Project Tango chipmaker Movidius reveals next-generation chip

30 Jul 2014

San Mateo-headquartered Movidius, the Irish-born technology firm whose processor is at the heart of Google’s Project Tango 3D smartphone project, has revealed the next-generation vision processing unit Myriad 2.

Movidius’ Myriad 1 vision processing unit (VPU) featured at the heart of Google’s Project Tango 3D-sensing smartphone.

Movidius recently raised US$16m in a Series D round involving Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Atlantic Bridge, Capital-E and AIB Seed Capital.

The company employs 55 people and envisages taking on a further 30 to 35 people to focus on new products in the coming year.

Today, Movidius launched the next-generation Myriad 2 processor which offers 20 times more processing efficiency in terms of computations per watt of power consumed.

Myriad 2 comprises a larger and upgraded set of programmable processors, as well as a new set of dedicated and configurable image and vision accelerators to power the next wave of computational cameras.

Movidius said it is targeting the new VPU at the forthcoming array of mobile devices, wearable computing products and other futuristic products currently in development.

Irish firm shaping the future of mobile

“As rapid innovations in mobile, wearable, and embedded vision applications continue, users expect increasingly sophisticated and immersive experiences that do not compromise the device’s battery life,” said Remi El-Ouazzane, CEO of Movidius.

“The next disruption in mobile will be about incorporating vision applications into connected devices, bringing them closer to the complexity and sophistication of human vision. Thanks to Myriad 2’s radically innovative architecture, our customers can now create proprietary ultra-low power, captivating vision experiences that drive demand for existing products and accelerate completely new product categories.”

In February, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects skunkworks revealed Project Tango, an Android-based 5-inch phone that comes with advanced 3D sensors that can build a visual map of the environment around it using 3D scanning.

At the heart of this breakthrough technology is Myriad 1, the first generation of the Movidius Vision Processor Platform, a new ultra low-power, high-performance and programmable architecture of computational chips, software and development tools that enable a range of devices to intelligently understand and contextualise their surroundings.

Updated 31 July 2014 at 11.26am: An earlier version of this article mistakenly referred to Movidius’s headquarters as Dublin-based. According to CTO David Moloney, Movidius HQ moved to San Mateo, California in March 2013, though Dublin and Timisoara remain its technology nerve-centres.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years