If you’ve ever watched the news or a true crime series, then the importance of clear and distinct security cameras aren’t lost on you. Unfortunately, surveillance cameras aren’t known for their clarity or strong picture images. Designers at ARM have pioneered the design of a sharper digital eye for devices such as surveillance cameras to provide clearer vision.
Two new processors from ARM, the ARM Mali-C52 and Mali-C32 image signal processors (ISPs), were revealed to showcase the higher image quality within a wide array of applications. ARM’s Senior Director, Thomas Ensergueix says, “Chips based on the new designs will produce better image quality in a wide range of everyday devices including drones, smart home assistants, and security and internet protocol (IP) cameras.”
The ability to process higher quality images has been a challenge for ARM as they work on chip design and partner with hardware companies that license chip architectures from ARM. It is predicted that the demand for connected devices will grow exponentially as more people vie for devices with embedded vision. The market for security and IP camera devices are on pace to accelerate 20 percent through 2021, reaching more than 500 million units shipped.
This demand is the reason behind ARM’s new generation of image signal processors (ISPs). The significant function of the innovative chips is to deliver the most accurate and highest image quality when taking data from an image sensor and processing each pixel. Three critical components necessary to enable the image output are high dynamic range (HDR), noise reduction, and color management. The Mali-C52 and Mali-C32 ISPs deliver in terms of algorithms for noise and color management. HDR permits security cameras the ability to discern fine details in images with a combination of bright and dark spots.
On average, digital sensors require numerous exposures to capture an image or scene. “Normally, digital sensors need multiple exposures to capture such a scene. To faithfully represent an HDR scene, image technology requires 20 or 24 bits of precision per pixel, but digital system displays are typically 8-bit or 10-bit, thus limiting the amount of data they can handle,” says Ensergueix.
The new devices from ARM were designed to overcome the previous device limitations and provide viewers with enhanced shadows without altering the highlights in the image. The ISPs can process 600 megapixels per second, which means consumers get a professional photograph quality at premium smartphone-level frame rates.