We got our first look inside the Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) chip which Microsoft uses for its virtual reality HoloLens.
The chip has the ability to perform about a trillion calculations at the same time and comes with a TSMC-fabricated 28nm coprocessor which has been specifically made for it and has 24 TensilicaDSP cores arranged in 12 clusters.
Other features of the chip include 65 million logic gates, 8MB of SRAM, and a layer of 1GB of low-power DDR3 RAM which combines to give you an overall 12mm-by-12mm BGA package.
The chip is responsible for all the environment sensing necessary to make the virtual reality goggles fit for use. All the dada produced by the sensors is aggregated and tracks all the movements made by the wearer within the hardware so it becomes more efficient than the equivalent code running on a general purpose CPU.
It comes alongside a 14nm Intel Atom x86 Cherry Trail system-on-chip that comes with its personal 1 GB RAM and operates on Windows 10 and utilizes apps that exploit immersive noggin-fitted display. The HPU consumes less than 10W and comes with PCIe as well as standard serial interfaces.
With this chip you can speed up algorithms 200 times faster than in pure software. The data transferred to the Atom processor is processed as thoroughly as possible there for leaving less processing work for the x86 CPU. The presentation was given by Microsoft Devices Group engineer Nick Baker.
The DSP core are confined to 50% capacity currently and the design for the HPU’s gives Microsoft's engineers a solid chance to ensure latency and duty cycles during processing.
The HoloLens has been available for shipping to developers since March and by next year it will be available on Windows 10 PC to generate a 3D desktop environment.