Microsoft has taken another step in the AI direction, by announcing that its next-generation HoloLens augmented reality headset will come with an on-device AI chip. This integrated AI chip will help in faster processing time and eradicate the need to upload on cloud first, making mobile processing more secure and fast. With this, Microsoft joins Apple, ARM, Qualcomm, Google, Nvidia, Facebook, and other major tech companies scrambling to bring AI in future mobile devices.
Bloomberg reports that Microsoft is building an AI chip that will be integrated into its HoloLens goggles enabling it to analyse content on-device, rather than uploading it to cloud first. The new processor - a version of the company’s Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) - was showcased at an event in Honolulu. While Microsoft confirmed that this one-of-a-kind chip for mobile devices will be integrated into the next HoloLens version, it refrained from sharing a launch date for the goggles.
Microsoft claims that it has designed the chip from ground up, but will be manufacturing it from third party dealers. “We’re taking this very seriously. Our aspiration is to be the No. 1 AI cloud," Doug Burger, engineer in Microsoft Research, told the publication.
With the iPhone 8 rumoured to have AI and AR features integrated, the boom in mobile AI is expected to rise inevitably in the near future. As mentioned, companies are already work in progress in building these chips. Apple is reported to be building its own custom AI chip called the Apple Neural Engine to power AI on the iPhones, and Nvidia is said to be building an AI chip called Volta which may be used by Amazon in the future. Microsoft’s AI chip is now a new entrant into the mix, and we expect to see its first glimpse in 2019, as that’s the year the the HoloLens 2 is largely rumoured to be launched.