Sony's AI image sensor may be in future iPhones and Google Pixel cameras

Sony's AI image sensor may be in future iPhones and Google Pixel cameras
Today Sony has announced the world's first image sensors with artificial intelligence (AI) on board.

The two versions, IMX500 and IMX501 are both 12.3-megapixel "intelligent vision" sensors. What they "see" can be analyzed and processed directly on their logic chip, without having to rely on cloud services.


Sony notes that the AI capabilities of its new image sensors make it possible to deliver a diverse range of new functionality for applications, such as real-time object tracking with high-speed AI processing. The sensors' processing capabilities are explained by Sony in the following way:



Aside from the potential uses from putting this technology into future smartphones that have previously used Sony camera sensors, such as the iPhone, Sony explains that their new product has a wide variety of use cases in other scenarios.

"When installed on the shelf of a store it can be used to detect stock shortages; when on the ceiling it can be used for heat mapping store visitors (detecting locations where many people gather), and the like. Furthermore, the AI model in a given camera can be rewritten from one used to detect heat maps to one for identifying consumer behavior, and so on," Sony explains.

We're yet to see which smartphone brands may choose to take advantage of this new technology, and what interesting new functionality it may provide for us - the consumer, aside from faster image processing.

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