Modular multi-chip neuromorphic architecture for real-time visual motion processing

Charles M. Higgins, Christof Koch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The extent of pixel-parallel focal plane image processing is limited by pixel area and imager fill factor. In this paper, we describe a novel multi-chip neuromorphic VLSI visual motion processing system which combines analog circuitry with an asynchronous digital interchip communications protocol to allow more complex pixel-parallel motion processing than is possible in the focal plane. This multi-chip system retains the primary advantages of focal plane neuromorphic image processors: low-power consumption, continuous-time operation, and small size. The two basic VLSI building blocks are a photosensitive sender chip which incorporates a 2D imager array and transmits the position of moving spatial edges, and a receiver chip which computes a 2D optical flow vector field from the edge information. The elementary two-chip motion processing system consisting of a single sender and receiver is first characterized. Subsequently, two three-chip motion processing systems are described. The first three-chip system uses two sender chips to compute the presence of motion only at a particular stereoscopic depth from the imagers. The second three-chip system uses two receivers to simultaneously compute a linear and polar topographic mapping of the image plane, resulting in information about image translation, rotation, and expansion. These three-chip systems demonstrate the modularity and flexibility of the multi-chip neuromorphic approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-211
Number of pages17
JournalAnalog Integrated Circuits and Signal Processing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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