Will be able to analyze sensor data locally.
On Sunday, the software giant unveiled a new microprocessor of its own design that will go into future hardware products, such as the next version of its HoloLens augmented reality glasses, to perform artificial intelligence tasks. The AI coprocessor will analyze visual, auditory, and other sensor data locally on the device instead of relying on sending the information to a cloud-based server for review.
“This is the kind of thinking you need if you’re going to develop mixed reality devices that are themselves intelligent,” Marc Pollefeys, Microsoft’s director of science for the HoloLens, wrote in a blog post. “Mixed reality and artificial intelligence represent the future of computing, and we’re excited to be advancing this frontier.”
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Previously, Microsoft and others have focused on developing their own custom chips largely for use in cloud data centers. But after Apple had great success developing its own line of A-series processors for the iPhone, followed by its M-series motion processors, more companies are looking at custom chips for mobile devices as well.
The exploding use of AI programs for everything from image and speech recognition to on-the-fly language translation is also fueling the drive for custom chips as each company perfects its own apps and algorithms.
Google googl is using its own chip, called Tensor Processing Units, for AI programs running on its servers. Apple aapl is rumored to be working on an AI chip ready for future iPhones. Nvidia nvda , Advanced Micro Devices amd , and Intel intc are also pitching more general-use chips for AI tasks.