Sony Announces First Image Sensor With Built-in AI

Intelligent Vision Sensors, Left: IMX500 Right: IMX501

New use cases for Sony’s new cameras

Sony has announced that it has created the first-ever image sensors in the world that has baked-in AI processing functionality. The two image sensors, the IMX500 and IMX501, give “intelligent vision” to cameras for both retail and industrial applications.

While the two sensors are only 12.3-megapixels and have a 1/2.3-inch sensor, they’re not meant to be image monsters. Instead, the sensors have a pixel and logic chip on top of one another, and the images are processed by the AI chip which cuts out the need to route the information to a device’s processor or memory to process the information.

This means that the sensor will be able to do near-instant analysis and object tracking.

Aside from its AI smarts, the sensors can also capture images in regular 12-megapixels and can shoot 4K video up to 60 FPS. Interestingly the sensors can also just give metadata about the things it shoots or records but not the actual footage itself, which would make for some interesting applications, like heatmap and visitor location tracking as well as shopper behavior where recording user behavior might be seen as being a privacy concern.

Sony has said it has already shipped samples of the new sensors to potential customers, mostly in the B2B segment.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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