Sony sees its first event-based image sensors

September 09, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
Sony to sample event-based image sensors designed with Prophesee
Sony's IMX636 has an array of 1280 x 720 pixels while the IMX637 has 640 x 512 pixels and can detect up to 1 billion events per second based on technology from Prophesee.

Sony Semiconductor has launched two event-based image sensors intended to improve industrial equipment based on technology from Freench developer Prophesee.

Event-based vision sensors asynchronously detect luminance changes for each pixel and output the changed data only, combining it with information on pixel position (x,y coordinates) and time, thereby enabling high-speed, low latency data output. This is a type of image sensing pioneered by Prophesee.

The two companies rolled out a prototype sensor at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in February 2020.

The IMX636 has an array of 1280 pixels by 720 pixels while the IMX637 has 640 pixers by 512 pixels. Both sensors are black and white and support the detection of up to 1 billion events per second.

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The two products Sony is launching are stacked and use a proprietary copper-to-copper connection technique to support a pixel size of 4.86 micron. Copper pads are used to when stacking the pixel section (top chip) and logic circuits (bottom chip). Compared with through-silicon via (TSV) wiring, where the connection is achieved by electrodes intruded around the circumference of the pixel area, this method gives more freedom in design, improves productivity, allows for a more compact size, and increases performance.

These sensors are equipped with event filtering functions developed by Prophesee for eliminating unnecessary event data, making them ready for various applications. Using these filters helps eliminate events that are unnecessary for the recognition task at hand, such as the LED flickering that can occur at certain frequencies (anti-flicker), as well as events that are highly unlikely to be the outline of a moving subject (event filter). The filters also make it possible to adjust the volume of data when necessary to ensure it falls below the event rate that can be processed in downstream systems (event rate control).

Both sensors are expected to start sampling in October 2021.

www.sony-semicon.co.jpwww.prophesee.ai

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