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A bio-inspired model for an analog programmable array processor (APAP), based on studies on the vertebrate retina, has permitted the realization of complex programmable spatio-temporal dynamics in VLSI. This model mimics the way in which images are processed in the visual pathway, what renders a feasible alternative for the implementation of early vision tasks in standard technologies. A prototype chip has been designed and fabricated in 0.5 μm CMOS. It renders a computing power per silicon area and power consumption that is amongst the highest reported for a single chip. The details of the bio-inspired network model, the analog building block design challenges and trade-offs and some functional tests results are presented in this paper.