The world’s first image sensors equipped with artificial intelligence were announced today by Sony. The biggest benefit this technology has is that what it “sees” can be analyzed and processed directly on their logic chip, without having to rely on cloud services. The sensors are available in two versions, IMX500 and IMX501, and are both 12.3-megapixel “intelligent vision” sensors.
The new AI image sensors will have far more advanced capabilities than the current sensors, Sony says real-time object tracking with high-speed AI processing is just one new functionality for applications.
Sony describes the technology in the following way:
“When a video is recorded using a conventional image sensor, it is necessary to send data for each individual output image frame for AI processing, resulting in increased data transmission and making it difficult to deliver real-time performance. The new sensor products from Sony perform ISP processing and high-speed AI processing on the logic chip, completing the entire process in a single video frame. This design makes it possible to deliver high-precision, real-time tracking of objects while recording video.”
Of course, phones who previously used Sony image sensors could be the first to get the technology, like the iPhone or Google Pixel. Sony says that their new product has a wide variety of uses though, not just smartphones.
“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. Furthermore, the AI model in a given camera can be rewritten from one used to detect heat maps to one for identifying consumer behavior, and so on,” Sony explains.
We will just have to wait and see how this technology will benefit everyone when applied.