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A silicon retina is an intelligent vision sensor that can execute real-time image preprocessing by using a parallel analog circuit that mimics the structure of the neuronal circuits in the vertebrate retina. For enhancing the sensor's robustness to changes in illumination in a practical environment, we have designed and fabricated a silicon retina on the basis of a computational model of brightness constancy. The chip has a wide-dynamic-range and shows a constant response against changes in the illumination intensity. The photosensor in the present chip approximates logarithmic illumination-to-voltage transfer characteristics as a result of the application of a time-modulated reset voltage technique. Two types of image processing, namely, Laplacian-Gaussian-like spatial filtering and computing the frame difference, are carried out by using resistive networks and sample/hold circuits in the chip. As a result of these processings, the chip exhibits brightness constancy over a wide range of illumination. The chip is fabricated by using the 0.25-μm complementary metal-oxide semiconductor image sensor technology. The number of pixels is 64 × 64, and the power consumption is 32 mW at the frame rate of 30 fps. We show that our chip not only has a wide-dynamic-range but also shows a constant response to the changes in illumination.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2011