Intel snaps up Movidius to create future computer vision, virtual reality tech

The deal may propel Intel further into next-generation technologies including VR, drones and artificial intelligence.

intel & mividius ceos together image


Intel has announced the acquisition of Movidius, a chip manufacturer focusing on developing next-generation computer sensing and vision technology.

San Mateo, California-based Movidius, which already counts Google and Lenovo as customers, develops sight capabilities for machines and PCs.

The company’s vision processing unit (VPU), the main shunt of the company, is a platform for on-device vision processing which works in tandem with Intel RealSense technology to give computer systems the capability to view 3D images, understand surroundings and objects, and then react accordingly.

This technology can be found within drones, security cameras, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, and as these industries develop, the potential use for such inventions will also increase.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Remi El-Ouazzane, CEO of Movidius said in a blog post that Movidius will continue to focus on the “mission to give the power of sight to machines,” but the deal will give the firm’s development teams more resources to boost research and execute at scale.

The executive also revealed that Movidius has recently begun to focus on granting “sight” to low-power hardware, a complex task considering the use of sophisticated algorithms at the device level. At Intel, this challenge will continue, but cloud computing and networking will also be included in the project.

“When computers can see, they can become autonomous and that’s just the beginning,” El-Ouazzane commented. “We’re on the cusp of big breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. In the years ahead, we’ll see new types of autonomous machines with more advanced capabilities as we make progress on one of the most difficult challenges of AI: getting our devices not just to see, but also to think.”

In August, Intel revealed Project Alloy, a virtual reality headset which combines RealSense technology with battery power, allowing users to experience what Intel CEO Brian Krzanich called a “merged reality.”

Considering Movidius’ specialisation in power-limited devices and VR, the combination of both companies’ technology appears to be a solid fit — and that may only scrape the surface of what Intel plans for the new acquisition.

“We see massive potential for Movidius to accelerate our initiatives in new and emerging technologies,” said Josh Walden, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s New Technology Group. “The ability to track, navigate, map and recognize both scenes and objects using Movidius’ low power and high-performance SoCs opens up opportunities in areas where heat, battery life and form factors are key.”


Henry Sapiecha


This licensed Private Investigator has had sex with 60 prostitutes – Sydney’s ratepayers footing the bill

Someone's gotta do it. Fred Allen is paid to use the services of suspected brothels image

Someone’s gotta do it: Fred Allen* is paid to use the services of suspected brothels. Photo: James Brickwood

Three years ago Fred Allen* was a taxi driver working 12-hour shifts to make ends meet.

Today, he is a gun for hire, having received tens of thousands of dollars from Sydney’s metropolitan councils in exchange for crucial evidence that is presented in court to help expose and close underground parlours. In short, Mr Allen has paid sex with prostitutes and ratepayers foot the bill.

“Never in a million years would I have imagined a job like this existed, let alone me doing it,” the 60-year-old said, with a hint of a smirk. “It’s a strange world for sure.”

Mr Allen confirmed he had completed more than 60 jobs at locations across Sydney

Mr Allen confirmed he had completed more than 60 jobs at locations across Sydney. Photo: James Brickwood

When Sydney-based Lyonswood Investigations advertised for a “brothel buster investigator” in 2011, it was inundated with resumes from as far afield as Finland.

But while all applicants were willing to engage in paid, undercover sex, the agency’s managing director Lachlan Jarvis confirmed Fred was the only suitable candidate for the niche role. “He had his private investigator’s license, his oral and written English was excellent, he was willing to appear in court if needed … and he was single.”

Mr Allen’s maiden mission involved an undercover visit to an unlicensed brothel reportedly masquerading as a massage clinic. “I had never been to a brothel in my life so I was feeling quite nervous and apprehensive,” he recalled.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I reminded myself that this was a legal job exposing illegal activities. As far as first days at work go, I enjoyed myself.”

Since then, a core group of approximately 10 Sydney councils have called on his services. “The drill is always the same, he explained. “An email arrives in my inbox providing the name, address and description of the premises. I then head in, get the information required and file a written report to the office, which is forwarded to the council.”

Mr Allen confirmed he had completed more than 60 jobs at various locations across Sydney. In nearly every case, the establishments were “clean and comfortable” environments staffed almost exclusively by Asian girls who were in Australia to “study English”. Sexual services were given in all but three of the businesses he has visited, he said.

“The jobs flow in, on average, once every three weeks. If it spreads out that way, it’s perfect,” he said.

“But there are occasions when they all arrive at once. For instance, I was given three jobs to complete, for the same council, in the same week … and I’m not as young as I used to be.”

While Mr Allen said he enjoys the thrill of going undercover, he doesn’t believe there’s a book in his adventures.

“I’d like to recount a series of hair-raising adventures and humorous anecdotes but, the truth is, it’s all pretty run of the mill,” he said. “I’m hired as your regular, everyday customer who walks in, requests a service, pays the money, and then leaves with a smile. I’ve never had a knife drawn on me or anything.

“I can assure you, it’s far safer than being a taxi driver. It’s better paid too.”

Though their paths have never crossed, he is aware of one other agent like him in Sydney. Far from feeling threatened, he is “heartened” by the likelihood of there being more. “It would be nice to meet them one day,” he said.

To date, he has only shared his secret with one other person: “I told one of my mates … he was a bit incredulous and a bit envious, too.”

While Mr Allen acknowledges his work is not the sort of job you want everyone knowing about, he has grappled with the idea of coming clean with his two adults sons.

“I’m in a quandary,” he said. “I’ve considered sitting them down and telling them. Alternatively, when I kick the bucket, they’ll go through my paperwork and discover for themselves.

“Either way, I hope they have a good chuckle.”

* not his real name

Henry Sapiecha

Queensland State Government awards $300,000 contract for social media research that takes just a few months

aussie 50 $ notes image money-au.com102a

A FIRM headed by a former senior Tourism Queensland employee has won a State Government contract worth almost $300,000 to trawl through social media comments for fewer than six months.

Strategy 8 Consulting successfully tendered for the $287,511 contract – in partnership with Colmar Brunton and Switched On Media – to “conduct social media analysis” during the financial year ending in June.

According to the company, it is “lead” (sic) by Dr Tracy Vincent, whose LinkedIn profile lists her role as Tourism Queensland’s consumer behaviour senior adviser from June 2007 to September 2012.

She was also an events marketing adviser from July 1998 to December 1999 and a “senior tourism adviser – project facilitation” from October 1996 to June 1998.

Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey confirmed the contract “commenced in May and will be finalised in September 2014” and that it related to research focusing on ratings and comments on social media.

Ms Stuckey said the research would be discussed at the next DestinationQ Forum in September.

Dr Vincent declined to comment but said she had a “very good knowledge of Queensland and Queensland tourism”.

Henry Sapiecha