Project Tango partner Movidius announces the second generation of its vision processor

Project Tango partner Movidius announces the second generation of its vision processor

When Google first announced its Project Tango initiative for 3D-sensing smartphones and tablets, one of the key components was Movidius’ Myriad 1 vision processing chip. Building on its accomplishments, Movidius today announced a next-generation Myriad 2 chip that offers as much as a 20x boost in efficiency over its predecessor.

The company claims to have spent eight years and $60 million developing its technology. Movidius CEO Remi El-Ouazzane said in an interview that Myriad 2 has been specially tuned for power management, delivering “teraflops of performance in less than half a watt.” It will be produced on a 28-nanometer process with 12 “vision-specific vector processors.”

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“We can safely say there is a computational revolution coming to your camera near you and it’s starting next year, and it’s going to be a fantastic year,” El-Ouazzane said.

Potential uses for Myriad 2 include improvements to mobile camera technology, augmented reality, 3D scanning, indoor positioning and object recognition.

El-Ouazzane claims that Myriad 2 can help smartphone cameras achieve SLR-level performance for functions like zoom, low-light performance and auto-focus. For example, some partners are testing Myriad 2 by combining infrared sensors with cameras in order to improve image quality.

Movidius also envisions Myriad 2 finding its way into new product categories made possible by the chip’s tiny footprint and low power consumption. It’s small enough that it could power wearable cameras the size of a button. Myriad could also find its way into robots, boosting their computer vision capabilities.

Currently, Movidius has 20-30 partners building products with Myriad 2. The first devices with the chip are expected to launch in the next 12 months. El-Ouazzane declined to comment on whether Google will add Myriad 2 to Project Tango.

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