Embedded vision is about to take off, enabled by tiny smart camera development modules like the SmartVue, which combines an image sensor with a high-powered programmable image processor. (Source: CogniVue)
This is a great new development. It is interesting that it uses the ARM architecture. Chalk up another one for ARM. It also opens up new applications The vendor often lists target applications, but, as the author mentions, the form factor and other specs will get engineers thinking about other apps. I already have some ideas.
I agree Naperlou. There is a wide range of applications for a smart camera this small. In manufacturing alone, these cameras could help with track and trace as well as data collection and verification.
Actually, the chip has two ARM9 processors; one associated with the image-processing components, and one "on the side" for what I assume are general-purpose operations. Cognivue provides a development kit and a software development suite of tools, but the company's Web site doesn't supply more than a one-page summary of the tools available for developers. Still, that second ARM9 processor looks like a good way to customize the chip to many applications. The chip has many unused I/O pins and internal peripherals, too. ARM has designed an excellent debugging and trace section for processor licensees. I'd like to know if the Cognivue chip makes them available for the embedded ARM9 processors. Looks like the software "kit" includes an RTOS.
Jon - Yes you are correct that the CV2201 Image Cognition Processor has 2 ARM9s, but the real performance comes from programming the parallel processing engine (APEX). From a software standpoint, we provide developers with an SDK, APEX tools (compiler&simulator for those looking to develop their own proprietary algorithmic functions executing on the APEX), Toolkits: Video/Audio Player-Recorder toolkit, Image Processing Toolkit (includes pre-optimized kernels, primitives and algorithmic components executing on APEX for advanced image cognition applications), Camera calibration toolkit, and complete Applications. We're in field-trials now with an aftermarket automotive smart backup camera appliccation - a single camera doing dewarp, perspective correction, object detection, distance estimation and graphic overlay - rendering the data to the driver-side display in real-time to prevent backover accidents. It's another application that is taking off in a big way with automotive OEMs and aftermarket suppliers. Re ARM debugging - we support Lauterbach Trace32 JTAG debugger in addition to Amontec JTAGkey2 and Segger J-Link debuggers.
Sounds like a very powerful device. Nice to see more advanced activity in both intelligent vision and embedeed vision technologies. From my perspective, people who want to apply vision don't want to get bogged down in coding algorithms; they just want to use them to accomplish something. Placing everything--hardware and software--in an easy to use package should give designers a quick start. Nicely done.
Engineers from the auto industry will take a hard look at this technology, if they aren't looking already. Lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance, rear-view assist, traffic sign recognition, and blind spot detection are only a few of the applications that might use this. It's said that middle- and upper-class vehicles could soon contain as many as 15 cameras apiece.
Charles you are spot on. In fact CogniVue has demonstrations for the following driver assistance systems: lane departure warning, forward collision avoidance and blind spot detection.
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Seems like a nice development package, but I wonder why they chose the 7690 imager instead of a more capable one like the OmniVision 5642. I've used the 7690 and it's image quality is marginal at best, whereas the 5642 is razor sharp. Perhaps the ARM processor couldn't process anything better than VGA, but the 7690 built-in optics are subpar.
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