Sony, Microsoft combine resources on IMX500 edge image sensor offering

Sony IMX500 image sensor.
Image: Sony

Sony and Microsoft announced a new partnership intended to embed the former’s IMX500 edge image sensor with the latter’s Azure artificial intelligence (AI) cloud software. The two firms are also working on a smart camera application that will let third-parties better harness the power of the system-on-a-chip (SoC).

The Big Tech giants are hoping to attract independent software vendors (ISVs) and original equipment managers (OEMs) with their solution.

Innovative Edge Imaging Solution

Last week, Sony debuted its IMX500 chip to the world as a big step forward next-generation connected camera system. The component can capture 12.3-megapixel footage with 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. Because the sensor is stacked atop a high-performance processor, it can also securely perform object recognition and tracking tasks at a rate of 3.1 milliseconds.

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Thanks to Sony’s new partnership with Microsoft, the IMX500 has received a significant software upgrade.

The embedded Azure AI will perform robust metadata analysis at the edge securely and quickly. The sensor features a built-in logic circuit, enabling it to capture information that is not vulnerable to transmission interception. Also, the cloud software preloaded on the component will minimize its power consumption, making the module an ideal system upgrade option.

In addition, Sony and Microsoft are developing a smart camera app to make using the IMX500 even easier for enterprises. ISVs can use the framework to rapidly create and deploy custom AI models for a variety of tasks. Similarly, OEMs can integrate the component into their devices to give them advanced computer vision functionality.

Since the Azure Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem allows users to connect up to 1 million devices to a single hub, Sony’s smart image sensor can support a range of large-scale operations.

IMX500 x Azure Applications

At launch, Sony noted the IMX500 could be very useful for manufacturers and retailers. The corporation posited the chipset will power high-performance IoT surveillance systems. Merchants can also utilize the SoC to track the movement of customers through their physical locations.

The Japanese corporation specifically noted the AI module’s capacity to empower Amazons cashierless grocery stores.

With the Azure upgrade, Sony highlighted its image sensor’s ability to perform more specialized tasks. Manufacturers can utilize the chipset to identify equipment malfunctions before they injure personnel. Besides, retailers can deploy IMX500-enhanced IoT systems that will track their goods from distribution to their store shelves.

Bloomberg also pointed out the edge processor could allow smartphone makers to design new biometric security programs akin to Apple’s FaceID. The publication notes mobile device makers could utilize the AI chip to enable next-generation augmented reality (AR) offerings. Indeed, the component’s edge processing capacity indicates it could provide users with seamless AR experiences.

If used at its full capability, the IMX500 will change the way we work, shop, and consume entertainment. Given their vast array of tech industry connections and resources, Sony and Microsoft are well-positioned to realize the imaging chipset’s potential.


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