First Camera Sensors with Built-in AI

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Sony has unveiled the world’s very first image sensors that have artificial intelligence capabilities built-in. The sensors are capable of processing images captured, decoding intelligent metadata at high speeds.

The upcoming IMX500 and IMX501 intelligent vision sensors can be paired with cloud services, and having built-in AI “reduces data transmission latency, minimizes any privacy concerns, and reduces power consumption and communication costs,” Sony says.

The IMX500 and IMX501 are backside-illuminated 1/2.3-inch sensors that have resolutions of approximately 12.3 megapixels and 4K/60fps video capabilities.

The secret to the sensors is a new “stacked” design that combines a pixel chip with a logic chip, the latter of which has AI image analysis and processing capabilities. After light is captured by the pixel chip, it’s processed immediately by the AI on the logic chip.

“The sensor outputs metadata (semantic information belonging to image data) instead of image information, making for reduced data volume and minimizing any privacy concerns,” Sony says. “Moreover, the AI capability makes it possible to deliver diverse functionality for versatile applications, such as real-time object tracking with high-speed AI processing

“[A] single type of camera can be used with versatility across different locations, circumstances, times, or purposes. When installed at the entrance to the facility it can be used to count the number of visitors entering the facility; when installed on the shelf of a store it can be used to detect stock shortages; when on the ceiling it can be used for heat mapping store visitors (detecting locations where many people gather), and the like.”

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