Vulkan 1.1 and SPIR-V 1.3 Specifications Released

The Khronos Group released Vulkan 1.0 specifications in 2015 as a successor of OpenGL ES, compatible with OpenGL ES 3.1 or greater capable GPU, and taking less CPU resources thank to – for instance – better use of multi-core processors with support for multiple command buffers that can be created in parallel. A year later, we saw Vulkan efficiency in a demo, since then most vendors have implemented a Vulkan driver for their compatible hardware across multiple operating systems, including Imagination Technologies which recently released Vulkan drivers for Linux. The Khronos Group has now released Vulkan 1.1 and the associated SPIR-V 1.3 language specifications. New functionalities in Vulkan 1.1: Protected Content – Restrict access or copying from resources used for rendering and display, secure playback and display of protected multimedia content Subgroup Operations – Efficient mechanisms that enable parallel shader invocations to communicate, wide variety of parallel computation models supported Some Vulkan 1.0 extensions are now part of Vulkan 1.1 …

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Arm’s Project Trillium Combines Machine Learning and Object Detection Processors with Neural Network Software

We’ve already seen Neural Processing Units (NPU) added to Arm processors such as Huawei Kirin 970 or Rockchip RK3399Pro in order to handle the tasks required by machine learning & artificial intelligence in a faster or more power efficient way. Arm has now announced their Project Trillium offering two A.I. processors, with one ML (Machine Learning) processor and one OD (Object Detection) processor, as well as open source Arm NN (Neural Network) software to leverage the ML processor, as well as Arm CPUs and GPUs. Arm ML processor key features and performance: Fixed function engine for the best performance & efficiency for current solutions Programmable layer engine for futureproofing the design Tuned for advance geometry implementations. On-board memory to reduce external memory traffic. Performance / Efficiency – 4.6 TOP/s with an efficiency of 3 TOPs/W for mobile devices and smart IP cameras Scalable design usable for lower requirements IoT (20 GOPS) and Mobile (2 to 5 TOPS) applications up to …

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NVIDIA Xavier AI SoC Now Sampling, DRIVE IX & DRIVE AR SDKs Announced

Well over a year ago, NVIDIA introduced Xavier, their next generation self-driving and artificial intelligence processor, with eight custom ARM cores, a 512-core Volta GPU, and support for 8K video encoding and decode. A few months ago, the company provided some more details and unveiled NVIDIA DRIVE PX Pegasus A.I. computer for level 5 autonomous driving with two Xavier processors and two NVIDIA next-generation GPUs delivering a total 320 TOPS of computing power. For that it’s worth, 320 TOPS is about 3200 times more powerful than Intel Movidus Neural Network Compute Stick. CES 2018 has now started, and NVIDIA made several announcement related to gaming and automotive markets, and confirmed Xavier is now sampling to select customers. What’s really new from the announcement is the addition of two new SDKs (software development kits) for the processor beside the original NVIDIA DRIVE AV autonomous vehicle platform: DRIVE IX – Intelligent experience software development kit that will enable AI assistants for both …

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Firefly ROC-RK3328-CC Development Board Now for Sale for $35 and Up

Remember Libre Computer Renegade SBC – aka ROC-RK3328-CC – based on Rockchip RK3328 processor, and launched last month on Indiegogo? The crowdfunding campaign successfully completed a few days ago with over $20,000 raised from close to 250 backers. When we zoomed on the board we could see markings on the board indicated that it was made by Firefly team, the makers of boards such as Firefly-RK3288 Reload or Firefly-RK3399, and the company is now selling the board with 1 or 2GB RAM for respectively $35 and $50 plus shipping, but the 4GB version is not up for sale at this stage. Firefly-ROC-RK3328-CC board specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-450MP2 GPU System Memory – 1, 2, or 4GB DDR4 Storage – eMMC 5.x flash module socket (8 to 128 GB) + micro SD card slot Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz with HDR10 and HLG support, 3.5mm …

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Xiaomi Unveils Their Very Own ESP32 Development Board, Module & SDK

We now have plenty of modules and board based on Espressif System ESP32 dual core wireless SoC, and a fairly good software support with ESP IDF SDK, Arduino Core,  MicroPython, Espruino and other solutions. So I was surprised when I saw Teo Swee Ann, Espressif CEO, posted photos about an event – Xiaomi IoT Developer Conference – where Xiaomi apparently introduced their own ESP32 development board, together their own SDK (still empty right now) compatible with the company’s Mijia ecosystem, as part of their “Open IoT platform” The slide below translates as “WIFI module –  Automated manufacturing / 4-fold foolproof mechanism / whole process tracing / cost price (about 15 RMB)” and “Open source SDK”, with the price likely the price of Xiaomi ESP32 module (ESP-WROOM-32C) shown on board above (Thank to hm for translation). I could not find much information at this early stage, except new partnership between Baidu and Xiaomi for A.I. and IoT which does not mention …

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RedRat-X IR, Bluetooth & RF4CE Box Can Control Multiple TVs and Set-top Boxes

IR blasters can be used to control multiple IR devices through infrared, or other interfaces, for example DVR can use such device to change the channel of a set-top box just before recording. RedRat-X is one of those devices for automating control of TVs, STBs and other infrared equipment, but it’s quite more versatile, as beside its built-in IR blaster, it adds 3 IR outputs were you can connect your own IR transmitters, as well as USB and Ethernet for remote controls. Furthermore, it can also take add-on modules to emulate  Bluetooth and RF4CE remote controls. RedRat-X specifications: IR blaster via the front of the unit. 0 mA to 250 mA in 100 steps. 3x plug-in IR jack sockets which can be used in two modes: Current mode (default): For use with plug-in IR flashers – 0mA to 100mA in 100 steps. Voltage mode: To interface to IR distributions systems, such as Xantech, Buffalo etc. Optional add-on modules – Bluetooth …

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NVIDIA DRIVE PX Pegasus Platform is Designed for Fully Autonomous Vehicles

Many companies are now involved in the quest to develop self-driving cars, and getting there step by step with 6 levels of autonomous driving defined based on info from  Wikipedia: Level 0 – Automated system issues warnings but has no vehicle control. Level 1 (”hands on”) – Driver and automated system shares control over the vehicle. Examples include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Parking Assistance, and Lane Keeping Assistance (LKA) Type II. Level 2 (”hands off”) – The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering), but the driver is still expected to monitor the driving, and be prepared to immediately intervene at any time. You’ll actually have your hands on the steering wheel, just in case… Level 3 (”eyes off”) – The driver can safely turn their attention away from the driving tasks, e.g. the driver can text or watch a movie. The system may ask the driver to take over in some situations specified by …

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Hologram Unveils Nova 3G USB Dongle and Python SDK; 200 Raspberry Pi Zero W Kits Given Away to Developers

This summer I discovered Hologram global cellular IoT SIM card, and since they provided free developer samples with 2MB of monthly data includes, I decided to get one to try it out. I received it a few weeks later, and to my surprise it worked, despite my country of residence having some strict requirements with regards to SIM card registration. The SIM card uses roaming, but with a low fixed worldwide pricing, and does not come with a phone number by default, so maybe that’s why I did not have to register. The company is now back with Nova, an open source hardware cellular modem certified by OSHWA (ID #US000077). It’s basically 2G/3G USB dongle that’s controlled by Hologram Python SDK, specifically suited to Debian systems like Raspberry Pi 3 or BeagleBone Black. Hackster.io is also involved in the launch with a worldwide contest offering 200 free kits comprised of Nova 3G USB dongle and Raspberry Pi Zero W board …

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