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Intel announces plans to acquire Movidius

Intel announces plans to acquire Movidius

The Movidius acquisition is only the latest move by the chip maker to broaden its capabilities in AI, computer vision and cognitive computing.

Founded almost a decade ago by Trinity graduates Sean Mitchell and David Moloney, Movidius develops super light-weight chips with vision processors or cameras attached so that they can understand their surroundings and adapt. Myriad 2 uses low power (one watt) to offload all "vision-related" task from a device's GPU's and CPU, thus freeing up the two units for other tasks. Google worked with Qualcomm to make ready the consumer versions of Tango technology for phones and tablets, and it seemed that Movidius disappeared from the equation.

Although the deal has not yet been finalized, the fact that both Intel and Movidius are announcing the acquisition suggests that it is nearly certain to go through.

Intel will acquire computer vision startup Movidius, as part of its RealSens vision and strategy.

Movidius can accelerate Intel's own longstanding depth-sensing camera technology, called RealSense, the company said.

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Nvidia, which dominates the market for deep-learning-focused chips, is bound to give all comers a run for their money.

Even though it's a newcomer in Intel's ranks, the Movidius team will hit the ground running. "As devices become smarter and more distributed, we recognize that specific System on a Chip (SoC) attributes will be paramount to giving human-like sight to the 50 billion connected devices that are projected by 2020".

This year has seen the chipmaker showcase Project Alloy, a reference platform for a wireless VR headset that packs all the sensors and chips needed to power it within the headset, rather than relying on external sensors or a PC to provide the processing grunt. According to Intel, the company plans to use Movidius' low-power, high-performance SoC platforms for accelerating computer vision platforms. Josh Walden, Senior Vice President and General Manager of New Technology Group at Intel, said that the technology would be deployed in augmented, virtual and merged reality, autonomous driving, robotics and drones.

CEO Reml El-Ouazzane explained in a blog post that the deal will open the door to new innovation in the area of autonomous machines.

The company's chief executive Remi El-Ouazzane said that the industry is on the cusp of big breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.

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