Sarnoff releases video processor-on-a-chip for image fusion

ORLANDO, Fla., 18 May 2009. Engineers at Sarnoff Corp. in Princeton, N.J., have combined in one real-time video processor the functionality and performance for image fusion that previously required multiple devices.

May 18th, 2009

By John McHale

ORLANDO, Fla., 18 May 2009. Engineers at Sarnoff Corp. in Princeton, N.J., have combined in one real-time video processor the functionality and performance for image fusion that previously required multiple devices. Sarnoff officials announced the new video processor – Acadia II – at the SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing show in Orlando, Fla., last month.

The Acadia II provides enhanced vision for warfighters, says Orion White, field application engineer at Sarnoff. The new device provides "three-band image fusion in high-definition resolution where the Acadia I only had two-band image fusion."

An example of image fusion is combining a low-wave infrared image with a short-wave infrared image.

Processing functions such as contrast normalization, noise reduction, warping, feature detection, target detection and tracking, video mosaics, etc., that previously would take multiple processors and components "now can be performed on one chip," White says.

"With more processing power, smaller size, and less energy consumption," designers can put their systems on Acadia II instead of the other way around, says Mark Clifton, vice president, products and services at Sarnoff.

The system uses four ARM quad core processors, White says. The floating-point processors run at 300 megahertz with a low-power range between 1 and 4 watts – with four independent power-down regions, according to the Sarnoff product data sheet.

White notes that the Acadia line of processors was developed under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program called Multispectral Adaptive Networked Tactical Imaging System (MANTIS) and has now become an off-the-self product for Sarnoff.

According to DARPA's web site the MANTIS program was created to "develop, integrate, and demonstrate a soldier-worn visualization system, consisting of a head-mounted multispectral sensor suite with a high resolution display and a high performance vision processor" or application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), connected to a power supply and radio – worn and carried by the soldier. The helmet-mounted processor should provide "digitally fused, multispectral video imagery in real time from the visible/near infrared (VNIR), the short wave infrared (SWIR) and the long wave iInfrared (LWIR) helmet-mounted sensors" -- all fused to be seen in real-time in a variety of battlefield conditions, according to the DARPA web site.

Other Sarnoff processor features include real-time video enhancement, stabilization, mosaicking, multi-sensor video fusion, stereo range estimation, and image feature detection, according to the Acadia II data sheet. Other Acadia II specifications include 1280 by 1024 RGB video-output with on-screen display processor, three digital video input ports, and support for as much as 108 megahertz parallel video.

The Acadia II mezzanine board is a 3 by 2.5 inch printed circuit board with low-profile Samtec connectors, according to the Sarnoff data sheet. The device memory includes Flash and 1 gigabyte of DDR2 memory.

According to a Sarnoff public release Acadia II is targeted at portable and wearable vision systems; security and surveillance platforms; manned and unmanned aerial and ground vehicles; small arms, border and perimeter protection; and vision-aided GPS-denied navigation.

For more information, visit http://www.sarnoff.com/products/acadia-video-processors.

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