Forza Silicon, a leader of advanced image sensor and mixed-signal IC designs for digital camera applications, today announced the first fully reconfigurable image sensor design with multiple programmable features and functions in a single chip.
This flexibility provides a platform, which can be used to connect smart sensors to the Internet and enable a variety of “Internet of Things” (IoT) product applications.
Forza Silicon’s reconfigurable image sensor includes both a new level of programmability and the ability to reconfigure the sensor to meet specific application requirements. The image sensor is a single compact device merging an imaging array with a customizable analog/digital processor. It has numerous reconfigurable capabilities and can be programmed to perform multiple monitoring and decision-making tasks at the sensor “edge.” It can be configured to integrate into different product applications and can be reconfigured to include more features and capabilities in the existing device.
The reconfigurable image sensor enables a range of input/output operations and processing functions. The programmable logic can be configured to enable camera functionality not supported by existing microprocessor chips. It is configurable for different system interfaces [network connections (Ethernet/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth), memory processors, PC, USB] and image processing [color, high dynamic range, motion detection, object/facial recognition, other biometric applications]. The onboard analog to digital converter is adjustable for different frame rates, power conservation and noise limits for improved performance. The advanced technology provides a low-power, compact, multi-function sensor solution that is cost-effective and accelerates time-to-market.
Additionally, the reconfigurable image sensor architecture allows the manufacturer to provide upgrades to product firmware through its network connection in which product features are added or enhanced. The value of this feature has already been documented in instances where existing IoT devices did not have a reconfigurable capability requiring either the disarming of a product feature or product recall.
To demonstrate the sensor’s capabilities, Forza Silicon developed a platform in which a single reconfigurable sensor device was used in tandem with a smoke detector to monitor, detect and stream video confirmation of a fire event within a household to the homeowner’s mobile phone. The device integrated a compact, low-power image sensor with a low-power MachXO2-7000 FPGA from Lattice Semiconductor. The customizable Lattice MachXO2-7000, with its high functional density, was particularly well suited to this application’s high-bandwidth, low-latency requirements, minimizing power and network bandwidth needs.
“The sensor’s expansive programmability enables the next generation of smarter applications in the car, home, factory, environment and more,” notes Barmak Mansoorian, president and co-founder at Forza Silicon. He adds, “Our reconfigurable image sensor technology can facilitate endless possibilities for smart applications in this growing network of sensors, from smart cars to smart electricity grids.”