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Movidius: Giving sight to machines

imageDrones can see almost like humans, capturing and analysing visual information from different sources. They can avoid obstacles in real time, navigate a map and hover over a fixed position without the need for a GPS signal.

In today’s world of fast paced technology developments, we rarely take the time to reflect on how those innovations actually work. What makes drones so intelligent? In short, the unique vision processing chips and machine intelligence algorithms developed by the Irish hardware firm Movidius. Its high performance, ultra-low power and programmable chips represent a disruptive innovation amidst the growing relevance of these technologies for image and object recognition.

Similar image recognition systems had already been available on the market, but they were very power hungry and impractical for mass adoption. Movidius’ breakthrough came after several years of product development to substantially reduce the chip’s power consumption and size, making it suitable for mobile devices, small robots such as drones, and wearables.

In addition, Movidius’ machine vision processors are used in technologies powering augmented reality and virtual reality applications, which aim to convincingly blend the real world with the digital, e.g. through eye-tracking, gesture and object recognition, and emotion analytics. Among others, Movidius also collaborated in the past with Google on a 3D mapping project.

Capital-E, an early stage venture fund backed by EIF, supported Movidius’ development and growth from the beginnings with an initial investment already in 2008. Later on, other investors joined, notably Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Draper Esprit and Atlantic Bridge, the latter having a particularly significant role in transforming Movidius into the industry leader it is nowadays.

Movidius has grown enormously over the past years, opening offices in Dublin, Hong Kong and a substantial software development centre in Romania. Driven by the recognition that vision processing and machine intelligence are of critical importance in the wake of robotisation and automatisation, Intel acquired Movidius in September 2016.

Company: Movidius (Ireland)

Type of business: Hardware development (machine vision processing)

EIF financing: RCR mandate and own resources

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Ireland, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/ie/index.htm


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