Last night, Intel announced that it will buy Movidius, an Irish company that makes computer vision processors used in devices such as drones and virtual reality systems. According to Intel’s press release, the goal is to weave Movidius’ technology in with Intel’s RealSense cameras to enhance “computer vision and perceptual computing” in its devices.
Movidius has been around for nearly a decade, making low-power, high-performance SoCs that have been used by the likes of Lenovo, DJI, and others. It has also created algorithms for deep learning, depth processing, and navigation, so it’s easy to see why Intel would want to use both of those pieces in its RealSense camera systems. While Intel has the “eyes” of the computer down with RealSense, Movidius’ technology will likely become an integrated part of the computer’s “brain” as the visual cortex.
Intel says it’s particularly looking to integrate Movidius’ work into augmented, virtual, and merged reality systems as well as robotics and security systems. Intel has been shopping around for companies that contribute to this bottom line; just last month, the company acquired the deep-learning company Nervana Systems to help it compete in the AI sphere. Recent acquisitions show how Intel has broadened its focus away from x86, turning its attention to new technology like virtual reality devices, drones, and smart home products.
The details of the Intel-Movidius deal have not been disclosed yet, but the acquisition should be finalized by the end of this year.