Synaptics Katana Targets Edge AI

Synaptics has launched its AI-enabled Katana processor for battery-operated edge devices in the security, biometrics, and smart-appliance markets. The chip includes an Arm CPU with a Tensilica DSP and a custom neural-network accelerator.
Anand Joshi
Anand Joshi

Targeting the crowded market for AI-enabled edge devices, Synaptics has released its ultra-low-power Katana processor. The chip has an always-on mode and targets sensor, speech, and vision applications in the security, asset-tracking, biometrics, and smart-appliance markets. The company has design wins with prominent companies such as Dell and Lenovo, which are using the chip to unlock the screen while the main system sleeps.

The chip combines an Arm Cortex-M33 CPU with Cadence’s Tensilica HiFi3 DSP. The chip also includes a proprietary AI engine and a DSP accelerator to provide additional compute capacity. To facilitate rapid application development, the company provides an evaluation kit complete with a range of neural networks and reference applications.

The platform is one of the few success stories in the crowded edge-AI market, with many companies announcing their products with no customer shipments. The company’s long-term success will depend on the ability of its software stack to adapt to rapidly changing AI applications. The volume ramp-up will be dictated by how quickly emerging edge applications, such as asset tracking, become popular.

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