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Imagination Launches 'Raptor' Image Processing Cores

24 February 2014

Processor intellectual property licensor Imagination Technologies Group plc (Kings Langley, England) has announced the first cores in its Raptor family of image signal processors.

The PowerVR V2500 processor comes with a companion IC, the Series 5 5010 JPEG encoder and support for multiple image sensors with fast context switching. These are also the first cores that have been designed by Imagination "from the ground up" to be part of a heterogeneous processor fabric.

The purpose of Raptor image processing cores is to provide optimized support for such tasks as face and gesture recognition, an other augmented reality applications, which can then be moved off the main application processor in a system. Raptor was the codename given to image signal processing technology that came to Imagination when it acquired Nethra Imaging in 2012 and is now integrated within the PowerVR family of graphics, video and image-oriented cores.

The V2500 core is designed to support multiple sensors to enable stereo, multi-cam and vision array. No explicit mention was made of hyperspectral imaging where IR and visible spectrum images are processed at the same time, sometimes for the purpose of 3D mapping of a scene. This is a function supported by the Myriad-1 processor from Movidius Ltd (Dublin).

In the context of a mobile phone or tablet computer the V2500 can be used to process images from both front and rear cameras at the some time. In addition, the pixel depth of the image-processing pipeline can be configured to match the sensor, thereby conserving power compared to DSPs with fixed datapath widths.

The companion core is optimized for JPEG encoding and Imagination claims it to be the lowest power JPEG encode solution available in the market. Able to take direct input from the V2500, it enables encoding without the use of external memory and can be configured to reach performance in excess of 1Gpixel/second.

Tools and Software Support?

Imagination provides comprehensive software for image processing, lens and sensor tuning to enable customers to support a wide variety of industry-leading sensors and lenses such as those from Aptina, Omnivision and Sony. Also included are software drivers to support Linux, Android and other operating systems including real-time operating systems. The comprehensive software stack includes auto white balance, auto focus and auto exposure (3A) algorithms. Also included are several algorithms optimized for PowerVR Series6 GPUs including anti-shake, face detection and HDR (high dynamic range).

"When the V2500 and other future Raptor cores are combined with our PowerVR graphics and video cores, the result is an optimized vision platform that can enable a new generation of devices," said Chris Longstaff, senior business development manager for Imagination, in a statement.

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