Sony first ever launches a new smart camera sensor: Image Sensor on Top of AI Chip

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Sony and Microsoft have joined together to develop an interesting new hybrid technology The idea is fairly simple in concept. As per these tech giants. Now, the company has made a single image processing unit that comes integrated with AI at the hardware level. that it hopes to use alongside the IMX500 sensor to provide new video analytics use cases for enterprise customers. Current image processing sensors upload the image captured to the cloud for the analysis of the image data. The AI in the cloud performs various tasks, extracts the useful data from the image, and sends it back to the processor for further processing. Now, this sensor is intelligent enough to capture only the necessary information from an image, in the future. To be clear, image sensors already have companion processors that do the usual work of sorting pixels, compressing them into a JPEG, and so on. But they’re very focused on performing a handful of common tasks very quickly. The chip could immediately analyze it for objects, and instead of sending on the full image, simply report “dog”, “grass” and anything else it recognizes.

The partnership follows Microsoft and Sony announcing last year that they would explore the joint development of Azure-based gaming and content-streaming services. Instead, they can deliver anonymous metadata pings to alert you about what they've seen.

Advantages?

  • You might expect a higher power draw or latency from a chip with integrated AI processes
  • While more complex processing would still be the purview of larger, more powerful chips
  • For one, it's a way to ensure better privacy, since the sensors can handle AI tasks entirely on-device
  • That's something that could be particularly useful in Europe, where the new GDPR guidelines severely limit how organizations can use surveillance video
  • The closer data can stay to their source device 
  • Onboard AI also means you can get information processed in real-time.
  • This kind of the first pass is able to produce a huge variety of valuable data and, properly designed, could prove to be more robust against attacks or abuse.  
  • It can discard all kinds of unnecessary or unwanted data before that data ever goes into the main device’s storage or processing pipeline.

  • That means less processing power is used, for one thing, but it may also be safer and more secure

A camera at the front of a store could count the number of people entering, and even alert security if someone isn't wearing a face mask (a major health risk as we're still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Another camera could keep track of item stock on store shelves, while others could monitor the flow of foot traffic to determine shopping "hot spots."

According to Sony’s video, this sensor not only captures the light but also the necessary information from that light. For instance, it can detect various objects in the image and extract only the necessary data from it. This can drastically speed up image processing by consuming less power and less data. Sony’s new “Intelligent Vision Sensor” is a unique sensor that combines a conventional CMOS image sensor and an AI logic chip in a single unit. Hanson tells us samples for the IMX500 have already been sent out to Sony's partners, while the IMX501, which is packaged to fit onto devices like smart boards, will start shipping in June. We can expect to see devices using the new hardware by the end of the year and throughout 2021

Upcoming sectors where it can be applied?

  • Now, Sony’s new “Intelligent Sensor” takes it up a notch by performing all these tasks in the device itself
  • This is possible as the necessary elements for the entire image processing are right there in the sensor
  • It can be integrated into various camera devices such as those in smart cars
  • Smart stores to enhance the experiences of the users and protect their privacy
  •  Smart speakers for sensor analysis