Intel has announced the acquisition of Movidius, a startup that creates low-power chips for computer vision and machine learning algorithms. The new capabilities will extend Intel's RealSense platform, which is the basis of the firm's human-computer interaction focus.
Intel RealSense is already deployed in some laptops and tablets, and enables face, gesture and speech recognition and augmented reality (AR) capabilities.
Josh Walden, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's New Technology Group, wrote about the acquisition of Movidius on the company's website.
"As devices become smarter and more distributed, we recognise 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," he said.
"With Movidius, Intel gains low-power, high-performance SoC platforms for accelerating computer vision applications.
"Additionally, this acquisition brings algorithms tuned for deep learning, depth processing, navigation and mapping, and natural interactions, as well as broad expertise in embedded computer vision and machine intelligence."
Movidius has been in operation for eight years and is based in San Matteo, California with offices in Ireland and Romania. The company specialises in low-power chip design for computer vision and machine intelligence algorithms.
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.
"Our vision processing unit platform for on-device vision processing [and] Intel's RealSense technology is a winning combination for autonomous machines that can see in 3D, understand their surroundings and navigate accordingly," he said.
"Today, we're working with customers like DJI, FLIR, Google and Lenovo to give sight to smart devices including drones, security cameras, AR/VR headsets and more. But today's smart devices, while compelling, offer just a glimpse of what's to come."
Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.
Intel has moved into new territory defined by robotics and AI as the PC and server markets continue to stagnate. The firm acquired Nervana Systems in August, a startup working on a fully optimised software and hardware stack for deep learning, in a $400m deal.
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