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Optics and photonics

Retina technology revolutionizes the world of imagers

​Leti, a CEA Tech institute, recently unveiled its first-ever smart imager made with a 3D stack. The result of seven years of R&D, the Retina imager's tightly integrated processor and sensor are capable of analyzing images in record time.

Published on 2 December 2019

​Retina, the smart imager demonstrator developed by Leti researchers, promises high frame rates, low-latency image analysis, low energy consumption, and a very compact form factor.

The demonstrator leverages Leti's mature 3D integration technologies. A pixel array (1024 x 768) is connected vertically to a 192-processor chip by direct bonding. With most smart imager designs, the flow of data between the pixel array and the chip bumps up against a bottleneck. Retina's massively parallel architecture enables the very high speed transmission of data from the sensor to the processing components, enabling record-breaking image analysis speeds. The imager also reduces the outgoing data stream to a strict minimum by keeping only the most relevant data. Retina can process 5,500 images per second and offers a response time of around 3 milliseconds.

Finally, the imager's 192 processors can run different programs on different areas of the chip in parallel to complete value-added tasks like detecting anomalies, zooming in on areas of interest, and capturing moving objects. This patented innovation responds to growing demand for image analysis technologies for robotics, video surveillance, and quality control. A second generation of the imager is currently under development.

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