Prophesee teams up with Qualcomm on faster event-driven smartphone cameras

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Prophesee has partnered with Qualcomm to bring a new type of fast image sensor to smartphone cameras.

“Event-based” Metavision technology will enable smartphone cameras that can capture fast action compared to current image sensors. The company made the announcement with Qualcomm at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.

The idea is to bring the speed, efficiency and quality of neuromorphic vision enabled to mobile devices.
Technical and business collaboration will provide mobile developers with a fast and efficient way
to leverage the Paris-based Prophesee sensor’s ability to dramatically improve camera performance, particularly in dynamic, fast-moving scenes (e.g. sports scenes) and low light, through its innovative approach to continuous pixel detection and event-based asynchronous.

Unlike normal image sensors, event-based sensors designed by Prophesee only capture what changes in a smartphone’s image. This allows them to bypass the processing required by other types of sensors that process each pixel in an image. Prophesee only captures the changes, or events, that reflect something changing in a moving image.


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Prophesee and Qualcomm have agreed to a multi-year collaboration to enable native compatibility between Prophesee’s event-based Metavision sensors and software and premium Snapdragon mobile platforms.

The world is neither raster nor frame based. Inspired by the human eye, Prophesee Event-Based sensors repair motion blur and other image quality artifacts caused by conventional sensors, especially in high dynamic scenes and low light conditions, bringing Photography and Video closer to our real experiences, said Prophesee.

Prophesee captures speed well using a new type of sensor for smartphone cameras.

“Prophesee is a clear leader in applying neuromorphic techniques to address the limitations of traditional methods.
cameras and improve the overall user experience. We believe this is a revolutionary technology for
taking mobile photography to the next level and our technical and commercial collaboration
levels will help drive adoption by leading OEMs,” said Judd Heape, vice president of product management for Qualcomm Technologies, in a statement. “Its pioneering achievements with the shutterless capability of event cameras offer a significant improvement in the quality of photography available on the next generation of Snapdragon-powered mobile devices, even in the most demanding environments, opening up a range of new possibilities for Snapdragon customers. ”

Prophesee’s event-based metavision neuromorphic sensors and software will be available for premium Snapdragon mobile platforms. Development kits are expected to be available on Prophesee this year.

“We are excited to be working with the provider of one of the world’s most popular mobile platforms to
embed event-driven insight into the Snapdragon ecosystem. Through this collaboration, the product
developers will be able to dramatically improve the user experience with cameras that provide images
quality and operational excellence not available just using traditional board-based methods,” said Luca
Verre, CEO of Prophesee, in a statement.

How it works

Judd Heape, vice president of product management at the Qualcomm Technologies event.

Prophesee’s innovative sensors add a new dimension of sensing to mobile photography. They changed
the paradigm in traditional image capture, focusing only on changes in a scene, pixel by pixel,
continuously, at extreme speeds, the companies said.

Each pixel in the Metavision sensor incorporates a logic core, allowing it to act like a neuron. Each of them activates intelligently and asynchronously, depending on the number of photons they detect. A pixel that activates is called an event. In essence, events are driven by scene dynamics, no longer by an arbitrary clock, so the acquisition speed always matches the actual scene dynamics.

Prophesee uses event-based optics.

High-performance event-based blurring is achieved by synchronizing a frame-based image and that of Prophesee
event-based sensor. The system then fills gaps between and within frames with microsecond events to algorithmically extract pure motion information and repair motion blur.

It is expected that a development kit with compatibility with Prophesee sensor technologies will be
available this year. Prophesee has more than 100 engineers and 50 international patents.

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