Sending images and videos to the cloud for analysis not only takes longer, but also raises privacy concerns, which is why Sony announced the world's first image sensors with built-in AI.
The new IMX500 and IMX501 intelligent vision sensors incorporate a logic processor and memory that allow the cameras equipped with them to perform machine vision tasks based on machine learning without the need for additional hardware. According to Sony, its new sensors could allow the development of cheaper and more secure AI cameras.
“The signals acquired by the pixel chip are executed via an ISP (image signal processor) and AI processing is carried out at the process stage on the logic chip, and the extracted information is output in the form of metadata, which reduces the amount of data processed. Ensuring that image information is not transmitted helps reduce security risks and minimize privacy concerns. “
Intelligent vision sensors
Sony's new AI image sensors have the ability to capture an ordinary 12-megapixel image and record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second. However, the sensors may also not capture any images and only provide metadata based on what the sensor has seen.
Users will be able to write and rewrite their own AI models in the built-in memory of the sensors depending on where the system is used. For example, Sony image sensors could be installed in cameras at the front of retail stores and can be used to count the number of visitors entering or even the number of products on the shelf much like systems currently used in Amazon Go stores.
Although there are many positive applications for the company's new image sensors, they could also be used for surveillance and monitoring if installed in CCTV cameras.
Sony has already started sending test samples of its IMX500 image sensor to first customers, and the company expects products using the sensor to be available early next year.