Analog and mixed-signal neuromorphic startup Reexen Technology Co. Ltd. has achieved a key design win with microphone assembler Goertek and has partnerships with Philips and STMicroelectronics.
Reexen has a two-stage approach to neuromorphic processing of sensor data. It starts with analog pre-processing of raw data immediately after a sensor followed by analog/mixed-signal computing in-memory for inference. Reexen chips based around this principle target IoT and wearables that require low power consumption and delay.
The company was founded in 2018 and has offices in Shenzhen, Chengdu and Shanghai in China and Zurich, Switzerland.
The company’s first chip combining sensor processing and inference via computing in memory is the ADA100. The chip came into production in 2021 and provides a performance of 20TOPS/W while consuming 10 to 100microwatts, the company states. The chip had achieved sales worth 30 million yuan (about US$4.7 million) by the end of 2021 and the compny expects to ship between 10 and 12 million units in 2022. The ADA100 is manufactured for Reexen by Taiwanese foundry UMC in a 55nm manufacturing process, the company said.
The company’s roadmap includes the ADA200 due for introduction in 2022 and the ADA300 due a year later. These will step the Reexen architecture up in terms of performance and applications.
The ADA200 – to be built by TSMC in 22nm CMOS – will provide performance levels of 2 to 4TOPS at 20TOPS/W (power consumption of 50 to 100mW). The ADA300 – targeting TSMC’s 6nm process – will provide 24TOPS at 55 TOPS/W.
While the ADA100 addresses audio and wearable applications the ADA200 is aimed at visual applications such as AR/VR, ADAS, robotics and smartphones. The ADA300, with 55TOPS/W should be able to go further up the peroformance requirement addressing federated and self-learning systems.
“Goertek uses our bare die in its smart mic product that is capable of voice activity detect (VAD) and key word spotting (KWS, up to 30 words) with ultra-low power consumption (20 microwatts for VAD and 160 microwatts for KWS),” a spokesperson for Reexen said. They added that the Goertek product will be on the market in the second half of 2022.
The partnerships with Philips and STMicroelectronics come by way of participation with those companies in two European Union funded projects. These are Intelligent Motion Control under Industry 4.E (IMOCO4.E), and Embedded storage elements on next MCU generation ready for AI on the edge (StorAIge). Project IMOCO4.E is a 3-year project, with an estimated project cost of €31 million. Project StorAIge is also a 3-year project, with an estimated project cost of €100 million and with STMicroelectronics as the main coordinator.
The reason for Reexen’s Swiss connection is that the company was founded by PhD students that had studied under ETH Zurich professor Tobi Delbrück, a researcher in the field of neural perception computing and dynamic vision.
Three years after its formation the company has raised nearly 100 million yuan (about US$15.7 million) in funding and has achieved total sales of nearly 50 million yuan (about US$7.85 million).
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