In this paper a survey of analog application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for low-level image processing, called vision chips, is presented. Due to the specific requirements, the vision chips are designed using different architectures best suited to their functions. The main types of the vision chip architectures and their properties are presented and characterized on selected examples of prototype integrated circuits (ICs) fabricated in complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technologies. While discussing the vision chip realizations the importance of low-cost, low-power solutions is highlighted, which are increasingly being used in intelligent consumer equipment. Thanks to the great development of the automated design environments and fabrication methods, new, so far unknown applications of the vision chips become possible, as for example disposable endoscopy capsules for photographing the human gastrointestinal tract for the purposes of medical diagnosis.
A simple analog circuit is presented which can play a neuron role in static-model-based neural networks implemented in the form of an integrated circuit. Operating in a transresistance mode it is suited to cooperate with transconductance synapses. As a result, its input signal is a current which is a sum of currents coming from the synapses. Summation of the currents is realized in a node at the neuron input. The circuit has two outputs and provides a step function signal at one output and a linear function one at the other. Activation threshold of the step output can be conveniently controlled by means of a voltage. Having two outputs, the neuron is attractive to be used in networks taking advantage of fuzzy logic. It is built of only five MOS transistors, can operate with very low supply voltages, consumes a very low power when processing the input signals, and no power in the absence of input signals. Simulation as well as experimental results are shown to be in a good agreement with theoretical predictions. The presented results concern a 0.35 1m CMOS process and a prototype fabricated in the framework of Europractice.