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In this article, we provide a basic introduction to CMOS image-sensor technology, design and performance limits and present recent developments and future directions in this area. We also discuss image-sensor operation and describe the most popular CMOS image-sensor architectures. We note the main non-idealities that limit CMOS image sensor performance, and specify several key performance measures. One of the most important advantages of CMOS image sensors over CCDs is the ability to integrate sensing with analog and digital processing down to the pixel level. Finally, we focus on recent developments and future research directions that are enabled by pixel-level processing, the applications of which promise to further improve CMOS image sensor performance and broaden their applicability beyond current markets.