Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Miniaturized optical sensor for real-time motion detection and analysis

The device developed in the VISTA project is positioned in the market of intelligent imaging sensors. It is able to compute, in real time, motion parameters like the degree of translation, expansion or rotation that is present in the observed scene, as well as the so called time-to-crash (TTC), that is the time it needs for a moving object to collide with the sensor. The fast computation of motion parameters, like the TTC, requires todays equipment who's size, weight and cost don't allow its utilization in everyday products like robots, cars, alarm systems and toys. The same holds for active sensing technologies, like laser, radar or ultrasound, with the further disadvantage of the sensitivity to noise originating from unwanted reflections and interferences.

Thanks to a novel algorithmic technique (based on optical flow computation at sparse locations on the image plane and on one-dimensional correlation) and to custom very large scale integration (VLSI) design, very fast operation (up to 1000 frames per second) at a low cost and with low power budget have been obtained, thus giving shape to a miniaturized product that can be easily embedded in existing systems. Moreover, the presence of a general purpose microcontroller, which performs the very high level control and communication tasks, guarantees a very high level of flexibility and adaptability of the sensor properties towards different application requirements and/or varying external conditions.

The strong points of this miniaturized, passive optical sensor are:
best price/performance technological solution for predictive crash detection;
potential high market;
basic algorithm protected by a patent;
application configurable design;
custom analogue complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) imager;
very high resultant image computational capacity;
embedded serial interface for the easy interfacing of more sensors to a PC;
possibility of redesign for specific requirements (speed, resolution, dimensions, cost, etc).

Reported by

Tecnopolis CSATA Novus Ortus
SP Casamassima KM 3
70010 Valenzano
Italy