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

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-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; and 3D facial recognition security or surveillance systems.

CSI-2 v2.0 can be implemented on either of two physical layers from MIPI Alliance: MIPI C-PHYSM and MIPI D-PHYSM. Performance is lane-scalable, delivering, for example, up to 24 Gbps using a three-lane (nine-wire) C-PHY interface, or 18 Gbps using four-lane (ten-wire) D-PHY interface under CSI-2 v2.0. Both physical layer specifications have been updated to support the new CSI-2 v2.0, allowing designers to take full advantage of the latest enhancements while supporting backward compatibility. This will allow for easy migration to the latest version of MIPI CSI-2 while enabling companies to leverage all investments from previous designs, minimizing development costs and accelerate time to market for new designs.

Key MIPI CSI-2 v2.0 enhancements:

  • RAW-16 and RAW-20 color depth that vastly improves intra-scene High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) to bring “advanced vision” capabilities to autonomous vehicles and systems
  • Expanded virtual channels from 4 to 32 to accommodate the proliferation of image sensors with multiple data types and support 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 increased 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, which 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 also includes a bidirectional, two-wire, I2C-compatible Camera Command Interface (CCI) that host processors may use to configure and control cameras before, during or after image streaming using the high-speed D-PHY or C-PHY interface. 

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