Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Intel Buys FPGA Vision Specialist 


Chip maker Intel has extended its reach into the FPGA arena with the acquisition of Omnitek, a U.K.-based developer of intellectual property cores used to combine FPGAs with AI and vision applications.

Omnitek, Basingstoke, U.K., specializes in soft IP cores for applications ranging from medical imaging to high-end video conferencing.

Founded in 1998, Omnitek claims about 220 FPGA IP cores and accompanying software, including cores for creating “arbitrary image warps” on real-time video streams, image signal processing and video connectivity.Omnitek’s signal-processing technology also has been used to develop IP cores for AI inferencing running on FPGAs.

The Omnitek deal is Intel’s latest foray into the booming FPGA market since it acquired market pacer Altera in 2015 for $17 billion. With the recent launch of its Agilex product line, Intel’s first FPGA processor combines an FPGA fabric built on its 10-nm process with its heterogeneous 3-D SiP (system-in-packages) technology that enables integration of analog, memory, custom computing, custom I/O and embedded ASIC components into a single package.

Now it is hunting for new FPGA applications. “Together, we will deliver leading FPGA solutions for video, vision and AI inferencing applications on Intel FPGAs,” said Dan McNamara, general manager of Intel’s Programmable Solutions Group.

The chip maker noted that its cloud service provider and embedded customers are using its FPGAs in video and “visual-related” applications, including computing intensive 8K video as well as AI. Hence, the deal for Omnitek illustrates how Intel is expanding its FPGA focus to include those vision applications.

Omnitek’s 40 employees will join Intel, the chip maker said Tuesday (April 16). A company spokeswoman confirmed that the transaction had closed, but terms of the deal were not disclosed.




About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).