Sonys AI Image Sensor

Here’s how your camera can become smarter with an AI sensor

There is just no denying the fact that we’re moving in the direction of artificial intelligence when it comes to technology. Although this instills fear in many individuals who envisage a scenario with the Terminator, the fact is that AI can have easy solutions to everyday problems.

Machine learning has been applied to a lot of technologies in photography, and it can not only aid with picture quality, but also with images. Many systems depend on sending data and information to the cloud to be processed afterwards. This gives a long, and probably healthy, journey or requires high-end analysis technology.

By offering a simplified solution, Sony has stated that its new image sensor would solve these problems. In an interview with The Verge, Sony vice president of business and innovation Mark Hanson explained: “There are some other ways to implement these solutions, but I don’t think they’re going to be anywhere near as cost-effective as shipping image sensors in the billions.”

In the image processing industry, Sony already has quite a presence, which will certainly help give the company an advantage in providing its customers with this technology. Hanson also said that Sony has a market share of over 60 percent and has delivered 1.6 billion sensors in the past year alone. Such sensors include those mounted on the iPhone 11 Pro.

Sony is launching its first-gen AI image sensor with industrial customers and major retailers such as Amazon Go Stores before branching out to mobile devices. Many AI-enabled cameras are used by these stores to monitor customers and properly charge them for the items they take off the shelf.

They put hundreds of cameras in and they run petabytes of data on a daily basis via a tiny convenience score, explains Hanson. But if we can miniaturize the capacity and place it on the back of a chip, we can do all kinds of fascinating stuff. Hanson argues that this allows the resulting hardware costs to slow down the growth of the stores.

Great protection is another advantage of having an AI chip directly on the back of the image sensor directly on the computer. The data will no longer need to be shipped off to a nearby server or processor and the middleman will be cut out. The metadata will be provided by the sensor itself.

Test samples of the IMX500 currently cost around $93 and have begun shipping to early customers. Sony is predicting that in the first quarter of 2021, goods using the image sensor will begin to arrive.

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