Are there cameras with artificial intelligence?

Sony: Artificial intelligence right in the camera

Sony has introduced the world's first image sensors in which artificial intelligence for image analysis and image processing is integrated directly into the logic chip. This enables an AI analysis of camera images without having to transfer sensitive content to the cloud, the Japanese company said today in Tokyo.

The novel image sensors are to be used in retail stores, for example, in order to be able to analyze customer movements in a store. If the camera is installed in the entrance area, customers could be counted with it. If it is attached to a shelf, it can be seen where goods are missing. If the camera is installed on the ceiling, it can be used to create thermal images in order to identify areas with many shop visitors.

Sony emphasized that the system could be used to localize a face in an image ("face detection"), but not to recognize specific faces ("face recognition"). Therefore, it is a very privacy-friendly concept. The new image sensors from Sony, IMX500 (l) and IMX501
Image: picture alliance / - / Sony / dpa

New development aims to boost business

Sony has been hit hard as a manufacturer of televisions and other consumer electronics. The new development is intended to boost business at least in the medium and long term. A spokesman said the company expects significant new business from the novel image sensors.

The innovative sensors can also be used to recognize barcodes in logistics or to check in work areas whether employees are wearing protective helmets or breathing masks as prescribed. An application scenario is also conceivable in which the image sensor independently detects a dangerous situation.

The implementation is data protection friendly

The sensors consist of a pixel chip and a logic chip. The signal captured by the pixel chip is processed by the artificial intelligence on the sensor, so that no high-performance processors or external memory are required, Sony promises.

This enables the development of so-called edge AI systems, where the computing power is provided at the edge of the network and data does not first have to be transferred to a data center or the cloud. This also reduces the response time (latency). In addition, the waiver of data transmissions across the network is privacy-friendly.

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