@Larry, I couldn't agree with you more. It always cracks me up when I watch one of those shows -- where a fuzzy picture becomes suddenly crystal clear once treated by some sort of a machine...what happened to the principle of "garbage in, garbage out"?
@Junko, it has already been proven on many TV cop shows that image resolution is irrelevant. It has been replaced by the 'enhance image' button that can extract a perfect image from the grainiest source - usually just in time to catch the perpetrator...
Seriously, there are limits to the technology. I got several traffic tickets from San Francisco toll bridges (I live and spend most of my time in San Diego) because someone up there had a partially-obstructed license plate that got resolved to the number on my wife's car.The tickets were forgiven once a real human took a look at the images. I suspect that a good number of people have expectations driven more by TV shows than by reality.
@Jack,L, thank you for your comment, and your points are well taken.
Indeed, much of the machine vision technologies have been around for a long time. That said, over the years, there have been a good deal of steady advancements on high dynamic range pixels, global shutter CMOS image sensors and fast and accurate column AD converters.
At a time when some of the machine vision technologies already well exploited on factory floors are now getting out on streets with the progress of ADAS, I figured it's time to do a quick reflection on where CMOS image sensors have been.
Seven pages of links, but pretty light on content for an article and frankly this article could have been written 15 years ago with much of the same content.
Image sensor cost has come way down (mostly), but performance is not that much better now than it was 10 years ago in absolute terms of what is readily available. Read rates has gone up, but that has little to do with image sensors but more about analog A/D integration.
License plate reading, etc. was being done 20 years ago for IVHS.
FYI, camera on a stick for endoscopy was first done about 20 years ago as well. Power requirements of NMOS sensors not great for the application. CMOS brought power levels down to make this effective. Not sure what is meant by a "digital" image sensor ... integration of A/D?
Photochromic glasses that darken in bright light and lighten inside have been around for decades. No knob required but many years ago, there were glasses that electrically darkened just like welding glasses. Massive failure if I remember.