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27 September 2008 A temporal contrast IR vision sensor
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This paper presents a 64 x 64 pixel temporal contrast vision sensor for the 8-15 μm thermal infrared spectral range. The device combines microbolometer detector technology with biology-inspired ('neuromorphic') focal-plane array (FPA) processing circuitry to implement an asynchronous, 'spiking' sensor array. The sensor's individual pixels operate autonomously and respond with low latency and high temporal resolution to changes in thermal IR radiation (temporal contrast) by generating asynchronous, digital pulses ('spike' events). These spikes trigger the transmission of data packets containing the active pixel's array address via an asynchronous data bus. The output data volume of such a self-timed, event-driven sensor depends essentially on the dynamic contents of the target scene. The consequence is a near complete suppression of image data redundancy as compared to traditional, frame-based vision sensors. We discuss the bolometer properties and the different processing steps applied during fabrication and present a brief review of the implemented sensor architecture. A DFT-based approach to the characterization of asynchronous, spiking sensor arrays is introduced. We use a mechanical shutter (chopper) to generate a controllable and reproducible transient stimulus and evaluate the pixel response in time and frequency domain. Measurement results of pixel sensitivity, bandwidth and noise are shown.
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Christoph Posch, Rainer Wohlgenannt, Daniel Matolin, and Thomas Maier "A temporal contrast IR vision sensor", Proc. SPIE 7100, Optical Design and Engineering III, 71002A (27 September 2008);

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