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Silicon Hive, Apical co-develop embedded imaging sol'n for mobiles

Posted: 08 Feb 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:imaging solution? mobile device? processor?

Iridix image enhancement on a typical digital camera image.

Silicon Hive and Apical Ltd have partnered to develop hardware accelerated Retina-Morphic and Image Signal Processing solutions for camera phones and other terminals with demanding imaging requirements.

The agreement calls for Apical to optimize and port several of its image enhancement and processing engines to Silicon Hive's HiveFlex ISP 2200 programmable processor. Silicon Hive will enhance its HiveFlex ISP 2200 processor's instruction set for Apical Imaging's engines, resulting in area- and power-efficient silicon designs. The first joint product ready now for evaluations is Apical's Iridix engine running on a HiveFlex ISP 2200 processor.

Iridix is method of dynamic range compression that has already been widely adopted by digital still camera (DSC) makers. Compared with conventional methods such as gamma correction, Iridix applies different tonal and color transformations to every pixel in a source image. It s based on research into the human visual system and in particular mimics the way in which the human retina adapts to scenes of high and variable contrast.

The HiveFlex ISP 2200 processor is capable of processing over 100Mpixel per second. It is C programmable and easily scalable to meet varying needs of either CMOS image sensor or imaging SoC manufacturers. The 5 issue slot architecture combines VLIW and SMID vector functions which can be scaled for example in the number of bits per pixel, data path, SIMD vector size, and other dimensions. The HiveFlex ISP 2200 is based on Silicon Hive's parallel processing technology and uses proprietary data, instruction, and task level parallelism to achieve area and power efficient designs not found in other common DSP like design.

Besides the technical merits of the partnership, cooperation between the companies will accelerate penetration of both products into new market spaces. Apical's strong presence with manufacturers of digital cameras and camera phones should help Silicon Hive achieve adoption within those sectors. At the same time Silicon Hive's strong contacts with semiconductor manufacturers and CMOS sensor manufacturers benefits Apical as well.

In addition, further developments call for readying Apical's image signal processing chain in a programmable format on the HiveFlex ISP 2200 processor. "This partnership with Apical Imaging enables us to now offer a comprehensive set of image enhancement and processing algorithms on top of our HiveFlex ISP 2000 series of processors. Customers around the world have been asking for such software lately with the market demand increasing the past 12 months. Apical also benefits as they now have a processor to work with which is fully programmable enabling them speed up the development of various differentiated Iridix products as well as other image processing algorithms," said Geoff Burns, VP of product management, Silicon Hive.

"Using the Hiveflex ISP 2000 processors, we are able to implement sophisticated image algorithms in a fully programmable environment, while maintaining the high performance and low power characteristic of optimized hardware. This is an attractive combination for mobile device manufacturers seeking both differentiation in image quality and highly efficient processing," said Michael Tusch, CEO of Apical.

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