AIT’s System-on-a-Chip solutions put a linux box into camera

AIT’s System-on-a-Chip solutions put a linux box into camera
Alpha Imaging Technology (AIT) is a Taiwan-based fabless designer of IC components, focused in the domains of Multimedia Processing (MMP) and Image Signal Processing (ISP) for portable devices. At a net worth of $18 million USD and a growth rate of 214% over 3 years, the company boasts a repertoire of audio / video codec algorithms, and develops nearly all key technologies incorporated in its products within-house.

Utilized initially by cellular manufacturers, AIT innovations have since seen growing adoption in mobile devices, computers, televisions, and – more recently – surveillance equipment and dash-cams. Major clients include Motorola, Ienovo, Samsung, Sharp, LG, Panasonic, HP, Dell, Belkin, and Logitech.

In the 2014-2015 business year, AIT has ventured beyond the terrain of UVC components with innovations into the domain of full-fledged System on a Chip (SoC) solutions. The company's central offerings in the SoC category as of Q3 2014 are the AIT8455P and the AIT8x28 / AIT6x28 Family.

Designed with a single core ARM9-600MHz processor, the AIT8455P was the first of the company's products to offer SoC functionality, distinguishing itself from prior UVC products (notably, the AIT8455D) in its offering of private area security and SDIO support for Wi-Fi. In conjunction with a Linux implementation, these features permit deployment of peer-to-peer communications with remote devices. Other functionalities include Main Profile (CABAC) encoding of H.264 to 1080p@30fps, a sensor resolution of up to 5Mp@24fps, variable bit-rate control (VBR) for video relay in multiple channels, Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) imaging for low-light conditions, and motion and voice detection.

Expanding on the AIT8455P's features, items of the AIT8x28 / AIT6x28 series are powered by a dual-core ARM9-600MHz processor, and support Ethernet and Main and High Profile (CABAC and CAVLC) H.264 to 1080p@60fps, 2-channel 1080p@30fps, 1524@30fps, and 2160@15fps. Sensor performance extends to 8Mp@30fps or 13Mp@24fps, and the AIT8455P's 11×11 mm ball grid array is upgraded in the AIT8x28 / AIT6x28 series to 13×13 mm TFBGA.

The AIT8x28 / AIT6x28 family provides hardware support for USB 2.0 OTG, HDMI output, app integration via Wi-Fi, stacked mDDR, SD cards to 64GB in size, and sensors manufactured by Sony, Samsung, OmniVision, and Aptina. Modules may be incorporated to suit client-side applications, including gyroscopic sensors for Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS), or support for short-range Near Field Communication (NFC). The optional Intelligent Speed Adjustment (ISA) feature for dash-cam implementations can be used with video streams of 1080p@30fps / 800kbps or 720p@30fps / 512kbps.

The highlight features of this year's AIT8x28 / AIT6x28 offerings include Lens Distortion Correction (LDC), Wide (WDR) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging for exposure and detail loss correction, multi-axis color correction, and enhanced video Noise Reduction (NR). In general, the majority of these enhancements are themed toward intelligent elimination of undesirable image and video elements that may compromise quality.

In the area of algorithm-supported media processing, AIT has in the AIT8x28 / AIT6x28 series implemented a suite of high-demand features for audiovisual content. For audio, these include noise reduction, de-reverberation, acoustic echo cancellation, and voice activity detection. Video-end features currently comprise of facial and motion detection, camera tampering detection, and dashcam lane departure detection. In coming months, the list will be appended with dashcam forward collision detection, facial recognition, rolling shutter compensation, and intelligent object tracking (Q1 2015).

AIT has announced that the planned successor to its current SoC offerings will feature a dual-Coretex CPU processor, H.265 encoding, and further hardware support for Ethernet. Following the company's advancements to date, it is likely that end-users will enjoy a broader variety of convenient innovations in intelligent media correction.

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