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

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

MIPI CSI-2 is the most widely used camera interface in mobile and other markets. 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; imaging applications for client content creation and consumption products; camera drones; IoT appliances; wearables; and 3D facial recognition security or surveillance systems.

The latest release, MIPI CSI-2 v3.0, delivers enhancements to the specification designed to enable greater capabilities for machine awareness across multiple application spaces, such as mobile, client, automotive, industrial IoT and medical. RAW-24, for representing individual image pixels with 24-bit precision, is intended to enable machines to make decisions from superior quality images; an autonomous vehicle, for example, could decipher whether darkness on an image is a harmless shadow or a pothole in the roadway to be avoided. Smart Region of Interest (SROI)—for analyzing images, inferencing algorithms and making better deductions—could enable machines on a factory floor, for example, to more quickly identify potential defects on a conveyor belt, or medical devices to more surely recognize anomalies such as tumors. And Unified Serial Link (USL)—for encapsulating connections between an image sensor module and application processor—is crucial for reducing the number of wires needed in IoT, automotive and client products for productivity and content creation, such as all-in-one and notebook platforms.

MIPI CSI-2 can be implemented on either of two physical layers from MIPI Alliance: MIPI C-PHY v2.0 or MIPI D-PHY v2.5. It is backward compatible with all previous MIPI CSI-2 specifications. Performance is lane-scalable, delivering, for example, up to 41.1 Gbps using a three-lane (nine-wire) MIPI C-PHY v2.0 interface, or 18 Gbps using four-lane (ten-wire) MIPI D-PHY v2.5 interface under MIPI CSI-2 v2.1.

Performance highlights:

  • RAW-16 and RAW-24 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 reduces Power Spectral Density (PSD) emissions, minimizes radio interference and allows further reach for longer channels

The capability of the Camera Command Interface (CCI) to work with the MIPI I3C v1.0 sensor interface supports 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. 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 v3.0 USL alleviates the need for additional I2C / I3C wires by encapsulating the CCI control data within CSI-2 transport.

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

Get the Specification

Conformance Test Suite:

Previous versions available to members:

Versions

Current Version: 

v3.0 (September 2019)