Imagination pushes ray tracing

September 22, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Imagination makes push into ray tracing
Imagination Technologies has developed a scale to measure the efficiency of ray tracing technology

History has a way of repeating itself, especially in the electronics industry.

Back in the day, Imagination Technology came up with a smart way to reduce the computing power required for rendering 3D images using a two dimensional tile. However, this was very different from other 3D rendering approaches. The company struggled to persuade the industry that the 2D tile was a more effective approach. It did in the end, with IP deals with ARM and Apple for mobile phones and ST Microelectronics for desktops, but it was a long process educating the games industry.

The same thing is happening again with ray tracing. Instead of drawing lots of polygons, this technique traces the rays of light. This provides higher quality reflections to boost the image, but needs a lot more processing power and so is the domain of power hungry Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) from companies such as Nvidia and AMD.

Again, Imagination has come up with some core IP, with 200 patents dating back to 2014, that dramatically simplifies the processing required. This means the thousands of billions of operations (TFLOPS) from a GPU put Imagination at a disadvantage when it can achieve the same quality with a fraction of the processing power.

So this time, with ray tracing becoming increasingly important for a wide range of graphics applications including mobile, Imagination has developed a Ray Tracing Levels System.

This is to give developers and OEM an insight into the capability of solutions for ray tracing acceleration available now and in the future, it says.

“Real-time ray tracing is the most exciting development in 3D graphics of the last 10 years. It’s a technology that everyone wants but not everyone understands, especially when it comes to the benefits on mobile. We want to change that. By creating the Ray Tracing Levels System, we’re helping to bring clarity to the industry about the confusing range of different ray tracing


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