MIPI CSI-2 4.0 Brings New Features for Always-On Low-Power Computer Vision at the Edge

Always-On Sentinel Conduit (AOSC) aims to reduce the complexity and power draw, while Multi-Pixel Compression (MPC) drops the bandwidth.

The MIPI Alliance has announced a major update to its Camera Serial Interface 2 (CSI-2) specification, promising improved support for always-on machine vision at the edge.

"The innovations delivered within MIPI CSI-2 provide a scalable foundation upon which next-generation artificial intelligence and machine-vision systems will enhance human-device interaction," claims Joel Huloux, MIPI Alliance chair, of the release. "With its new features, v4.0 vastly expands the range of application, from simplified, low-power environmental monitoring, to compression and superior image quality for high-performance, safety-critical applications."

Building on the first version of MIPI CSI-2, launched in 2005, the new v4.0 release supports always-on imaging devices operating on as little as two wires. Dubbed Always-On Sentinel Conduit, or AOSC, the new functionality is designed for ultra-low-power image sensors and video signal processors, which can monitor for trigger events and wake up a higher-power processor.

The new release also adds in Multi-Pixel Compression, or MPC, which is designed for use with the latest image sensors based around tetra- and nona-cell sensing with multi-pixel color filter arrays (CFAs). Designed to lower bandwidth requirements, the compression system can be applied to both multi-pixel and standard Bayer CFA images alike β€” with, the Alliance claims, "potentially higher quality" than current approaches.

Finally, the new release also brings with it support for RAW28 pixel encoding, used by next-generation automotive image sensors built with high dynamic range (HDR) support.

As with earlier releases, however, the full specification is only available to MIPI Alliance members, who can now download it on the organization's website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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