1 kHz 2D Visual Motion Sensor Using 20x20 Silicon Retina Optical Sensor and DSP Microcontroller

S.-C. Liu*, M. Yang, A. Steiner, R. Moeckel, T. Delbruck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Optical flow sensors have been a long running theme in neuromorphic vision sensors which include circuits that implement the local background intensity adaptation mechanism seen in biological retinas. This paper reports a bio-inspired optical motion sensor aimed towards miniature robotic and aerial platforms. It combines a 20 x 20 continuous-time CMOS silicon retina vision sensor with a DSP microcontroller. The retina sensor has pixels that have local gain control and adapt to background lighting. The system allows the user to validate various motion algorithms without building dedicated custom solutions. Measurements are presented to show that the system can compute global 2D translational motion from complex natural scenes using one particular algorithm: the image interpolation algorithm (I2A). With this algorithm, the system can compute global translational motion vectors at a sample rate of 1 kHz, for speeds up to +/- 1000 pixels/s, using less than 5 k instruction cycles (12 instructions per pixel) per frame. At 1 kHz sample rate the DSP is 12% occupied with motion computation. The sensor is implemented as a 6 g PCB consuming 170 mW of power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-216
Number of pages10
JournalIeee Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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