30 days of battery life!
30 days of battery life! With wearable devices like Google glasses, Samsung Gear, et al.
City firm sets a pinnacle in next gen technology
• Gude Dasaradha who designed AMD’s Accelerated Processing Units makes the new breakthrough technology for wearable devices
• The company raises Rs 102 crore funding from investors including Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics to manufacture the processors
With wearable devices like Google glasses, Samsung Gear, et al. creating a new wave in telecommunications, a company emerging from off the radar categories of firms in India says it has developed a microprocessor specifically for wearables that dramatically lowers power demands. Ineda Systems, a city-based start up, claims that its product ‘Dhanush’ consumes around 10 times less power than processors used in wearables today, which were often originally designed for smartphones, enabling 30 days of always-on battery life. The information was given out through a release on Tuesday.
The company also said it had raised Rs 102 crore ($17 million) in funding from investors including major semiconductor industry players Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics. The aim is to supply chips for the multitude of devices that are coming with the new age of wearable computing and the Internet of Things (IoT).
When most wearable devices of the present era could not last more than 36 hours without charge, Dhanush processor sets its own epitome in this ilk.
Ineda is a startup company that was created by industry veterans from the US and India with a goal of developing low power System on a Chip (SOC) for its use in both consumer and enterprise applications. Founded in 2011 by Gude Dasaradha, Sanjay Jha, Balaji Kanigicherla, Lip-Bu Tan, Krishna Yarlagadda, it has its main office in Banjara Hills, Road No 2. The three-year-old startup, with offices in Silicon Valley and Hyderabad, has more than 180 engineers.
Ineda is designing its Dhanush chips from the ground up for wearable devices and the IoTs. That means the chips have to operate on as little electrical power as possible, thanks to a unique design. Investors also include Walden-Riverwood Ventures, Samsung Catalyst Fund, Indus Age, Imagination Technologies and other existing investors.
The startup chip design company has come with a design that it calls a Wearable Processor Unit (WPU). The wearable device has multiple components and only uses those which are needed at any given time.
Such WPUs can take input from sensors on an always-on basis, meaning they can take data from devices such as smart watches and continuously update applications for users. The company says it will have 10 times less power consumption compared to rival devices.
“The class of the WPU we are designing for wearables is very unique,” said Gude Dasaradha, chief executive of Ineda, in an interview with VentureBeat. “Unless you design from the ground up, you will have the same problem. The power requirements are too difficult. What we have done is the first in the world. This is a brand new architecture.”
Commenting on why the processor was named Dhanush, he said, “Dhanush meant bow in Sanskrit, it can be bent and it shoots with the speed and intensity the archer wants. Well, that is what this Dhanush is meant to do.”
Gude who has designed the new technology has 25 years of chip industry experience with companies like Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). He helped work on AMD’s Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), which combined GPUs and CPUs on the same chip.
The system uses a new patent-pending Hierarchical Computing architecture. The Hierarchical Computing architecture has multiple tiers of CPUs within the larger WPU device. All of those CPUs can operate either simultaneously or independently.
Gude says, “Android requires too much operating power to serve as the Operating System for the device. The company has a single operating system that continues to operate all of the time. Depending on what is running at the time, the operating system changes.”
He continues, “We have multiple CPUs, including small CPUs and a large CPU in the same chip. That is common today. The differentiation is we also have multiple operating systems within the CPU. If you are running on a small CPU, you use a small operating system. The power consumption can be much lower.”
But the WPU can also run a variety of operating systems, as required by customers.
He is not sure which application will come first. “Dhanush chips will have low price points that are appropriate for wearable markets,” he says. He believes that wearable chips will take off in the same way that smartphones and tablets have taken over, only that there will be a market for many more wearable devices.
“Wearable electronics and devices for the Internet of Things (IoT) are an open field for innovation, and Ineda is entering the market at the right time with a truly disruptive architecture,” he added. “Leveraging multiple Imagination IP Cores, Ineda’s Dhanush WPU brings the wearable device industry the performance and power reduction it has needed to ensure wide-scale adoption.”
The company has prototypes and it is sampling chips to potential customers. “We are hoping we can get a design win in the next couple of months and then go to production,” Gude said.
The Dhanush family of chips will operate at low frequencies, ranging from 10 megahertz to 500 megahertz. The Dhanush WPU family will have a variety of versions for different markets. Those products are dubbed Nano, Micro, Optima and Advanced.
The Nano version is designed for simple wearables with appliance-like, microcontroller-class memory and computing requirements. The Micro version is designed for low-end devices such as smart watches, with a sensor hub that can operate in an always-on fashion. The Optima version can also run a mobile-class operating system and support mid-range devices. The Advanced version has all the features, including rich graphics and a user interface, with the ability to run operating systems such as Android.