Toshiba has announced a new processor designed to dramatically improve video processing and image quality in consumer electronics devices.
SpursEngine is a high-performance stream processor integrating Synergistic Processing Element (SPE) cores derived from the Cell Broadband Engine.
The Cell processor is designed to bridge the gap between conventional desktop processors and more specialised high-performance processors, such as those used in graphics processors.
The SpursEngine prototype will be unveiled at Ceatec 2007 in Japan from 2 October.
Unlike Cell processors, SpursEngine is designed as a co-processor that works in cooperation with a host CPU, using Toshiba's image processing technology to perform stream processing of video sources and image recognition.
SpursEngine uses a Risc core architecture plus hardware dedicated to decoding and encoding MPEG-2 and H.264 video.
By combining the real-time processing software of the SPEs with the hardware video codecs, Toshiba reckons that SpursEngine provides a balance of processing flexibility and low power consumption which is vital in the development of portable consumer electronics.
The prototype operates at a clock frequency of 1.5GHz and consumes power at 10 to 20 watts.
Toshiba plans to showcase a range of notebooks integrating SpursEngine at Ceatec in the first public demonstration of the processor's capabilities in 3D image processing and manipulation.
The demo will include real-time transformations of hair styles and makeup that instantaneously recognise and process changes in position, angle and facial expression, and render them as computer graphics.
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