Smart wearable device firm Huami has increased its stake in the RISC-V ecosystem, leading a €7 million series A investment along with Soitec into GreenWaves Technologies, developer of a low-power internet of things (IoT) applications processor for intelligent sensors.
Funds will finance the sales ramp of GreenWaves’ first product, GAP8,
and the development of the company’s next generation product.
GreenWaves' GAP8 processor was launched a year ago. The company says that more than 300 development boards have been sold to date, with multiple customer designs in progress.
GreenWaves claims that GAP8 has a combination of attributes to serve battery-operated AI use cases:
- Energy efficiency for machine learning inference computing at power consumption levels compatible with years of battery-powered operation.
- Ultra-fast wake up, low stand-by power consumption and dynamically adjustable frequency and voltage to consume energy only when required.
- Fully programmable regular RISC-V / PULP parallel architecture to cope with the rapidly evolving state-of-the-art in machine learning algorithms.
GAP8 best serves IoT and consumer battery-operated applications including consumer and medical wearables, people and objects counting, machine health monitoring, home surveillance, voice control, face detection and recognition, consumer robotics, autonomous micro-drones, and smart toys.
The funds will also be used to complete the development of GreenWaves second generation product which will enable another "quantitative and qualitative leap in the capabilities offered by intelligent, battery-powered edge devices," according to GreenWaves.
With this investment, Grenoble-based GreenWaves has raised a total of €14.6 million. It raised a seed round of €3.1 million in two tranches from Soitec in 2017 and 2018 and also €4.5 million of non-diluted money in the form of grants, loans, and R&D tax credits.
Huami, a Chinese company established in 2013, listed on the New York Stock Exchange last year, raising about $110 million. It shipped 18.1 million smart wearable devices in 2017 and claims to have one of the largest biometric and activity databases in smart wearables, being a sole partner to Xiaomi. The company has been investing heavily in the RISC-V ecosystem and was part of the $50 million funding round in SiFive last April.
Huami claims to have developed the world’s first RISC-V–based AI-powered wearable chipset in September 2018, the Huangshan-1 AI chip. The chip incorporates four specialized core AI engines for heart biometrics, ECG, ECG Pro, and arrhythmia. It utilizes what the company calls its self-developed always-on (AON) technology, which can automatically transfer sensor data to the smart wearable’s SRAM inside the chip while making data storage faster and more stable. In addition, the neural network’s acceleration module can compute AI tasks locally (offline).