotive applications

Physical Layer

MIPI D-PHY and/or MIPI C-PHY

Fundamental features
  • High performance
  • Low power
  • Low EMI
Use Cases

Imaging

Vision

Contextual awareness

Biometric recognition

Surveillance

Industries

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Overview

A widely adopted, simple, high-speed protocol primarily intended for point-to-point image and video transmission between cameras and host devices

MIPI CSI-2SM is the most widely used camera interface in the mobile industry. It has achieved widespread adoption for its ease of use and ability to support a broad range of high-performance applications, including 1080p, 4K, 8K and beyond video, and high-resolution photography.

Designers should feel comfortable using MIPI CSI-2 for any single- or multi-camera implementation in mobile devices. The interface can also be used to interconnect cameras in head-mounted virtual reality devices; automotive smart-car applications for infotainment, safety, or gesture-based controls; camera drones; IoT appliances; wearables; and 3D facial recognition security or surveillance systems.

The latest release, MIPI CSI-2 v2.1 can be implemented on either of two physical layers from MIPI Alliance: MIPI C-PHYSM v1.2 and MIPI D-PHYSM v2.1. It is backward compatible with all previous MIPI CSI-2 specifications. Performance is lane-scalable, delivering, for example, up to 24 Gbps using a three-lane (nine-wire) MIPI C-PHY v1.2 interface, or 18 Gbps using four-lane (ten-wire) MIPI D-PHY v2.1 interface under MIPI CSI-2 v2.1. 

Performance highlights:

  • RAW-16 and RAW-20 color depth optimizes intra-scene High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) to bring “advanced vision” capabilities to autonomous vehicles and systems
  • Option to use up to 32 virtual channels accommodates the proliferation of image sensors with multiple data types and supports multi-exposure and multi-range sensor fusion for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) applications such as enhanced collision avoidance
  • Latency Reduction and Transport Efficiency (LRTE) provides image sensor aggregation without adding to system cost; facilitates real-time perception, processing and decision-making; and optimizes transport to reduce the number of wires, toggle rate and power consumption
  • Differential Pulse Code Modulation (DPCM) 12-10-12 compression reduces bandwidth while delivering superior SNR images devoid of compression artifacts for mission-critical vision applications
  • Scrambling to reduce Power Spectral Density (PSD) emissions, minimize radio interference and allow further reach for longer channels

MIPI CSI-2 v2.1 adds the capability of the Camera Command Interface (CCI) to work with the MIPI I3C v1.0 sensor interface. It also offers enhanced performance when used with I2C. The updates provide dramatic improvements in CCI data speeds to support advanced imaging performance requirements for auto focus and optical image stabilization (OIS), among other applications. 

CCI is a bidirectional, two-wire interface that host processors may use to configure and control cameras before, during or after image streaming using the high-speed MIPI D-PHY or MIPI C-PHY interfaces. Previously, CCI operated at 400 Kbps on I2C. With the new MIPI CSI-2 v2.1 release, CCI implementations can use I2C Fast Mode+ (FM+), which supports up to 1 Mbps. When used with MIPI I3C v1.0 Single Data Rate (SDR) mode, the interface delivers data at 12.5 Mbps. It delivers 25 Mbps when used with MIPI I3C v1.0 High Data Rate (HDR) Double Data Rate (DDR) mode.

MIPI CSI-2 v2.1 also includes technical adjustments and clarifications, requested by members, to optimize interoperability and minimize risks when using the specification for product development.

The full specification is available only to MIPI Alliance members. For information about joining MIPI Alliance, visit Join MIPI.

Additional Resources

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