editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Sensor Platforms Acquired

We’ve spent a lot of time on sensor fusion here, and there are three players that routinely come up: Hillcrest Labs, Movea, and Sensor Platforms. Frankly, the first two have featured somewhat more prominently because they do more selling of “shrink-wrapped” product (for lack of a better word), while Sensor Platforms has tended to play closer to the vest, working with specific clients to integrate their algorithms. We did see them in QuickLogic’s FPGA sensor hub solution.

This week, they signed papers with Audience that will make them a part of Audience. If you’re not familiar with Audience (as I wasn’t), you might wonder what the heck is going on here. And if you’re a Sensor Platforms customer, you might wonder what this all means for you. Let’s address both of those.

First off, Audience makes chips that help your cell phone (or whatever) acquire the capacity for the “cocktail party” effect. In essence, they make chips that computationally implement what’s referred to as “Auditory Scene Analysis” (if you can handle the mixed metaphor of an auditory scene). This is the process by which our brains take all of the sounds we hear simultaneously – which are nothing but mixes of longitudinal air waves with complex harmonic content – and somehow figures out how to segregate the sounds, assigns them to sources, and, critically, lets us focus on one set over another even when both sets have inputs at the same frequencies.

This is the essence of the cocktail party effect, where dozens of conversations are going on simultaneously, all with voices in more or less the same range, and yet we can concentrate on one conversation without having it get jumbled up by the other conversations. Cell phones aren’t good at this, amplifying the voice as well as nearby traffic, that squalling brat, and that damn parakeet in the background.

You might think of the auditory scene as the set of other clues and cues that the brain uses – which these days would probably be called “context.” And if you’ve seen Sensor Platforms’ CTO Kevin Shaw speak, you know that they’re all about context. It’s the next big prize after simple sensor fusion. And apparently they’ve been working with Audience on algorithms. At which point Audience decided they liked the technology and ponied up some cash to own it.

So what does this mean for Sensor Platforms’ business and customers? In their conference call, Audience said that they’ll continue to service existing customers and contracts. Going forward, it sounds like they plan a dual strategy: continue selling the software algorithms while also working them into their chipsets.

There are certain businesses – military and medical were mentioned as examples – where they see the possibility of adding value, but they don’t plan to develop hardware. So they can service these markets with software.

For those markets they do serve with hardware, they see themselves having a power advantage because they have hardware accelerators for much of what they do – and it turns out that there was a big overlap between the accelerators they already have and those that would be needed to implement the Sensor Platforms algorithms.

It also sounds like they’re bought off on continuing with the Open Sensor Platform project that Sensor Platforms and ARM recently announced.

You can find out more in the official announcement.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Oct 20, 2020
Voltus TM IC Power Integrity Solution is a power integrity and analysis signoff solution that is integrated with the full suite of design implementation and signoff tools of Cadence to deliver the... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site...
Oct 19, 2020
Have you ever wondered if there may another world hidden behind the facade of the one we know and love? If so, would you like to go there for a visit?...
Oct 16, 2020
Another event popular in the tech event circuit is PCI-SIG® DevCon. While DevCon events are usually in-person around the globe, this year, like so many others events, PCI-SIG DevCon is going virtual. PCI-SIG DevCons are members-driven events that provide an opportunity to le...
Oct 16, 2020
[From the last episode: We put together many of the ideas we'€™ve been describing to show the basics of how in-memory compute works.] I'€™m going to take a sec for some commentary before we continue with the last few steps of in-memory compute. The whole point of this web...

featured video

Better PPA with Innovus Mixed Placer Technology – Gigaplace XL

Sponsored by Cadence Design Systems

With the increase of on-chip storage elements, it has become extremely time consuming to come up with an optimized floorplan with manual methods. Innovus Implementation’s advanced multi-objective placement technology, GigaPlace XL, provides automation to optimize at scale, concurrent placement of macros, and standard cells for multiple objectives like timing, wirelength, congestion, and power. This technology provides an innovative way to address design productivity along with design quality improvements reducing weeks of manual floorplan time down to a few hours.

Click here for more information about Innovus Implementation System

featured paper

An engineer’s guide to autonomous and collaborative industrial robots

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

As robots are becoming more commonplace in factories, it is important that they become more intelligent, autonomous, safer and efficient. All of this is enabled with precise motor control, advanced sensing technologies and processing at the edge, all with robust real-time communication. In our e-book, an engineer’s guide to industrial robots, we take an in-depth look at the key technologies used in various robotic applications.

Click here to download the e-book

Featured Chalk Talk

ROHM BD71847AMWV PMIC for the NXP i.MM 8M Mini

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and ROHM Semiconductor

Designing-in a power supply for today’s remarkable applications processors can be a hurdle for many embedded design teams. Creating a solutions that’s small, efficient, and inexpensive demands considerable engineering time and expertise. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Kristopher Bahar of ROHM about some new power management ICs that are small, efficient, and inexpensive.

Click here for more information about ROHM Semiconductor BD71847AMWV Programmable Power Management IC