Inuitive Ltd., a two-year old fabless chip company with an impressive pedigree, has announced that it will be demonstrating its first product – a 3D imaging and computer vision processor – at the Computex exhibition, which takes place June 3 to 7.
The NU3000 ASIC is intended for depth calculation from stereo optical streams as well as a broad range of more refined applications including: augmented reality overlays, eye-tracking, gesture recognition, user recognition and authentication, image enhancement and 3D scanning.
In addition, the company has developed several 3D optical modules as reference designs to demonstrate its technology for short, medium and long range applications. Early demonstrations are of short-range gesture recognition and short-range depth mapping.
Inuitive (Ra'anana, Israel) was was co-founded in April 2012 by Shlomo Gadot who serves as CEO and Dor Zepeniuk, who serves as vice president of R&D. Gadot was previously founder of CEO of Percello Ltd. and founder and CEO of ModemArt Ltd. Percello was acquired by Broadcom Corp. for $88 million in 2010 and ModemArt was acquired by Agere for $145 million in 2005. Zepeniuk was previously program manager for PrimeSense Ltd., which provided the 3D depth sensor technology for Microsoft's Kinetic and which was acquired by Apple in 2013.
The company raised $23 million on its formation from 7-Main and T-Ventures the investment arm of Deutsche Telekom, which was used to fund the development of the NU3000 ASIC, implemented in 40nm CMOS. 7-Main is an Israeli private investment company owned and chaired by Ruth Wertheimer.
Ceva, ARM and Inuitive proprietary processor cores
The NU3000 ASIC leverages a multi-core architecture, comprised of a proprietary 3D image processor, dual MM3101 vector DSPs licensed from Ceva Inc. and a Cortex-A5 processor with Neon SIMD licensed from ARM.
The NU3000 ASIC offers an open software architecture to support both proprietary and third-party software and implements all computer vision processing functions while freeing up the application processor to perform other tasks.
Gadot told Electronics360 that while he expects Tier 1 mobile customers to develop their own optical systems for some customers a reference design is necessary. Inuitive has been working with a standard CMOS image sensor with the IR cut filter removed to provide an IR sensor. However, this tends to push the visible color response towards the red, Gadot said. "For an application like face-recognition you need full-color information and visible light sensor. We have been working with Aptina and we're talking to Omnivision as well as testing some other technologies," said Gadot.
Gadot said that Inuitive employs 45 staff with 10 contractors. " We need to expand the field applications engineers to support more customers. Right now we are engaging with a limited number of customers. We are in the process of signing first contracts with customers and we are in talks with one tier-one mobile phone supplier," Gadot added.
The next steps for the company will be to develop additional reference designs for 3D applications covering 3D scenes in the living room environment and execute a migration of its design to 28nm CMOS. "Very low power is important if you want to go into the mobile environment as well as giving us a cost reduction."
Related links and articles: