Hearables startup Sonical looks to Dolphin for processor IP
Sonical Inc. (San Mateo, Calif.), a 2020 startup that intends to use AI to boost the power of hearing equipment, has announced a partnership with Dolphin Design SA (Grenoble, France).
Sonical is developing an open software platform for hearables and to make that accessible is creating the CosmOS – formerly EarOS – operating system. Hearables will then allow personalized hearing using AI and audio processing for such things as language translation.
Dolphin Design, formerly Dolphin Integration is the EDA software and silicon IP company that was acquired by Soitec SA and MBDA Missile Systems in 2018 (see Missile maker, Soitec save Dolphin Integration). Dolphin Design is now an IP developer and subsidiary of Soitec.
Sonical and Dolphin plan to develop ASICs and SoCs to run the CosmOS operating system. Sonical’s vision is that a audio wearables could be populated with plug-ins and apps to allow users to customize their headsets, earbuds, hearing aids in a manner similar to the way smartphones are personalized today.
This requires a chipset that combines greater computing power and artificial intelligence than is available today without requiring extra power consumption, the companies asserted in a press release.
Raptor and Panther
Dolphin will provides its Raptor convolutional neural network (CNN) accelerator and Panther a RISC-V based AI/DSP accelerator. These offer near-memory computing and parallel processing to bring superior energy efficiency, the companies claim.
“Every person has a unique hearing preference which changes during the day depending on which activity you are doing,” said Gary Spittle, Sonical CEO, in a statement “We have developed CosmOS to support the three pillars of hearable technologies that not only allow us to listen to audio but to also listen to the world and listen to our bodies. By downloading apps for your ears, we can deliver new experiences that are beyond the capabilities of regular Bluetooth headphones. With the inclusion of multiple sensors for biometric data capture, we are working with ear device companies to unlock a new wave of innovation, using AI-based algorithms, which of course requires a significant amount of low-power computation. The combination of our operating system and the Dolphin Design IP will enable chip manufacturers to build state-of-the-art ear computers.”
Philippe Berger, CEO of Dolphin Design, said: “We have a long-lasting and successful experience in providing ultra-low power audio and power management IPs for the wearable market.”
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