Intelligent vision sensors have AI processing functionality

May 15, 2020 // By Rich Pell
Intelligent vision sensors have AI processing functionality
Sony Corporation has announced the upcoming release of what it claims are the world's first intelligent vision sensors with AI processing functionality.

Including AI processing functionality on the image sensor, says the company, itself enables high-speed edge AI processing and extraction of only the necessary data. When using cloud services, this reduces data transmission latency, minimizes any privacy concerns, and reduces power consumption and communication costs.

The two new image sensor products - the IMX500 (bare chip) and IMX501 (package product) - expand the opportunities to develop AI-equipped cameras, enabling a diverse range of applications in the retail and industrial equipment industries and contributing to building optimal systems that link with the cloud, says the company. The new sensor products feature a stacked configuration consisting of a pixel chip and logic chip, with AI image analysis and processing functionality on the logic chip.

The signal acquired by the pixel chip is processed via AI on the sensor, eliminating the need for high-performance processors or external memory, enabling the development of edge AI systems. The sensor outputs metadata (semantic information belonging to image data) instead of image information, making for reduced data volume and minimizing any privacy concerns.

In addition, says the company, the AI capability makes it possible to deliver diverse functionality for versatile applications, such as real-time object tracking with high-speed AI processing. Different AI models can also be chosen by rewriting internal memory in accordance with user requirements or the conditions of the location where the system is being used.

Main features include the following:

  • AI processing functionality - The pixel chip is back-illuminated and has approximately 12.3 effective megapixels for capturing information across a wide angle of view. In addition to the conventional image sensor operation circuit, the logic chip is equipped with Sony's original DSP(Digital Signal Processor) dedicated to AI signal processing, and memory for the AI model. This configuration eliminates the need for high-performance processors or external memory, making it ideal for edge AI systems.
  • Metadata output - Signals acquired by the pixel chip are run through

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