Movidius’ new Visual Processing Unit help your next phone power VR experiences

movidius new visual processing unit help your next phone power vr experiences myriad2
Although virtual reality has been tried before, it’s only now in the second decade of the 21st century that it looks likely to hit the mainstream. It takes a lot of graphical oomf to power commercial VR hardware, though, which is why AMD and Nvidia are making big pushes to get their GPUs in line to power that new generation of games and experiences. But what if a dedicated VR processor could augment more traditional hardware?

That’s what Movidius is hoping to do with its Myriad 2, which the developer describes as a vision processing unit, or VPU. Designed as a mobile chip, that doesn’t mean that it is destined only for smartphone based VR like the Gear VR, but also products like Microsoft’s Hololens, and perhaps one day a truly portable version of the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.

The reason it could take things in a different direction than traditional GPUs, is the way it handles data. The Myriad 2 is more targeted at sensor input, taking in data from hand position or eye tracking hardware, mapping out either or both into a virtual environment. When you factor in augmented reality, we’re told the Myriad 2 can also handle inputs from up to six HD cameras.

In other words, the VPU will handle all the complex calculations that let users interact with VR or AR environments in real time. This is important, as the accuracy and speed of a headset’s response to user motion and input not only improve the feel of using the device, but also reduces the chance a user will experience disorientation or motion sickness.

The VPU’s 10 SHAVE 128-bit SIMD vector units should be rather capable, easily beating Nvidia Tegra hardware when it comes to visual processing applications. Interestingly, the chip uses shared memory between the vector units and on board RISC CPUs. There’s also only 2MB of it, which is far less than many more contemporary computational systems employ.

However, the clock speed will be far lower, at just 300-600MHz, which should help keep power requirements low. Movidius is targeting a TDP of just two watts at full load, yet claims that it can output as much as 1,000GFLOPS for each of those watts in specifically visual tasks.

When you combine that with a projected price tag of just $10 per chip, you can start to imagine how this could be a real game changer if all of Movidius’ promises for the Myriad 2 come true.

Computing

The RX 590 is a solid midrange GPU, but it won’t move the needle for AMD

AMD's latest entry in the RX 500-series hopes to steal the spotlight back from away from Nvidia, at least when it comes to mid-range budgets. While RX 590 is the most powerful graphics card you can get for under $300, it won't win over many…
Emerging Tech

Nvidia’s new A.I. creates entire virtual cities by watching dash cam videos

Nvidia's groundbreaking new machine learning technology can generate a convincing virtual city simply by showing it car dashcam videos. Here's how it works and why that's so exciting.
Computing

Nvidia researchers use artificial intelligence to upgrade your game’s graphics

Nvidia researchers found that A.I. could be used to remaster older game titles, adding more details to textures, lighting, and shadows. Researchers claim that games can be re-rendered in real time and new levels can even be added.
Computing

Changing file associations in Windows 10 is quick and easy with these steps

Learning how to change file associations can make editing certain file types much quicker than manually selecting your preferred application every time you open them. Just follow these short steps and you'll be on your way in no time.
Gaming

New ‘Battlefield V’ patch gives Nvidia’s ray tracing support a chance to shine

‘Battlefield V’ is the first game to use Nvidia’s ray tracing support, now available with the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards. The feature can, in an ideal scenario, make the game look better, but the performance hit may not be…
Computing

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.
Computing

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.
Computing

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual monitor wallpapers for you.
Computing

Capture screenshots with print screen and a few alternative methods

Capturing a screenshot of your desktop is easier than you might think, and it's the kind of thing you'll probably need to know. Here's how to perform the important function in just a few, easy steps.
Computing

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX331UA -- will get the job done without digging too deeply into your pockets.
Mobile

Vanquish lag for good with the best routers for gaming

Finding the best routers for gaming is no easy task. With so many out there, how do you know which to pick? We've looked at the many options available and put together a list of our lag-free favorites.
Computing

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?