DARPA developing brain-mimicking IR cameras

DARPA developing brain-mimicking IR cameras
The DARPA US research and development agency has announced that it is developing ‘event-based’ infrared cameras, using silicon circuits that mimic the activity of the human brain.

The brain-like cameras are being developed by a team of researchers led by Raytheon, BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman. The project is being developed under the Fast Event-based Neuromorphic Camera and Electronics (FENCE) program, operating asynchronously and transmitting information about pixels that have changed. This kind of camera will produce less data and operate with lower latency and power.

Dr. Whitney Mason, program manager, FENCE program, commented: “Neuromorphic refers to silicon circuits that mimic brain operation; they offer sparse output, low latency, and high energy efficiency…Event-based cameras operate under these same principles when dealing with sparse scenes, but currently lack advanced ‘intelligence’ to perform more difficult perception and control tasks.

“The goal is to develop a ‘smart’ sensor that can intelligently reduce the amount of information that is transmitted from the camera, narrowing down the data for consideration to only the most relevant pixels.”

FENCE aims to develop a low latency, low power IR focal plane array and a class of digital signal processing and learning algorithms to develop smart sensors that can handle dynamic scenes, working to develop an ‘asynchronous read-out integrated circuit’ with a processing layer that integrated with the circuit to identify spatial and temporal signals.

The team plan to enable the finished sensor to operate on less power than 1.5 Watts of power.

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