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In the fast-growing markets for factory automation, IoT, and autonomous vehicles, CMOS image sensors appear destined for a role capturing data not for human consumption but for machines to see what they need to make sense of the world.

CMOS image sensors “are becoming more about sensing rather than imaging,” said Pierre Cambou, activity leader, MEMS & Imaging at Yole Développement. The Lyon, France-based market research and technology analysis company boldly predicts that by 2030, 50% of CMOS image sensors will serve “sensing” devices.

Paris-based Prophesee SA (formerly known as Chronocam) styles itself as a frontrunner in that revolution. A designer of advanced neuromorphic vision systems, it advocates an event-based approach to sensing and processing. Prophesee’s bio-inspired vision technology has been deemed too radically different from conventional machine vision — and perilously “ahead of its time.” But Luca Verre, co-founder and CEO of Prophesee, told us that this is no longer the case.

In a one-on-one interview here, Verre said that his company has secured its Series B plus funding (the startup raised $40 million in funding in the last three years). It now has a partnership deal with a large unnamed consumer electronics company. Most importantly, Prophesee is now advancing its neuromorphic vision system from the usual technology concept pitch to promoting its reference system for tinkering by developers.

Prophesee’s first reference design, available in VGA resolution, consists of Prophesee’s Asynchronous Time-Based Image Sensor (ATIS) chip and software algorithms. The ASIC will be manufactured by a foundry partner in Israel, said Verre — most likely Tower Jazz.

The company declined to detail its ASIC and the specification of the reference design. Prophesee said that it is planning on a formal product announcement in several weeks.

Nonetheless, the startup reached a milestone when the reference design proved able to offer system designers the opportunity to see and experience just what an ATIS can accomplish in data sensing. The ATIS will be characterized by its high temporal resolution, low data rate, high dynamic range, and low power consumption, said Prophesee... Full article



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