If Google has a say in it, the next generations of smartphones will be able to see and understand as if they were human.
It’s not long since smartphones started featuring co-processors with the sole purpose of processing sensor data at really low power consumption. However, soon we might have smartphones carrying a new dedicated, low-power chip, one that will focus on helping the smartphone “see.”
Google wants to shake a bit the smartphone market, seeing that it has already become saturated with flagship products and second-tier devices. So what if our smartphones would be fitted with neural networks, deep learning, and computer vision?
In order to do that, Google has teamed up with a partner that knows this field too well, Movidius, the very creator of the “vision processor” for the Project Tango smartphone.
Google has shown its interest in computer vision and machine learning in the recent past, toying around with the technology and producing Project Tango devices. A tablet and then a couple of smartphones are the tangible results of Google’s experiments.
Including deep learning and computer vision into smartphone would allow them to become a lot more “conscious” about real world objects, without needing any assistance from the users. Our smartphones would be able to identify objects based on their depth differences and simply learn through the eye of the camera.
Google needed Movidius for a very particular reason: the chip that was specifically designed for vision processing. Even though there are generic application processors – in the likes of Snapdragon or Exynos – that can handle such computations, these aren’t hardwired to understand the type of data and number crunching like a co-processor.
These generic processors are also prone to consuming higher amounts of power, and could completely freeze the rest of the system while trying to process this type of hard work.
Also, a local chip has the advantage of keeping data and computations locally, right there on the machine, instead of delegating it to the cloud, where things could get complicated for privacy.
But Google’s working relationship with Movidius isn’t actually new – the first Project Tango smartphone included Movidius’ Myriad 1 chip, namely the MA1300. For the new collaboration, however, Movidius will provide a second generation Myriad 2, the MA2450.
Even though we have few details to go on at this point regarding the device the two have in mind, we should expect to see a smartphone or a tablet somewhere down the road, considering this is Google we’re talking about.
Image Source: Komando