Syntiant, Energous Announce Partnership on Wirelessly-Powered Always-On Edge AI Hardware

Combining the best of both worlds, the two companies demo always-on edge AI devices with plenty of power — but no cable.

Syntiant has entered into partnership with Energous to combine the latter's WattUp wireless power network tech with the former's Neural Decision Processors (NDP) — creating a new class of edge AI devices for the Internet of Things, driven by wirelessly-transmitted power.

"Deployment of IoT edge devices for industrial, retail and other applications is expanding as they enable new data processing capabilities," explains Cesar Johnston, Energous' chief executive, of the companies' partnership. "With this expansion, however, comes concerns around delivering guaranteed levels of power to these billions of devices that are often significant distances away from a reliable power source. Our collaboration with Syntiant is aimed at addressing this challenge by integrating our WattUp receiver technology with Syntiant’s deep learning technology for edge AI applications, enabling them to harvest RF-based energy from Energous WattUp PowerBridge transmitters."

"Syntiant’s Neural Decision Processors help reduce infrastructure costs by moving AI processing from the cloud to the edge, reliably, securely and with nominal power consumption," adds Syntiant chief executive Kurt Busch. "We share a similar perspective with Energous that much of tomorrow’s innovation is happening at the edge, and our collaboration will successfully demonstrate both technologies working together, delivering power where it is not, while providing highly accurate, cloud-free inference across a wide range of consumer and industrial applications."

The partnership will see the companies working together on devices powered by WattUp and running on the Syntiant NDP family of edge AI processors — the latest of which, the NDP200, is claimed to offer 6.4GOP/s of compute performance in a sub-1Mw power envelope, making it ideal for devices powered by energy harvesting.

WattUp, meanwhile, is designed to go beyond passive energy harvesting: A companion device, the WattUp PowerBridge, is able to transmit power into a specific area — boosting the amount of energy available to devices considerably over systems, which simply harvest passively from existing radio signals.

The two companies have not, however, announced when the first combined devices will launch — but are showcasing their technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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