To improve computational efficiency, it may be advantageous to transfer part of the intelligence lying in the core of a system to its sensors. Vision sensors equipped with small programmable processors at each pixel allow us to follow this principle in so-called near-focal plane processing, which is performed on-chip directly where light is being collected. Such devices need then only to communicate relevant pre-processed visual information to other parts of the system. In this work, we demonstrate how two classical problems, namely high dynamic range imaging and auto-focus, can be solved efficiently using two simple parallel algorithms implemented on such a chip. We illustrate with these two examples that embedding uncomplicated algorithms on-chip, directly where information acquisition takes place can replace more complex dedicated post-processing. Adapting data acquisition by bringing processing at the sensor level allows us to explore solutions that would not be feasible in a conventional sensor-ADC-processor pipeline.