A new kind of vision sensor is now available in a small form factor SMD package. Measuring just 13 x 15 mm, the new sensors - called Meta vision (though nothing to do with the recently rebranded Meta) work on an event driver per-pixel system.
By "reporting back" to the processor only when individual pixels register changes in intensity, they save processing power compared to sending back full-frame images every frame.
The new sensors, from French-based firm Prophesee, are discussed at more length in this week's Electromaker Show.
The new sensors are bleeding-edge technology and are only available in a PGBA package that is not particularly hobby-level friendly. For most hobby uses we'd still recommend an SBC with a camera like the Nvidia Jetson Nano. If you would like to get your hands on one of the new Metavision sensors, however, you can register your interest on the Prohpesee website.
Computer Vision Doing More With Less
Computer vision on single board computers and microcontrollers continues to get better and uses less power. While there are ways to make Image classification on the Raspberry Pi 4 low power, it's still something you'd be hard-pressed to leave running for a long time on battery power.
These new sensors, with their tiny surface mount footprint and potential for super low power use, will be a key part in adding computer vision to devices that previously couldn't support it.