Intel has announced that it is to acquire machine vision specialists Movidius Technology. Modern devices are increasingly smart and connected but to be of even greater value in our lives it will be important that they will evolve to be able to see. At this time computer vision is in its early stages of adoption, with seeing cars, drones, robots, and so on only just being introduced to useful service. However, it is thought that intelligent seeing smart devices will play a much larger part in our lives in the years to come. Intel obviously had the growth of this industry in mind when it developed its RealSense vision and strategy.
The key technology union resulting from the Intel and Movidius Technology union will be that of Intel's aforementioned RealSense tech with the Movidius VPU (Vision Processing Unit) platform for on-device vision. Intels says that the cameras serve as the 'eyes' of a device, the central processing unit is the 'brain,' and a vision processor is the 'visual cortex.' With the acquisition of Movidius Technology that intelligent vision system is complete. The combined tech will enable improved "navigation and mapping, collision avoidance, tracking, object recognition, inspection analytics and more". Movidius also has attractive machine intelligence algorithms, and an associated software development kit.
Movidius' VPU is a low-power and high-performance SoC which can help miniaturise computer vision systems and requires less power, while generating less heat than rival systems. As well as the autonomous devices mentioned above the VPU will be useful in augmented, virtual and merged reality (AR/VR/MR), says Intel. The possibilities that become apparent from the arrival of efficient computer vision systems "will trigger a Cambrian explosion of compute, with Intel at the forefront of this new wave of computing," thinks Intel.
CEO of Movidius, Remi El-Ouazzane, reckons that, as part of Intel with its technology and resources, work on machine vision will progress faster than ever following the acquisition.