Artificial Intelligence

A detailed look at using AI in embedded smart cameras

10th October 2023
Sheryl Miles

Combining Artificial Intelligence (AI) with embedded cameras has paved the way for visual systems that can intelligently see and interact with their surroundings.

Discover about the role of AI in embedded camera applications, the benefits, and use cases. Get exclusive information on EdgeECAM50_USB, e-con Systems’ edge AI smart USB camera.

As impressive as embedded cameras already are in their functionality, their true potential is only beginning to be unlocked through the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Merging AI with embedded cameras amplifies their capabilities while paving the way for more intelligent and responsive visual systems. This promises to reimagine how machines see and interact with increasingly complex surroundings.

In this blog, let’s find out about the role of AI in embedded camera applications, the benefits, and the most popular use cases. You’ll also get information on EdgeECAM50_USB, e-con Systems’ latest edge AI smart USB camera.

How AI works in embedded camera applications

AI operates as the analytical engine that transforms vast streams of visual data into actionable insights. Upon capturing visuals, AI algorithms preprocess this data to enhance clarity, after which they extract relevant features- faces, objects, or patterns. Using pre-trained models, the AI system interprets what it observes, enabling timely decisions – ranging from object identification to anomaly detection.

The camera’s AI components also engage in a continuous learning process, refining their accuracy and adaptability over time. So, the camera’s responses evolve with its environment and user requirements.

Benefits of AI-based embedded cameras

Superior image quality

One of the primary benefits of integrating AI into embedded cameras is the significant improvement in image quality. Algorithms can automatically adjust settings based on lighting conditions, rectify distortions, and stabilise images in real time. Advanced AI models can even enhance dynamic range, reduce noise, and ensure the resultant image or video is crisp and clear, regardless of the initial capturing conditions.

Predictive maintenance

AI can monitor the health of the camera’s components, predicting potential malfunctions or failures before they occur. This proactive approach ensures that the camera system remains in optimal condition, reducing downtime and maintenance costs. It alerts the user or system administrator about necessary interventions, ensuring longevity and uninterrupted operation.

Power efficiency

Contrary to the belief that advanced functions consume more power, AI can optimise the camera’s operations to ensure power efficiency. Algorithms can decide when to record, analyse, or transmit data, thereby conserving energy. Additionally, AI chipsets designed specifically for embedded systems are optimised for energy efficiency, ensuring that the camera works longer on a single charge or reduces overall power consumption.

Customisation and flexibility

AI brings a level of adaptability to embedded cameras. Users or developers can train their cameras for specific tasks, be it detecting a particular type of wildlife or monitoring machinery in a factory. As AI models can be updated and retrained, cameras can evolve with changing requirements, ensuring that they remain relevant and useful across various scenarios and over extended periods.

Data compression

Storage is always a concern with cameras, especially high-resolution ones. AI can intelligently compress visual data, ensuring that it retains quality while occupying less storage space. Furthermore, AI can decide what data is essential and needs to be stored, versus what can be safely discarded, optimising storage utilisation even further.

Simple use cases of AI cameras

In-vitro diagnostics

  • Tube classification: AI-driven embedded cameras can differentiate between various types of tubes based on their size, colour, markings, and other distinguishing features. This ensures that labs and medical facilities can sort and utilise the appropriate tubes for specific tests or procedures.
  • Cap identification: AI cameras can identify and classify tube caps based on their colour, shape, or any other unique identifiers. This aids in reducing errors in sample handling, ensuring that caps are correctly matched to their respective tubes.
  • Liquid level detection: These AI cameras can analyse tubes and containers to detect the volume of liquid present. Through AI, even minute changes in liquid levels can be noticed, ensuring accuracy in tests, dosages, and other critical applications.

Remote patient monitoring

  • Vital sign monitoring: Cameras equipped with AI can remotely monitor patients’ vital signs, such as heart rate or respiration rate, by analysing subtle changes in skin colour or chest movements. This helps in continuous monitoring without intrusive equipment.
  • Fall detection: Especially important for elderly patients, these cameras can detect unusual movements or postures that indicate falls, triggering immediate alerts to caregivers or medical professionals.
  • Medication adherence: The cameras can track if patients are taking their medications on time and in the right dosage, ensuring adherence to prescribed treatments.

Smart traffic management

  • Traffic flow analysis: AI-based cameras can analyse real-time traffic conditions, helping in dynamically changing traffic light durations to optimise flow and reduce congestion.
  • Accident detection and response: The system can instantly detect accidents or obstructions, alerting authorities, and rerouting traffic as necessary.
  • Vehicle classification: By classifying vehicles, from trucks to motorcycles, cities can implement dynamic tolling or understand roadway usage better.

Advanced biometrics

  • Facial recognition: Beyond the traditional methods, AI-enhanced cameras can recognise faces even in varying lighting conditions, angles, or with partial obstructions, ensuring secure access to facilities or systems.
  • Gait analysis: By studying the unique way individuals walk, AI cameras can recognise and authenticate individuals, adding an additional layer of security.
  • Emotion detection: In certain environments, like airports or secure facilities, detecting heightened emotions like stress or anger can be indicators of potential risks.

e-con Systems’ latest edge AI smart USB camera

EdgeECAM50_USB is an edge AI smart USB camera based on the 5MP low-noise onsemi AR0521 CMOS image sensor. It is specially designed, developed, and manufactured by e-con Systems for pre-analytic tasks like pre-analytical tasks, such as tube classification, cap identification, liquid level detection. EdgeECAM50_USB comes with a powerful dual-core processor for running AI/ML algorithms directly on-board. Thereby, it enables fast and accurate data processing without extra hardware.

Other highlights of EdgeECAM50_USB include:

  • Advanced AI capabilities
  • Support for frameworks like TensorFlow Lite Micro and DeepviewRT
  • On-board ISP for auto-exposure, auto-white balance, etc.
  • Compact form factor
  • USB 2.0 interface

Also, in order to empower product developers, e-con Systems offers a Model Pack with a sample model (test tube cap detection), configurations, and post-processing modules. They can be loaded using the Edge-CAMView.

Featured products

Product Spotlight

Upcoming Events

View all events
Latest global electronics news
© Copyright 2024 Electronic Specifier