PITTSBURGH (June 19, 2019) —
Self-driving cars rely on their ability to accurately “see” the road
ahead and make adjustments based on what they see. They need to, for instance,
react to a pedestrian who steps out from between parked cars, or know to not
turn down a road that is unexpectedly closed for construction. As such
technology becomes more ubiquitous, there’s a growing need for a better, more
efficient way for machines to process visual information.
New research from the University of Pittsburgh will develop
a neuromorphic vision system that takes a new approach to capturing visual
information that is based on the human brain, benefitting everything from
self-driving vehicles to neural prosthetics.
PhD, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of
Medicine who holds appointments in electrical engineering and bioengineering,
Xiong, PhD, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at
the Swanson School of Engineering, received
$500,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct this
Conventional image sensors record information
frame-by-frame, which stores a great deal of redundant data along with that
which is useful. This excess data storage occurs because most pixels do not
change from frame to frame, like stationary buildings in the background.
Inspired by the human brain, the team will develop a neuromorphic vision system
driven by the timings of changes in the dynamics of the input signal, instead
of the conventional image-based system.
“With existing neuromorphic camera systems, the
communication between the camera and the computing system is limited by how
much data it is trying to push through, which negates the benefits of the large
bandwidth and low power consumption that this camera provides,” says Dr. Xiong.
“We will use a spiking neural network with realistic dynamic synapses that will
enhance computational abilities, develop brain-inspired machine learning to
understand the input, and connect it to a neuromorphic event-based silicon
retina for real-time operating vision.”
This system will work more efficiently than existing
technology, with orders of magnitude better energy efficiency and bandwidth.
“We believe this work will lead to transformative advances
in bio-inspired neuromorphic processing architectures, sensing, with major
applications in self-driving vehicles, neural prosthetics, robotics and general
artificial intelligence,” says Dr. Benosman.
The grant will begin July 1, 2019, and is expected to last
until June 30, 2022.
About the Swanson
School of EngineeringThe University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering
is one of the oldest engineering programs in the U.S. and is consistently
ranked among the top 25 public engineering programs by U.S. News & World
Report. The Swanson School has excelled in basic and applied research during
the past decade with focus areas in sustainability, energy systems, advanced
manufacturing, bioengineering, micro- and nano-systems, computational modeling
and advanced materials development.
About the University
of Pittsburgh School of MedicineAs one of the nation’s leading academic centers for
biomedical research, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine integrates
advanced technology with basic science across a broad range of disciplines in a
continuous quest to harness the power of new knowledge and improve the human
condition. Driven mainly by the School of Medicine and its affiliates, Pitt has
ranked among the top 10 recipients of funding from the National Institutes of
Health since 1998. In rankings recently released by the National Science
Foundation, Pitt ranked fifth among all American universities in total federal
science and engineering research and development support.
Likewise, the School of Medicine is equally committed to
advancing the quality and strength of its medical and graduate education
programs, for which it is recognized as an innovative leader, and to training
highly skilled, compassionate clinicians and creative scientists well-equipped
to engage in world-class research. The School of Medicine is the academic
partner of UPMC, which has collaborated with the University to raise the
standard of medical excellence in Pittsburgh and to position health care as a
driving force behind the region’s economy. For more information about the
School of Medicine, see www.medschool.pitt.edu.
Maggie Pavlick, 6/19/2019
Contact: Paul Kovach