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Sony develops first image sensor combined with AI chip

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Sony has announced it has developed the world's first image sensor equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) processing.

The new image sensor has a configuration consisting of a pixel chip and logic chip. The logic chip, called Sony's digital signal processor (DSP), is dedicated to AI signal processing, along with memory for the AI model. 

According to Sony, the DSP eliminates the need for additional hardware, such as high-performance processors or external memory, making it "ideal for edge AI systems".

By using AI, Sony said the sensor is also able to output metadata -- semantic information belonging to image data -- instead of image information, which reduces data volume and addresses privacy concerns. For practical applications, Sony said the logic chip within the image sensor allows it to send data for each individual output image frame for AI processing within a single video frame.

"This design makes it possible to deliver high-precision, real-time tracking of objects while recording video," Sony said.

Users can also write their own AI models into the embedded memory according to their requirements or the conditions of the location where the system is being used.

"For example, when multiple cameras employing this product are installed in a retail location, a single type of camera can be used with versatility across different locations, circumstances, times, or purposes," Sony said.


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