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Kendryte Embeds AI for Surveillance

March 26, 2019

Author: Linley Gwennap

To meet China’s rising demand for surveillance cameras, Kendryte has released its first processor, the K210. The SoC features two RISC-V CPUs and a homegrown AI accelerator capable of 230 billion operations per second (GOPS) at just 300mW. It can run the Tiny YOLOv2 neural network for VGA images entirely from internal memory at 30 frames per second (fps), implementing object recognition in real time for an incoming video stream. Thus, it can instantly analyze the images from a security camera and determine what objects, if any, need additional processing.

The 28nm SoC contains other useful features, including an FFT accelerator and audio processor that can analyze signals from a microphone array to determine the location of particular sounds. The chip connects directly to the camera module and microphones through digital interfaces. It provides multiple serial interfaces and other standard system functions, minimizing the need for additional system chips. In fact, a complete system would require mainly a flash-memory chip and a wired- or wireless-networking chip.

Kendryte is a subsidiary of Canaan Creative, a Beijing-based hardware vendor focused on cryptocurrency mining. It established Kendryte as a new brand for its AI products while drawing on its ASIC-design experience to create the K210, which is already in production. Seeed offers the tiny Sipeed module containing the processor and a Wi-Fi subsystem for a retail price of just $8.90. Even ignoring the AI engine, this price is low for a RISC-V processor.

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