Fireside Chat With Andreas Urschitz from Infineon

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13 May, 2021

Fireside Chat With Andreas Urschitz from Infineon

#4 of our 'Voice of Innovation' fireside chat series, in which Syntiant CEO Kurt Busch talks with Andreas Urschitz Division President Power & Sensor Systems at Infineon.

Wevolver and Syntiant are creating a series that explore the work of innovators and the future of pervasive AI. Syntiant is developing ultra-low-power AI processors. Because they believe in the importance of innovation, Syntiant is engaging in these fireside chats with engineers and designers who are on the cutting edge of their field.

The fourth conversation in our Voice Of Innovation series was held between Syntiant CEO Kurt Busch and Andreas Urschitz, Division President Power & Sensor Systems at Infineon. Infineon is one of the largest semiconductor companies in the world, they have partnered with Syntiant for many years with the shared goal of innovating artificial intelligence at the edge. In this wide-ranging conversation, Kurt and Andreas discuss the potential of deep learning, strategies to improve efficiency, and the importance of system innovation. 

Building the five senses into semiconductors

“Infineon is pursuing its vision of emulating the five human senses, eventually even the sixth human sense, into each and every kind of electronics.” - Andreas Urschitz.

To make electronics understand in a meaningful way and without latency, such as understanding voice through a microphone and interpreting a specific command or making electronics understand a particular gas combination in the environment or make equipment smell, requires artificial intelligence at the edge through machine learning. 

We have always tried to move the real world into the visual into the virtual world in some way, says Kurt, and with the advent of deep learning, we were able to do things very very quickly. For example, in a very short period of time speech recognition was developed, and within a couple of years, devices such as Amazon Echoes have appeared. This is the sort of thing that deep learning can bring to the table - both rapid innovation and entirely new types of interfaces. 

Prioritizing sustainability 

With processing at the edge, no matter how good a device is there is going to be a demand for more, continues Kurt. What we are creating is a never-ending cycle of increased intelligence inside these devices and it's actually truly exciting because a solution that you have today that works well, you know that next year you are going to have 10 times the performance and that will generate seamless user interfaces. 

Of course, this increase in compute has power requirements. According to Kurt and Andreas, both Syntiant and Infineon are dedicated to prioritizing ways to increase the efficiency of their solutions in order to strive for better environmental credentials and clear sustainability. Syntiant has ramped up its research and investment into power flow solutions, but just energy saving is not enough. What’s crucial is the data that is collected through the millions of sensors we are now surrounded by is analyzed and pre-filtered so that the actual amount of data that needs to be managed in the data center is reduced to the bare minimum. The solution to this is edge processing.

The importance of system innovation

Digitalization is changing so many things in our environment, says Andreas. One of the things we have observed over the last couple of years is that formerly we are confronted with a world with so much information and technology available but often quite spread out over the planet. 

Andreas: “We must ask ourselves how could you combine the different technologies -  software,  hardware - to create meaningful use cases that are helping humanity? We see systemic proceedings such as bringing partners together who are owners of different bits and pieces of technologies to come up with things that either solve customers’ problems or create opportunities as an essential way to make meaning of these technological advances. I believe there are a lot of chances for different companies to team up jointly to strive for system innovation to truly make an impact that goes beyond what is possible alone.” 

This video is part of a series of fireside chats in which Wevolver and Syntiant partner to engage with global innovators. In previous discussions we spoke with Arduino CEO Fabio Violante, Star Wars Animatronic Designer Gustav Hoegen and Fashiontech Designer Anouk Wipprecht.  I encourage you to stay tuned and to follow Syntiant's profile for more of these conversations.