SmartCam = Smart camera
Smart-Cam: Devices for Embedded Intelligent Cameras
The goal of the project is to explore the new architecture for image processing application by creating an environment for exploring the design space parameterized by the architectural template and integrating this with our application mapping environment.
The advent and subsequent popularity of low cost, low power CMOS vision sensors enables us to integrate processing logic on the camera chip itself, thereby creating so-called smart sensors. They have an on-chip SIMD data processing array controlled by an off-chip controller. Smart sensors can execute low-level image processing routines as soon as one or more image lines are converted; they do not have to wait for the whole image. High level image processing like feature extraction and object detection and tracking can be performed with a separate powerful off-chip processor. Current solutions have several problems. It is totally unclear what the right architectural parameters are for a given application domain. There are many parameters, like pixel array size, pixel properties, number of AD-converter units, accuracy, number of pixels per SIMD processor element, processor element functionality, etc. Also the functionality of the external processor and its connectivity with the smart sensor has to be determined. Furthermore, intuitive mappings of algorithms on architecture components are used, after the architecture has been determined. It will be clear that this is far from optimal. Finally we foresee a further integration, making a combination of on-chip vision sensor, pixel processing, control, and feature / object processing possible. The result is a low-cost one-chip smart camera (so-called SmartCam) solution. This means that research is needed to explore the new architectural opportunities and consequences. The SmartCam project investigates these new opportunities and contributes to a better and more quantitatively guided design trajectory. In particular, we will investigate the impact of current applications, define relevant architectural parameters and develop an architectural template, enhance our existing application mapping environments for SIMD and ILP (Instruction-Level Parallel) processors, and perform two case studies. The work will focus on creating an environment for exploring the design space parameterized by the architectural template and integrating this with our application mapping environment.