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Sony announced 4K image sensors for AI security cameras

As the global leading image sensor developer and supplier, Sony recently has unveiled two 4K resolution image sensors have embedded with artificial intelligence processing unit. Relying on AI processing unit, the image sensor can output metadata which can describe information of region of interest. The cutting edge technology enables camera to provide AI video analysis while reduce the data latency if processed by cloud servers, it also ensures the privacy and reduce power consumption.

Sony IMX500 and IMX501, they supports 12.3 megapixel effective and 4K@60fps resolution, it adopts a structure which is called “Intelligent vision sensor stacked” that combines pixel chip and logic chip. The main function on the logic chip including conventional image sensor operation circuit, image signal processing, and original digital signal processor dedicated to AI signal processing, memory for the AI model. After receiving image signal from pixel chip, the logic chip will output metadata not the image info, therefore greatly reduce the size of data and protect the privacy. Additionally, AI video analysis enables them to be used in many applications like object-tracking.

Sony IMX501 IMX500 AI Image Sensor Structure

New type of image sensor packs both pixel and logic chips together, in addition to outputting image data, it outputs the result of AI video analysis. For instance, if the image sensor has implanted with object recognition algorithm, when the camera/sensor capture the image with a dog, the sensor will output “dog” text data, not merely the image data.

Sony IMX501 IMX500 AI Image Sensor Application Example

The clients can upload their own AI model into embedded ROM of the image sensor, according to requirement of application or system to overwrite and update. For example, AI model for face recognition can be implemented to cameras that deployed in main entry points. AI model that offers object counting capability can be deployed in shopping area of stores. Certainly, this will not replace the function of Cloud AI, since this doesn’t have AI processing power as equal as the cloud servers.

Sony IMX500 and IMX501 Specification

  • Number of Effective pixels: 4056x3040, approximate 12.3 megapixel
  • Image size: Diagonal 7.857 mm
  • Unit cell size: 1.55 um (H) x 1.55 um(V)
  • Frame rate: 60fps (Full pixel), 60fps (4K, 4056x2288), 240fps (1080p)
  • Full/video + AI processing: 12.3MP 30fps
  • Metadata output: 30fps
  • Light sensitivity: 250LSB (F5.6)
  • Sensor saturation signal level: approximate 9610e-
  • Power supply: analog 2.7V, digital 0.84V, interface 1.8V
  • Main functions: AI processing function, ISP, HDR shooting
  • Output: MIPID-PHY 1.2 (4lane)/SPI
  • Color filter array: Bayer array
  • Output format: Image (bayer RAW), ISP output (YUV/RGB), ROI, Metadata
  • Package: Ceramic LGA 12.5mm (H) x 15.0mm (V)

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