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We have seen camera OEM's using AI algorithms to create better quality photos. But now, Sony has announced the IMX500 that comes with both processing power and memory, allowing it to perform machine learning-powered computer vision tasks without extra hardware.
Over the past few years, smartphones and surveillance cameras have benefited from the integration of AI. Machine learning can be used to not only improve the quality of the pictures we take, but also understand video like a human would. Many applications rely on sending images and videos to the cloud to be analyzed. This can be a slow and insecure. Also, OEMs have been installing specialized processing cores on devices to handle the extra computational demand, as with new high-end phones from Apple, Google, and Huawei.
Sony says its new image sensor offers a more streamlined solution than either of these approaches. This first-generation AI image sensor, though, is unlikely to end up in consumer devices like smartphones and tablets, at least to begin with. Instead, Sony will be targeting retailers and industrial clients, which are beginning to use computer vision technology more widely.
The image sensor can only work with pretty “basic” algorithms. That means that more sophisticated and varied tasks, like driving an autonomous car, will certainly require dedicated AI hardware for the foreseeable future. Instead, think of the IMX500 as a simple, single-application device.
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