Movidius on move to next-generation interaction

Movidius’s new chip Myriad 2 is about 20 times more powerful than its predecessor

Movidius, a leading vision processor company, announce they have raised $40 million in funding which will the create up to 100 jobs in Ireland. Video: Ballywire


When it comes to the internet of things, less is more. At least it is according to Irish chip maker Movidius.

“We’re very much of the feeling that it’s less the volume of data and more of the data that you care about,” said chief technology officer David Moloney. “That’s only what you store, rather than storing everything.”

Moloney, who co-founded the company with chief operating officer Seán Mitchell, isn’t convinced trillions of devices connected to the internet and trying to send back information is necessarily a good thing. Machines should be more intelligent and process some of the information on the network edge, sending back only what is relevant instead of a stream of images or video. It’s this network- edge processing that will be the future of the industry, and it’s here Movidius is concentrating its efforts.

Next-generation interaction

Movidius has been working on software-programmable chips for some time; the second version, Myriad 2, is about 20 times more powerful than its predecessor and opens up a whole market for the company, enabling new ways of interacting with machines such as gesture recognition.

Vision-sensing technology can be used across a range of industries, from self-driving cars and drones to the more humble mobile phone. It can be used to help enable augmented reality, improved mobile camera technology and object recognition. Multiple cameras can be connected to a single chip.

“It is very much now a platform that can go across multiple different markets, and I think that’s where we’re seeing ourselves now in terms of market position as a much more diversified situation across home automation, various robotics-type applications, wearable devices, head-mounted displays, around virtual reality, augmented reality as well as the mobile area, where we’ve been active for quite a while. So it’s a much more diversified market position now,” said Mitchell.

Perhaps it’s an intelligent home system that recognises the individual family members and sets things such as music or temperature automatically.

“There’s stuff around your home that you could interact with in a very natural way, like a Kinect-style game,” said Moloney.

“You’re talking very much in the framework of the disappearing computer that people have been talking about for years but this is the way to do it – have machines that understand you and do what you want without you having to press buttons.”

Internet of things

The vision-

sensing element could also be used for safety, linking up with multiple cameras to measure activity or temperature in the house, such as with older people living alone. Even the robot vacuum cleaner could be improved, processing images and recognising obstacles without the need to send the data to the cloud.

“That’s your real internet of things, getting that intelligence into those devices,” said Mitchell.

Moving out of the home, the new technology could be used in conjunction with new sensors such as hyperspectral cameras for the agricultural sector that could identify if crops are diseased.

“There are a lot of possibilities and I think you’re going to see increasingly this technology being used to make businesses more efficient and innovate in terms of the way business is done, much in the way that the internet changed businesses,” said Moloney.