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A complementary-metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor replicating the perception of vision in insects is presented for machine vision applications. The sensor is equipped with in-pixel analog and digital memories that allow in-pixel binarization in real time. The binary output of the pixel tries to replicate the flickering effect of an insect's eye to detect the smallest possible motion based on the change in state of each pixel. The pixel level optical flow generation reduces the need for digital hardware and simplifies the process of motion detection. A built-in counter counts the changes in states for each row to estimate the direction of the motion. The designed image sensor can also sense polarization information in real time using a metallic wire grid micropolarizer. An extinction ratio of 7.7 is achieved. The 1-D binary optical flow is shown to vary with the polarization angle of the incoming light ray. The image sensor consists of an array of 128 × 128 pixels, occupies an area of 5 × 4 mm2 and it is designed and fabricated in a 180-nm CMOS process.
Date of Publication: March 2013