Cameras and Sensors for Embedded Vision


While analog cameras are still used in many vision systems, this section focuses on digital image sensors—usually either a CCD or CMOS sensor array that operates with visible light. However, this definition shouldn’t constrain the technology analysis, since many vision systems can also sense other types of energy (IR, sonar, etc.).

The camera housing has become the entire chassis for a vision system, leading to the emergence of “smart cameras” with all of the electronics integrated. By most definitions, a smart camera supports computer vision, since the camera is capable of extracting application-specific information. However, as both wired and wireless networks get faster and cheaper, there still may be reasons to transmit pixel data to a central location for storage or extra processing.

A classic example is cloud computing using the camera on a smartphone. The smartphone could be considered a “smart camera” as well, but sending data to a cloud-based computer may reduce the processing performance required on the mobile device, lowering cost, power, weight, etc. For a dedicated smart camera, some vendors have created chips that integrate all of the required features.


Until recent times, many people would imagine a camera for computer vision as the outdoor security camera shown in this picture. There are countless vendors supplying these products, and many more supplying indoor cameras for industrial applications. Don’t forget about simple USB cameras for PCs. And don’t overlook the billion or so cameras embedded in the mobile phones of the world. These cameras’ speed and quality have risen dramatically—supporting 10+ mega-pixel sensors with sophisticated image processing hardware.

Consider, too, another important factor for cameras—the rapid adoption of 3D imaging using stereo optics, time-of-flight and structured light technologies. Trendsetting cell phones now even offer this technology, as do latest-generation game consoles. Look again at the picture of the outdoor camera and consider how much change is about to happen to computer vision markets as new camera technologies becomes pervasive.


Charge-coupled device (CCD) sensors have some advantages over CMOS image sensors, mainly because the electronic shutter of CCDs traditionally offers better image quality with higher dynamic range and resolution. However, CMOS sensors now account for more 90% of the market, heavily influenced by camera phones and driven by the technology’s lower cost, better integration and speed.

Ultra-Wide is Ultra-Hot, and a Lot of Work

Wide angle cameras are hot in smartphones, cars, VR and surveillance, for convenience, cost or safety. Turning wide-angle, high-res input into pleasing and usable high-resolution output in real-time depends on a holistic solution with special optics, dedicated hardware and customized software. Recent-release phones have three cameras, for the iPhone 11 a wide-angle lens, a telephoto

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Piera Systems Demonstration of the Canaree, Its Smoke and Vape Sensor

Shaheeb Rizvi, Chief Operating Officer at Piera Systems, delivers a product demonstration at the December 2019 Vision Industry and Technology Forum. Specifically, Rizvi demonstrates the company’s computer vision-based smoke and vape sensor, the Canaree. Piera Systems provides solutions in air quality monitoring. The Canaree, based on the company’s innovative ASIC, is a sensor that can

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“Edge/Cloud Tradeoffs and Scaling a Consumer Computer Vision Product,” a Presentation from Cocoon Health

Pavan Kumar, Co-founder and CTO of Cocoon Cam (formerly Cocoon Health), delivers the presentation “Edge/Cloud Tradeoffs and Scaling a Consumer Computer Vision Product” at the Embedded Vision Alliance’s September 2019 Vision Industry and Technology Forum. Kumar explains how his company is evolving its use of edge and cloud vision computing… “Edge/Cloud Tradeoffs and Scaling a

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“2D and 3D Sensing: Markets, Applications, and Technologies,” a Presentation from Yole Développement

Guillaume Girardin, Photonics, Sensing and Display Division Director at Yole Développement, delivers the presentation “2D and 3D Sensing: Markets, Applications, and Technologies” at the Embedded Vision Alliance’s September 2019 Vision Industry and Technology Forum. Girardin details the optical depth sensor market and application trends. “2D and 3D Sensing: Markets, Applications, and Technologies,” a Presentation from

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“Selecting the Right Imager for Your Embedded Vision Application,” a Presentation from Capable Robot Components

Chris Osterwood, Founder and CEO of Capable Robot Components, presents the “Selecting the Right Imager for Your Embedded Vision Application” tutorial at the May 2019 Embedded Vision Summit. The performance of your embedded vision product is inexorably linked to the imager and lens it uses. Selecting these critical components is… “Selecting the Right Imager for

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“Machine Learning at the Edge in Smart Factories Using TI Sitara Processors,” a Presentation from Texas Instruments

Manisha Agrawal, Software Applications Engineer at Texas Instruments, presents the “Machine Learning at the Edge in Smart Factories Using TI Sitara Processors” tutorial at the May 2019 Embedded Vision Summit. Whether it’s called “Industry 4.0,” “industrial internet of things” (IIOT) or “smart factories,” a fundamental shift is underway in manufacturing: factories are becoming smarter. This

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May 18 - 21, Santa Clara, California

The preeminent event for practical, deployable computer vision and visual AI, for product creators who want to bring visual intelligence to products.

Here you’ll find a wealth of practical technical insights and expert advice to help you bring AI and visual intelligence into your products without flying blind.



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Walnut Creek, CA 94596 USA

Phone: +1 (925) 954-1411
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