Microsoft Reveals Details About Holographic Processing Unit In HoloLens
While Microsoft has shared a lot of details regarding HoloLens and even made retail availability for everyone in US and Canada, there hasn’t been any information about what exactly is under the hood of this new technology and the specs of the holographic processing unit.
Well that has now changed as Microsoft finally unveiled, during a conference in Cupertino, a look at the inside of the holographic processing unit chip the company is using in the highly anticipated augmented reality headset.
The HPU in question is not just some off-the-shelf product Microsoft decided to pick up and power its $3,000 AR device. It is actually a custom designed 28nm coprocessor from TSMC and has 24 Tensilica DSP cores. The chip also features 65 million logic gates, 8MB of SRAM and a layer of 1GB low-power DDR3 RAM, all for a trillion calculations per second.
The holographic processing unit is designed in such a way that it should be able to handle all the environment sensing and other input or output data necessary for proper functioning of HoloLens on its own. The HPU also aggregates data from sensors and processes the wearer’s gesture movements, all at a hardware level.
Microsoft took advantage of Tensilica’s instruction extensions to add 10 custom instructions to the DSP cores in order to speed up specific operations needed by the HoloLens to render realtime augmented reality. Overall, the unit is capable of accelerating algorithms up to 200 times faster than when done on a software level.
Another interesting thing about the HPU is that it works alongside a 14nm Intel Atom x86 Cherry Trail SoC. This SoC has its own 1GB RAM and can run Windows 10 and augmented reality apps easily.
From a power point of view, the HPU draws in less than 10W, after including draw from PCIe and standard serial interfaces.
Source: The Register