Ahead of the Lenovo’s Tech World conference, which starts tonight in San Francisco, the company has announced a partnership with VR chipmaker Movidius.
Lenovo is expected to showcase its new Project Tango smartphone at the conference as well, ahead of a possible launch in July. Google and Lenovo announced they were teaming up for Project Tango at CES 2016 in January.
At the time of the first announcement, Lenovo said the smartphone will be priced under $500. Project Tango is Google’s technology to help mobile devices like tablets, smartphones figure out space and motion just like humans do and brings spatial perception to Android devices.
According to Movidius’ announcement, the company will be provide “advanced vision processing technology to a variety of VR-centric Lenovo products.” Essentially Lenovo will source the advanced “Myriad 2 Vision Processing Unit (VPU) and custom computer vision algorithms for various virtual reality projects.”
Movidius’ Myriad 2 is an ultra-low power chip designed to specifically tackle vision-based tasks like head tracking, gesture recognition, and can also blend multiple video streams into one interactive VR video.
“Our technology was built to maximize machine vision performance in a sub-1 Watt power budget…In selecting Myriad 2 for their VR products, Lenovo is building devices designed from the ground-up for VR. We’re very much looking forward to these no-compromise devices that will push VR adoption into the mainstream,” said Movidius CEO, Remi El-Ouazzane. Myriad 2 VPU has a built-in Image Signal Processor (ISP) and hardware accelerators.
There’s a good chance this chip will also be used to power the upcoming Project Tango smartphone. According to this article on PCMag, Movidius’ chips are also used in other projects under Google’s Project Tango.
Movidius says their Myriad chip can basically offload all ‘vision-related’ task from a device’s GPU’s and CPU with just one watt of power, thus freeing up the two units for other tasks and improving the overall performance.
It’s not yet confirmed which products will be unveiled at Tech World, but an update on the VR front and Project Tango is expected.
Lenovo is not the only big partner for Google’s Project Tango. In August 2015, Intel had showcased its Project Tango phone powered by Intel’s RealSense technology at its own developer forum. The $399 Project Tango phone is now up for pre-order on Intel’s website.
At CES 2016, Lenovo had revealed the Project Tango smartphone will have a Qualcomm processor, three cameras (RGB, Fisheye and Depth) which will allow it to do the 3D mapping, and a screen between 6 to 6.5-inches.
Google also showcased the progress it made with Project Tango, with product lead Johnny Lee showing how the device can be used to accurately measure space, the area, and even create and play 3D games like Jenga. Google worked with other app developers to create these apps for Project Tango devices.
Google and Lenovo also have an app incubator program to help more developers build apps for Project Tango.