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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ARM moves higher up the stack with Apical acquisition

By Nick Flaherty

ARM is continuing to move up the embedded technology stack with the acquisition of UK computer vision algorithm specialist Apical for $350m. The cash deal accelerates the ARM ecosystem’s growth into new markets such as connected vehicles, robotics, smart cities, security systems, industrial/retail applications and Internet of Things devices

The embedded computer vision technology will allow next generation devices to understand and act intelligently on information from their environment. The technology is embedded in more than 1.5 billion smartphones and approximately 300 million other consumer/industrial devices including IP cameras, digital stills cameras and tablets. The acquisition allows the Apical technology to be more closely coupled with ARM's DSP and processor technology. 

The deal supports ARM’s long term growth strategy by enabling new imaging products for next generation vehicles, security systems, robotics, mobile and any consumer, smart building, industrial or retail application where intelligent image processing is needed. Apical’s technology will complement the ARM Mali graphics, display and video processor roadmap with:

Spirit power-efficient computer vision technology gives ARM and its partners the ability to address opportunities anywhere that advanced image computing can deliver innovation. It comprises dedicated silicon IP blocks that deliver an on-chip computer vision capability by converting raw sensor data or video into a machine-readable representation of an image.

Assertive Display enables screens to adapt to changes in light by overcoming brightness limitations while reducing power consumption.

Assertive Camera can be configured as a range of image signal processors (ISPs) and software packages for  high dynamic range, noise reduction and colour management.

“Computer vision is in the early stages of development and the world of devices powered by this exciting technology can only grow from here,” said Simon Segars, CEO, ARM. “Apical is at the forefront of embedded computer vision technology, building on its leadership in imaging products that already enable intelligent devices to deliver amazing new user experiences. The ARM partnership is solving the technical challenges of next generation products such as driverless cars and sophisticated security systems. These solutions rely on the creation of dedicated image computing solutions and Apical’s technologies will play a crucial role in their delivery.”

Apical, based in Loughborough UK, was founded in 2002 and employs approximately 100 people, mainly in research and development. “Apical has led the way with new imaging technologies based on extensive research into human vision and visual processing,” said Michael Tusch, CEO and founder, Apical. “The products developed by Apical already enable cameras to understand their environment and to act on the most relevant information by employing intelligent processing. These technologies will advance as part of ARM, driving value for its partners as they push deeper into markets where visual computing will deliver a transformation in device capabilities and the way humans interact with machines.”

For more information on Apical:

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