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A silicon picture sensor that computes

SEAS researchers developed the primary in-sensor processor that might be built-in into industrial silicon imaging sensor chips. The array (illustrated right here) simplifies picture processing for autonomous autos and different functions. Credit: Donhee Ham Research Group/Harvard SEAS

As any driver is aware of, accidents can occur within the blink of an eye fixed—so in relation to the digicam system in autonomous autos, processing time is essential. The time that it takes for the system to snap a picture and ship the information to the microprocessor for picture processing may imply the distinction between avoiding an impediment or entering into a significant accident.

In-sensor image processing, during which necessary options are extracted from uncooked knowledge by the image sensor itself as a substitute of the separate microprocessor, can pace up the visual processing. To date, demonstrations of in-sensor processing have been restricted to rising analysis supplies that are, a minimum of for now, troublesome to include into industrial programs.

Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed the primary in-sensor processor that might be built-in into industrial silicon imaging sensor chips––referred to as complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) picture sensors––which might be utilized in almost all industrial units that want seize visible info, together with smartphones.

The analysis is revealed in Nature Electronics.

“Our work can harnesses the mainstream semiconductor electronics industry to rapidly bring in-sensor computing to a wide variety of real-world applications,” mentioned Donhee Ham, the Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics at SEAS and senior creator of the paper.

Ham and his group developed a silicon photodiode array. Commercially-available picture sensing chips even have a silicon photodiode array to seize photos, however the group’s photodiodes are electrostatically doped, that means that sensitivity of particular person photodiodes, or pixels, to incoming gentle could be tuned by voltages. An array that connects a number of voltage-tunable photodiodes collectively can carry out an analog model of multiplication and addition operations central to many picture processing pipelines, extracting the related visual information as quickly because the picture is captured.

“These dynamic photodiodes can concurrently filter images as they are captured, allowing for the first stage of vision processing to be moved from the microprocessor to the sensor itself,” mentioned Houk Jang, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first creator of the paper.

The silicon photodiode array could be programmed into completely different picture filters to take away pointless particulars or noise for numerous functions. An imaging system in an autonomous automobile, for instance, might name for a high-pass filter to trace lane markings, whereas different functions might name for a filter that blurs for noise discount.

“Looking ahead, we foresee the use of this silicon-based in-sensor processor not only in machine vision applications, but also in bio-inspired applications, wherein early information processing allows for the co-location of sensor and compute units, like in the brain,” mentioned Henry Hinton, a graduate scholar at SEAS and co-first creator of the paper.

Next, the group goals to extend the density of photodiodes and combine them with silicon built-in circuits.

“By replacing the standard non-programmable pixels in commercial silicon image sensors with the programmable ones developed here, imaging devices can intelligently trim out unneeded data, thus could be made more efficient in both energy and bandwidth to address the demands of the next generation of sensory applications,” mentioned Jang.

Researchers design highly sensitive, mass producible organic photodetectors

More info:
Houk Jang et al, In-sensor optoelectronic computing utilizing electrostatically doped silicon, Nature Electronics (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41928-022-00819-6

A silicon picture sensor that computes (2022, August 26)
retrieved 26 August 2022
from https://techxplore.com/news/2022-08-silicon-image-sensor.html

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