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Jointly promoted by Khronos and the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA), the Kamaros API Working Group is developing an open, royalty-free standard for controlling camera system runtimes in embedded, mobile, industrial, XR, automotive, and scientific markets.


The Khronos Kamaros (pronounced Kam-a-ross) API Working Group is the result of an extensive exploratory process that involved over seventy companies working together from March to December 2021 to forge a strong industry consensus on the need, terminology, scope, requirements, and design methodology for a new open standard camera system API. The results from this process are captured in the Scope Of Work document which is now being used to guide the direction of the working group. The group started formal meetings in February 2022 to work on the development of the API specification and its associated ecosystem. On October 6, 2022 the working group officially adopted the ‘Kamaros’ name.

Any organization is welcome to join Khronos and participate in this global initiative. Participation can put your organization at the forefront of the development of the standard and is expected to be of particular interest to sensor or camera manufacturers, silicon vendors, and software developers working on vision and sensor processing. Learn more.

The Need for Embedded Camera API Standards

Cameras are increasingly critical in diverse markets, accelerating the development of sophisticated optical systems, image sensors and vision processors often utilizing machine learning technology. However, the lack of interoperable camera API standards increases application development time and maintenance costs while reducing portability and opportunity for code reuse, resulting in unnecessarily high integration costs for camera technologies.

The Benefits of an Embedded Camera API Standard

Embedded vision systems are increasingly integrating camera sensors tightly with image, vision, and inferencing accelerators in self-contained systems. Embedded vision applications on these integrated systems often lack a pervasively available API to portably generate sensor streams for local accelerated processing.

An effective open, cross-vendor open standard for camera, sensor and ISP control could provide multiple benefits

  • Cross-vendor portability of camera/sensor code for easier system integration of new sensors
  • Preservation of application code across multiple generations of cameras and sensors
  • Sophisticated control over sensor stream generation increases effectiveness of downstream accelerated processing

Design Direction

The Kamaros API design will provide applications, libraries, and frameworks explicit control over camera runtimes, through a precisely defined interface that enables:

  • Cross-vendor portability of application code for easier system integration of new cameras and sensors
  • Preservation of application code across multiple generations of cameras and sensors
  • Sophisticated control over the generation of sensor streams to increase the effectiveness of downstream accelerated processing

The Road to Embedded Camera API Standardization

At the AutoSensONLINE 2021 event panellists from Khronos, EMVA, and members of the original Camera Exploratory Group discussed how a consistent set of interoperability standards and guidelines for embedded cameras and sensors will help solve the problems impeding growth in advanced sensor deployment.

Watch the video

Industry Support for the Kamaros API

“Judging by the significant industry interest, the time seems right to organize an effort around identifying and aligning on the need for interoperability APIs for embedded cameras and sensors. This is a topic that is very relevant to Khronos as our acceleration APIs, such as OpenCL™, SYCL™, and OpenVX™ are often used to accelerate sophisticated sensor stream processing. Our work is also very complementary to EMVA, and we are delighted that the two organizations are working together to bring a meaningful quorum from diverse parts of the industry into this cooperative exploratory process.”

“We are delighted to work with Khronos on this initiative to commonly understand the industry needs for the future of embedded vision. Both the EMVA and the Khronos group have a well-established history of standardization developments which enable industry to develop new products more simply, whilst ensuring friction is reduced in the market. This Exploratory Group is an excellent approach to understanding broader industry needs and will bring together many companies and views in an open forum. We look forward to working closely with the Khronos Group and welcoming all new and existing participants to this important initiative for the vision community.”

Dr. Chris Yates
EMVA President

“Embedded vision is a natural progression from full-sized PC-based vision systems to systems on a chip and is critically important to the future of the vision industry. The industry has seen great benefits from digital interface/interoperability standards such as GigE Vison and USB3 Vision in expanding markets, reducing costs, and simplifying technology application. It makes great sense to continue these standardization concepts at the embedded level.”

Jeff Burnstein
President of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), parent association to AIA - Advancing Vision+Imaging

“Lack of API standards for advanced use of embedded cameras and sensors is an impediment to industry growth, collaboration and innovation. Enterprise AR customers and systems integrators/value added providers will benefit from greater clarity, open interfaces between modular systems and innovation in the component provider ecosystem. Standards for camera and sensor control will increase opportunities for powerful new combinations of sensor and AR compute resources, integration with existing IT, and lower cost and complexity of future solutions.”

Christine Perey
Interoperability and standards program leader for the Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance (AREA)

“The establishment of this Exploratory Group provides a great opportunity to connect with the Khronos Group, EMVA and industry partners to ensure that together we can create the best experience for embedded cameras on all Linux platforms. The Linux camera community has seen a need for standardisation and interoperability in the embedded camera space for more than a decade. We launched the libcamera project two years ago to address that need, initiating an ambitious effort to reach out to the industry and improve Linux camera support for mobile, embedded and desktop systems. We are eagerly looking forward to actively participating in the Exploratory Group and deepening our collaboration with all the involved parties.”

Laurent Pinchart
Lead architect of libcamera

Get Involved to Help Shape the Kamaros API

Any organization is welcome to join Khronos and participate in this global initiative under the consortium’s multi-company governance process that enables all stakeholders to have a voice in consensus-based working group decisions. For more information on our standardization procedures and to join please visit the Khronos membership page or contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more details.

For general enquiries please email: [email protected]. To receive news and updates on Kamaros subscribe to the Kamaros newsletter.

Background to EMVA and Khronos

The EMVA manages the GenICam standard for machine vision which is a widely used generic programming interface for industrial cameras that has become increasingly sophisticated as digital cameras integrate local processing capabilities.

The Khronos Group is an open, non-profit, member-driven consortium of over 180 industry-leading companies creating advanced, royalty-free, interoperability standards for 3D graphics, augmented and virtual reality, parallel programming, vision acceleration and machine learning. Khronos activities include 3D Commerce™, ANARI™, glTF™, NNEF™, OpenCL™, OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, OpenVG™, OpenVX™, OpenXR™, SPIR-V™, SYCL™, Vulkan®, and WebGL™. Khronos members drive the development and evolution of Khronos specifications and are able to accelerate the delivery of cutting-edge platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.