BrainChip Holdings (ASX:BRN) - brain-inspired computing


by Melissa Darmawan

BrainChip Holdings Limited (ASX:BRN) Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing Rob Telson talks about the company and the future of artificial intelligence.

Melissa Darmawan: Hello. Melissa Darmawan for the Finance News Network. Joining me from BrainChip Holdings (ASX:BRN) is Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing Rob Telson. Rob, nice to meet you and welcome to FNN.

Rob Telson: And, Melissa, it's great to meet you as well, and thank you very much for having me.

Melissa Darmawan: It's great to have you. BrainChip has developed an edge AI processor called Akida. Could you break that down for our viewers to understand?

Rob Telson: The way that I like to look at it is there's this problem that's taking place that's going to continue to become massive over the next three to five years, and that is what we call edge based applications. And edge based applications are anywhere from wearable devices, such as watches to phones, to tablets, all the way to electric vehicles and unmanned flying vehicles. And all of these applications are collecting data, and that data then needs to be processed. But right now that data's being processed in the cloud or in servers and data farms, and then all that processing that takes place is then delivered back to the device. And so this is a massive issue. This is a massive issue because the amount of devices that are being introduced on a daily basis is increasing at a dramatic rate. And so the internet bandwidth, we just take it for granted today, is actually going to slow down, if we don't adjust the way we do things. So, we've developed a microprocessor that processes all this information on the device without having to go to the cloud. And that's Akida. And that's what we get really excited about. And we've done it in a way to mimic the brain, which is a little bit different than how things have been done currently with current AI architectures, when it comes to developing microprocessors.

Melissa Darmawan: Thanks, Rob. What makes BrainChip unique?

Rob Telson: Yeah. I kind of just highlighted a little bit about mimicking the brain. So, just to take a step back, if you think of it this way, most AI processors today are basically developed either as a GPU or they're developed as a DLA, a deep-learning architecture. And so what we've done is we've developed ours using the neuromorphic design principles, and that's neuromorphic architecture. As I said before, it allows the chip to function more like the brain. And when I say that, I want you to think about what you're doing right now. You're looking at me, you're listening to me. Your hands are actually resting. I don't know if you've had breakfast or you had coffee or something like that. And so all these different senses are taking place within yourself right now, but your brain is using all of its energy to listen to every word that I'm saying, okay? It can determine where it wants to spend its energy. And that's how Akida is architected, while the other AI processors that exist today aren't designed that way. So, they have to process everything at the exact same time. They have to process all this nonsense or non-important information, in order to get to where they want to go. By doing that, they consume a lot of energy and it slows them down. So, we're much more efficient in that environment. The second thing that makes us extremely unique, and one of the things we're very proud of, is that we focus on five sensor modalities, kind of like I just said before, but those sensor modalities are vision or object detection, okay? You've got auditory or listening. You've got touch or vibration. You've got smell. And you've got taste. And so we focus on those five sensor modalities, and, with Akida, you can process all these modalities all on one device. This is very unique. And that allows us to be designed in to very small applications and then larger applications, which just need to consume very low power, such as an electric vehicle.

Melissa Darmawan: Based on some of the recent announcements, it sounds like BrainChip is the first company to commercialise a neuromorphic AI. Can you explain more about that?

Rob Telson: There are a couple of companies, very large companies, that have developed neuromorphic-based solutions, as at this point for research purposes, such as IBM and Intel. And then there are a lot of younger companies that are trying to develop some type of neuromorphic-based solution. But BrainChip, we're kind of ahead of the game. We've developed our Akida processor. We've had it in testing and early access through some of our partners for about the last year. And so here we are with a production-ready product, which we've commercialised, and we feel that we're in a very good spot, most likely a year to two years' lead on other technologies that are being introduced in the neuromorphic space. And we've started our commercialisation process -- we announced this about a week ago -- where we are now selling development kits. And they're available to go ahead and purchase on our website, or you can contact, but those development kits are meant to enable designers and developers to start working with the Akida environment and start to learn where they want to go and how they want to plan using Akida in their product moving forward, where they would come back to us to either purchase silicon in volume from us or license our IP, which means they would design it into a chip itself or a system on a chip.

Melissa Darmawan: What sorts of applications do you see Akida technology having the most impact in the short term, and, in general, which industries will benefit the most from Akida?

Rob Telson: The great thing about Akida is it's broad, but I like to break it into four to five segments, and really we're focused on smart city, smart consumer, smart health, smart home and smart transportation. We look at those applications, and we see how Akida can impact the solutions by providing a very low power, a very efficient solution, in which companies can then build and scale upon our ability to help them process the information they need to process.

Melissa Darmawan: And what does the next two to three years look like for BrainChip?

Rob Telson: This is kind of funny because I just did a podcast which is going to get released next week. And my guest on the podcast brought up the fact that we are in a revolution. The introduction of AI is a revolution, and he really emphasised this. And he's right. The last revolution we had was the internet. So, put that into perspective. AI is going to be massive. The other thing we both agreed upon is, and I say this a lot, we are at the tip of the iceberg. This is going to be a ride. So, when I look at the next two to three years, what I see is BrainChip growing as a company, scaling to support our current and future customers' needs, and the proliferation of Akida in a variety of different ways.

Melissa Darmawan: Well, on that note, in regards to your podcast, one final fun question from me. You always end your podcasts by asking people which superhero they would choose to be and what AI superpower they would choose to have. What would be your answers?

Rob Telson: Well, I'm conflicted, but for the purpose of time and the purpose of just this discussion, I'm going to stick with one, and that's going to be Superman. So, I think the ability to fly and move at a very fast rate would be really cool, especially because I can't wait to get Down Under and start having these discussions in person with a lot of our investors and shareholders and so on, as well as travel all over the world and really spread the message on Akida and the great things that we're doing and will do in the future. As for the AI superpower, I should have an answer for this, but I'm going to go with two. I'm flipping it here. I'm going to go with the ability to hear and process information in ways that I can't actually do it today. So, leveraging that. And the second one is touch, the ability to feel vibration, winds, how they're flowing and all the dynamics that are going on around us that we're completely unaware of. I think having those two superpowers would just be really cool.

Melissa Darmawan: Rob Telson, thank you so much for your time, and we look forward to your next update.

Rob Telson: Yeah, Melissa, thank you so much. I look forward to future conversations.


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