A set of innovative active pixel architectures has been conceived and implemented in standard CMOS technology. Active circuits are introduced into the pixel, to increase S/N ratio and to perform basic signal processing. Testing of such devices, however, becomes critical, due to the circuit relative complexity and to the need of accurately evaluating timing and position of the impinging radiation. A test strategy has thus been devised, exploiting a NIR laser source, which has been carefully characterized and tuned. The NIR laser allows for emulating, in a much more controllable fashion, a MIP event. This allow for validation of novel pixel architectures proposed and, more generally, of the whole design flow. © 2005 IEEE.