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Press Release

Frost & Sullivan Honors Intrigue for RoboRetina™ – an Adaptive Imaging Technology Innovation

Intrigue receives 2006 Technology Innovation Award for groundbreaking image sensing technology for autonomous systems

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania– February 4, 2007 – The Frost & Sullivan 2006 Technology Innovation Award in the field of image sensors for autonomous applications goes to Intrigue Technologies Incorporated, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Intrigue has solely designed and developed the RoboRetina, an adaptive image sensor concept in which pixels intelligently adapt to local illumination conditions in the environment. Akin to the human eye, the system is able to sense high dynamic range scenes without any loss of data while producing illumination-invariant images that allow reliable image interpretation and object recognition under various illumination conditions.

Imaging applications are numerous and the image sensor market is visibly booming. It is currently driven by digital cameras and cell phones; however, the next growth spurt in image sensors is expected to be in autonomous vision system applications – automotive and transportation, security/biometrics, and robotics and unmanned systems. These applications require vision systems that can operate over a wide range of lighting conditions. Image sensors used in digital cameras and cell phones have so far failed to perform in such general operational scenarios. For example, in sun-lit scenes current technology produces images that routinely saturate for brightly illuminated surfaces, while shadows come out completely black. Such degraded images with missing details in shadow and/or bright areas causing the entire vision system to fail, since a machine (or human operator) cannot tell what is in those images. The human eye, on the other hand is able to adapt and perceive the environment under such extreme conditions.

RoboRetina is a platform technology that mimics some of the adaptive properties of the human eye. This results in avoiding loss of detail even for wide dynamic range scenes. In addition, harsh object appearance variations produced by varying illumination conditions are virtually eliminated, thus aiding visual recognition under changing illumination conditions.

Technically speaking, the RoboRetina image sensor is a reflectance sensitive image sensor, meaning it perceives the appearance of object surfaces as if the object was uniformly illuminated. The sensor eliminates the influence and appearance contribution of any specific illumination pattern. The net result is that details in shadows are visible and the bright regions are not washed out. Furthermore, the objects retain their familiar appearance even when the direction of illumination changes or the day turns from cloudy to sunny. RoboRetina sensor will enable vision systems in unconstrained environments especially in security and surveillance, robotics and autonomous systems.

There is no traditional digital number crunching on chip. All “processing” is performed in analog adaptive networks that are stimulated by the light. The entire chip is implemented in a standard CMOS process. The key innovation in the technology lies in the illumination field estimation method. The images produced by RoboRetina have no objectionable artifacts, such as notorious “halo” artifacts often produced by traditional (software) methods around sharp discontinuities in the image.

Frost & Sullivan is pleased to confer upon Intrigue Technologies Incorporated, the 2006 Technology Innovation Award in the field of image sensors for autonomous applications, for its development of a remarkably innovative product with distinguishing features that could enhance the future of imaging and robotic vision.


About Best Practices
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company, has been partnering with clients to support the development of innovative strategies for more than 40 years. The company's industry expertise integrates growth consulting, growth partnership services, and corporate management training to identify and develop opportunities. Frost & Sullivan serves an extensive clientele that includes Global 1000 companies, emerging companies, and the investment community by providing comprehensive industry coverage that reflects a unique global perspective and combines an ongoing analysis of markets, technologies, econometrics, and demographics. For more information, visit www.frost.com.

About Intrigue Technologies, Inc.
Intrigue Technologies, Inc. is a developer of next-generation imaging sensors and systems for adaptive imaging applications in automotive, surveillance, and unmanned systems markets. Intrigue is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a spin-off from The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. For more information, visit www.intriguetek.com.

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