Sunday, October 06, 2019

Sony Future of Image Sensing with RISC-V

Sony LSI Design Executive Deputy President Hideki Yoshida's presentation at RISC-V Day Tokyo 2019 on Sept. 30 is titled "Future of Image Sensing with RISC-V." The presentation details on Sony plans of AI integration onto image sensors and also says that Sony is going to pursue "a recurring revenue business model:"

The presentation also shows an updated Sony Semiconductor org chart and the market segmentation and trends:


  1. I think that image sensors plus "AI" (not really AI like "HAL") to make smart sensors is the future for automatic vision systems, especially as stacked sensors become more commonplace. It is something those of us in the smart sensor business have been hoping for and working towards our whole professional lives -- in my case since the early 1980's. I hope they are used for good rather than evil, but what can we do now to reduce the chances of the latter? No one wants automated killing machines or "skynet" or "slaughterbots" (Google those things if they are unfamiliar concepts). Apparently there is no time travel in the future or ... well, you know what happens to NN engineers in Terminator.

    Meanwhile, photographic image sensors will also be needed in the future but for denoise-ing and other computational imaging tricks, it is likely that visual sensors combined with "AI" in the cloud or in the camera will also be the future. Even for simple sensors in IoT, I think simple AI in the cloud will be the path forward. Exciting times in #imagesensors !

  2. Big believer in RISC-V! Great opportunity to provide customized performance, enabling simultaneously lower power and higher performance. While always desired, the low-power/high-performance is especially relevant with stacked image sensors (heat affecting image sensor quality)

    Financially, I think it is also probably a GREAT solution for stacked image sensors. ARM often collects a royalty on the device, even though their contribution is only a small part of the overall device solution; the true value lies elsewhere (eg, the image sensor, signal processing, etc). Tools and support are also rapidly improving with market leaders such as WD (storage) and Sony (image sensors) and others showing their support to the architecture.

    Excited to see Sony participating in this!

    (Disclaimer: no connection to RISC-V or related companies. Just an enthusiast on the topic!)


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