- Intel announced the planned acquisition of machine vision technology company Movidius.
- Movidius' technology will be used to enhance Intel's machine vision platform RealSense.
- Machine vision and AI, expected to be very high-growth sectors, are key elements of Intel's strategy.
In February Amigobulls reported that Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) was using chips from startup Movidius for the development of next-generation Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. Movidius, a company specialized in low-power machine vision for connected devices, has been working with Alphabet to accelerate the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within mobile devices. Now, the machine vision startup is being acquired by Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).
"I’m excited to announce the planned acquisition of Movidius by Intel," said Movidius CEO Remi El-Ouazzane. "Movidius' mission is to give the power of sight to machines. As part of Intel, we'll remain focused on this mission, but with the technology and resources to innovate faster and execute at scale."
"Our leading VPU (Vision Processing Unit) platform for on-device vision processing combined with Intel's industry leading depth sensing solution (Intel RealSense Technology) is a winning combination for autonomous machines that can see in 3D, understand their surroundings and navigate accordingly," continued El-Ouazzane, adding that Movidius has been working with high-profile tech companies such as Alphabet and Lenovo Group (OTC:LNVGY) to give sight to smart devices including drones, security cameras, AR/VR headsets and more.
Movidius Will Enhance RealSense Capabilities
Josh Walden, senior Intel VP and general manager of Intel's New Technology Group, explained that with the Movidius deal Intel will acquire low-power, high-performance System on a Chip (SoC) platforms for accelerating computer vision applications. Additionally, the acquisition will bring to Intel 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' technology optimizes, enhances and brings RealSense capabilities to fruition," said Walden. RealSense, Intel's computer vision platform, features a series of consumer grade 3D cameras with an integrated machine perception library that software developers can use to add camera support to their applications. RealSense permits implementing gesture-based human-computer interaction techniques that, according to Intel, can redefine how we interact with our devices for a more natural, intuitive and immersive experience, supported by the powerful performance of Intel processors.
"We will look to deploy the technology across our efforts in augmented, virtual and merged reality (AR/VR/MR), drones, robotics, digital security cameras and beyond," concluded Walden. "Computer vision will trigger a Cambrian explosion of computing, with Intel at the forefront of this new wave of computing, enabled by RealSense in conjunction with Movidius and our full suite of perceptual computing technologies."
Computer Vision A Breakthrough In AI
In related news, at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), Intel discussed its plans to deliver the industry-leading platform for AI and announced the acquisition of AI company Nervana Systems. According to Intel, AI - and in particular advanced data analytics, natural language processing, machine learning, and computer vision - is the next big wave of computing technology that will transform the way businesses operate and how people engage with the world.
In fact, computer vision is a bridge between AI algorithms and the real world of people and connected devices. For example, autonomous self-driving cars and many specialized devices for Internet of Things (IoT) - both among the industrial sectors with highest expected growth in the next decades - must rely on sophisticated machine vision subsystems to sense their surroundings. Similarly, accurately sensing the movement of the user's body and hands is critical to VR and Augmented Reality (AR) applications.
"When computers can see, they can become autonomous and that’s just the beginning," concluded El-Ouazzane. "We're on the cusp of big breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. In the years ahead, we'll see new types of autonomous machines with more advanced capabilities as we make progress on one of the most difficult challenges of AI: getting our devices not just to see, but also to think."
It appears that Intel is positioning itself to be one of the top suppliers of enabling machine vision and AI technologies for tomorrow's killer apps, which is good news for Intel investors, who should continue to consider Intel as a buy-and-hold stock. The acquisition of Movidius is especially interesting because it establishes Intel as a current supplier of machine vision technology to the existing high-profile customers of Movidius, including Alphabet and Lenovo.
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