Apple acquires edge-based artificial intelligence startup Xnor.ai for $200M

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Apple's acquisition of Xnor.ai suggests that the machine learning tools developed by the company may appear natively on iPhones and iPads in the future, with processing on-device instead of in the cloud.




The company in question is Seattle-based Xnor.ai, a three-year-old startup that specializes in low-power edge-based artificial intelligence. The technologies developed by the company are capable of running on devices such as smartphones, IoT devices, cameras, drones, and even embedded low-power mobile CPUs.

Xnor.ai's tagline is -- or was -- "AI Everywhere, for everyone," which they achieve by employing machine learning and image recognition tools that can be used on-device, rather than needing to execute something from the cloud.

Edge-based computing seeks to bring data storage and basic computational tasks out of the cloud and back onto the device. The end goal is to improve response times and save bandwidth. Edge-based AI would allow for faster programs that would use significantly less data. Additionally, by keeping the data out of the cloud, it offers a more secure system than the alternative.

Xnor.ai has also created a self-service platform to make it easier for software developers to employ AI-centric code and data libraries into apps.

According to an anonymous source who spoke to GeekWire, Apple doled $200 million for the company. Apple had paid the same $200 million for another Seattle-based AI startup, Turi, in 2016.

Forbes had ranked Xnor.ai at 44th on a list of America's most promising AI companies. They applauded the company for developing a standalone AI chip that could be run for years on solar power or a coin-sized battery.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,592member
    Edge-based computing seeks to bring data storage and basic computational tasks out of the cloud and back onto the device.
    Sounds just like the direction Apple is already going with HomeKit Secure Video. That service currently provides support for detection of motion of generic cars, people or animals. I guess Apple wants to expand that to recognize specific cars, people and animals. Eg, "send me an alarm if my pet cat Felix is at my front door." Or "send me an alarm if my wife's car drives up the driveway." ;)
    cornchip
  • Reply 2 of 9
    A thorough description of edge computing here:  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edge_computing
  • Reply 3 of 9
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,746member
    This is an area they cannot afford not to be in, and other players have already made it clear they are there too.

    A wise direction to take IMO although I would imagine it is to flesh out other work already in progress.

    Latency and privacy are the two main reasons to have some things handled locally on the device. Latency is especially relevant for 'AI' on things like cars.

    From the image, it looks like it uses ARM too.
    edited January 2020 cornchip
  • Reply 4 of 9
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Edge-based computing seeks to bring data storage and basic computational tasks out of the cloud and back onto the device.
    Sounds just like the direction Apple is already going with HomeKit Secure Video. That service currently provides support for detection of motion of generic cars, people or animals. I guess Apple wants to expand that to recognize specific cars, people and animals. Eg, "send me an alarm if my pet cat Felix is at my front door." Or "send me an alarm if my wife's car drives up the driveway." ;)
    Yes, or execute some other operation on the alert

    ON ALERT "Wife's car in Driveway"
        IF "my location" <>  "home" THEN
          CALL delete_browser_history
       END IF
    END ALERT
    spanish-archercornchipFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Rayz2016 said:
    Edge-based computing seeks to bring data storage and basic computational tasks out of the cloud and back onto the device.
    Sounds just like the direction Apple is already going with HomeKit Secure Video. That service currently provides support for detection of motion of generic cars, people or animals. I guess Apple wants to expand that to recognize specific cars, people and animals. Eg, "send me an alarm if my pet cat Felix is at my front door." Or "send me an alarm if my wife's car drives up the driveway." ;)
    Yes, or execute some other operation on the alert

    ON ALERT "Wife's car in Driveway"
        IF "my location" <>  "home" THEN
          CALL delete_browser_history
       END IF
    END ALERT
    Why would you want to delete browser history while you are not home, meaning that you haven’t surfed since last cleaning?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 9
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,277member
    urahara said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Edge-based computing seeks to bring data storage and basic computational tasks out of the cloud and back onto the device.
    Sounds just like the direction Apple is already going with HomeKit Secure Video. That service currently provides support for detection of motion of generic cars, people or animals. I guess Apple wants to expand that to recognize specific cars, people and animals. Eg, "send me an alarm if my pet cat Felix is at my front door." Or "send me an alarm if my wife's car drives up the driveway." ;)
    Yes, or execute some other operation on the alert

    ON ALERT "Wife's car in Driveway"
        IF "my location" <>  "home" THEN
          CALL delete_browser_history
       END IF
    END ALERT
    Why would you want to delete browser history while you are not home, meaning that you haven’t surfed since last cleaning?
    I think the rest of us got the joke.  :)
    edited January 2020 MacProwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 9
    Xnor.ai powered the person detection in the popular Wyze camera lineup. They suddenly terminated that agreement a few weeks ago, leaving Wyze in the lurch. I guess we know why now!
    cornchipFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,745member
    This seems a very intelligent move... oh, wait is it real?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 9
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,745member
    gatorguy said:
    urahara said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Edge-based computing seeks to bring data storage and basic computational tasks out of the cloud and back onto the device.
    Sounds just like the direction Apple is already going with HomeKit Secure Video. That service currently provides support for detection of motion of generic cars, people or animals. I guess Apple wants to expand that to recognize specific cars, people and animals. Eg, "send me an alarm if my pet cat Felix is at my front door." Or "send me an alarm if my wife's car drives up the driveway." ;)
    Yes, or execute some other operation on the alert

    ON ALERT "Wife's car in Driveway"
        IF "my location" <>  "home" THEN
          CALL delete_browser_history
       END IF
    END ALERT
    Why would you want to delete browser history while you are not home, meaning that you haven’t surfed since last cleaning?
    I think the rest of us got the joke.  :)
    Agreed, I'm still laughing!
    watto_cobra
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