Partnership strives to expand both company’s offerings in image signal processing markets building on Apical software algorithmic expertise and Silicon Hive’s Programmable HiveFlex ISP processor family.
February 6, 2008 -- Silicon Hive (Eindhoven, The Netherlands), Apical Ltd. (London, England) entered into a partnership agreement to jointly develop hardware accelerated Retina-Morphic and Image Signal Processing solutions for (mobile) 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. The companies will be showing live demonstrations of this new joint product at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Spain February 11th – 14th.
Iridix is a sophisticated method of dynamic range compression which has already been widely adopted by leading DSC manufacturers. It differs from conventional methods such as gamma correction in that it 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.
Figure 1 – Example of Iridix image enhancement on a typical digital camera image.
The HiveFlex ISP 2200 processor is capable of processing over 100 Mpixels/second. It is C programmable and easily scaleable 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 award winning parallel processing technology. It uses proprietary data, instruction, and task level parallelism to achieve area and power efficient designs not found in other common DSP like design.
Figure 2 – Silicon Hive’s HiveGates FPGA based emulation system for evaluating HiveFlex ISP 2200 and Iridix software in real time.
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.
Further developments call for readying Apical’s world class 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 Vice President 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 Apical
About Silicon Hive B.V.
Silicon Hive is a worldwide supplier of semiconductor intellectual property. The company designs, builds and licenses application-specific solutions for communications, imaging, and video processing using its tuned programmable HiveFlex processor cores. IP cores are supported by HiveCC program development tools, and partner supplied application libraries. Silicon Hive products enable semiconductor and consumer electronics companies to make fully programmable System-on-Chips (SoCs) improving time to market performance. The patented technology originates from 10 years of research within Philips Research and more recent improvements, additions, and commercialization by Silicon Hive. Silicon Hive B.V. is a venture funded company with investments from New Venture Partners LLC, TVM Capital GmbH, and Philips.
About Apical Imaging Ltd.
Apical is a UK-based developer of advanced image processing products for professional and consumer applications. The company's proprietary technology enhances the performance of a wide range of imaging devices by optimising still image or video content between capture and display. Devices using Apical's technology preserve the image detail and clarity which is lost by conventional image processing, so that the user sees the full quality of the source material. www.apical-imaging.com