Prophesee introduces event-based vision sensor


Prophesee, a developer of advanced neuromorphic vision systems, has introduced the first industry-standard packaged chip that leverages event-based vision technology, a significant advancement over traditional frame-based vision approaches.

Under development for the past five years and commercially tested with several customers, this third-generation version houses a Prophesee-enabled video graphics array (VGA)-resolution sensor and represents the industry’s first implementation of event-based vision technology in a commercially viable industry-standard package.

The new packaged version of the Metavision sensor is aimed at developers of cameras to enable next-generation vision in industrial automation and Internet of Things (IoT) systems, such as robots, inspection equipment, monitoring and surveillance devices. It leverages Prophesee’s use of neuromorphic vision technology to offer highly efficient machine vision capabilities for a variety of use models, including ultra-high-speed part counting, vibration measurement and monitoring or kinematic monitoring for predictive maintenance. It allows for unprecedented speed, dynamic range, data volume and power efficiency.

In Prophesee Metavision sensors, each pixel is independent and asynchronous. Each pixel only activates itself if it senses a change or movement in the scene – an event. This proprietary event-based approach allows for major reductions in power, latency and data processing requirements imposed by traditional frame-based systems.

It enables sensors to achieve much higher dynamic ranges than commonly associated with high-speed vision. In addition, it allows cost-efficient sensors and systems to record events that would otherwise require conventional cameras to run at 10,000 images per second and more.

The sensor can be used by system developers to improve and, in some cases, create whole new industrial uses, including: accelerating quality assessment on production lines; positioning, sensing and movement guidance for robots to enable better human collaboration; and equipment monitoring (for example disturbances caused by vibrations or kinetic deviations), making the system an asset for predictive maintenance and reduced machine downtime.

The sensor is supported by a robust development environment that includes a comprehensive software development kit (SDK), a full set of drivers, the Prophesee Player tool for recording sequences and visualising data and access to the Prophesee Online Portal, a detailed knowledge centre containing useful resources for developers.

The chip, available in a 13 mm × 15 mm mini plastic ball grid array (PBGA) package, integrates Prophesee’s third-generation CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) vision module. It features 640 × 480 pixel resolution with 15 μm pixels in a 3/4" optical format.