Movidius weds thermal imager and computer vision

April 21, 2016 // By Junko Yoshida
The power of thermal imaging is well known. But what happens when a thermal sensor marries a vision processor?

“We are putting together those two separate sensing modalities into one by collaborating with Flir systems,” Movidius CEO, Remi El-Ouazzane, told EE Times. Movidius is a developer of low-power machine vision technology, while Flir is a leader in thermal imaging technology.

Flir's Boson

The companies have worked together for two years. Their efforts resulted in adding Movidius’ advanced computer vision capabilities to FLIR’s newest thermal imaging camera core called Boson.

More specifically, Boson integrated with Movidius’ vision-processing SoC called Myriad 2 VPU can now implement “advanced image processing, super resolution and noise filtering,” according to El-Ouazzane. Compared with Flir’s previous generation thermal core called Tau 2, the new module is 10 times smaller and lighter in weight, while consuming only half the power.

“The cherry on the cake is that there is still enough processing power left on this hundreds of gigaflop chip” that’s sitting next to the thermal sensor, said Movidius CEO. That can be used for additional image processing and analytic algorithms.

In short, aside from using the new module for the creation of thermal images, Flir’s customers can use it for everything from a vision analysis suite to porting their own vision algorithms, he explained.

No one else has yet combined a thermal image sensor with a vision processor. “Nothing like this exists today,” boasted El-Ouazzane.

Pedestrian Counting: Thermal imaging is well-suited to the task as it performs well in various weather/light conditions, in addition to being able to easily differentiate the background from live subject through heat signatures. (Source: Movidius)