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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

Adaptive Motion Estimation Processor for Autonomous Video Devices

EURASIP Journal on Embedded Systems20072007:057234

  • Received: 1 June 2006
  • Accepted: 6 March 2007
  • Published:


Motion estimation is the most demanding operation of a video encoder, corresponding to at least 80% of the overall computational cost. As a consequence, with the proliferation of autonomous and portable handheld devices that support digital video coding, data-adaptive motion estimation algorithms have been required to dynamically configure the search pattern not only to avoid unnecessary computations and memory accesses but also to save energy. This paper proposes an application-specific instruction set processor (ASIP) to implement data-adaptive motion estimation algorithms that is characterized by a specialized datapath and a minimum and optimized instruction set. Due to its low-power nature, this architecture is highly suitable to develop motion estimators for portable, mobile, and battery-supplied devices. Based on the proposed architecture and the considered adaptive algorithms, several motion estimators were synthesized both for a Virtex-II Pro XC2VP30 FPGA from Xilinx, integrated within an ML310 development platform, and using a StdCell library based on a 0.18 μ m CMOS process. Experimental results show that the proposed architecture is able to estimate motion vectors in real time for QCIF and CIF video sequences with a very low-power consumption. Moreover, it is also able to adapt the operation to the available energy level in runtime. By adjusting the search pattern and setting up a more convenient operating frequency, it can change the power consumption in the interval between 1.6 mW and 15 mW.


  • Motion Estimation
  • Search Pattern
  • Motion Estimator
  • ASIP
  • Estimate Motion Vector

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Authors’ Affiliations

INESC-ID/IST/ISEL, Rua Alves Redol 9, Lisboa, 1000-029, Portugal


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© T. Dias et al. 2007

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.