MAY 5--In a technology demonstration that extends the boundaries of real-time semiconductor performance, Texas Instruments (TI; Houston, TX; www.ti.com/1ghzdspp) reached the 1-GHz speed threshold for digital signal processors (DSPs). This jump in raw performance is projected to fuel next-generation improvements and innovations in artificial vision, wireless home media centers, streaming media infrastructure and content delivery, and other real-time applications.
This achievement comes just weeks after TI unveiled its 720-MHz DSP. Most DSPs operate below 500 MHz. With the new DSP, designers are expected to develop a new realm of applications, including commercial and consumer products that build on TI's 20 year-legacy of signal-processing platforms. TI is scheduled to sample the 1-GHz DSP in the first half of 2004 using the latest 90-nm process technology.
Researchers at the University of Southern California are developing artificial vision that will tap the performance of a 1-GHz DSP to enable vision-impaired people to improve their visibility from 16 pixels to 1000 pixels. This translates into seeing only the difference between day and night versus being able to recognize movement and see large objects.
"The amount of information that is processed by the eye with hundreds of millions of photo receptors in your eye and 1.2 million fibers going from the eye to your brain, the amount of image processing and the horsepower that is needed is tremendous," said Mark Humayun, professor of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and associate director of research at the Doheny Retina Institute. "TI's advancements in digital signal processing to 1 GHz will help us to convert complicated images into data streams and do it in real time," he adds.
Similarly, infrastructure and network equipment manufacturers require a high level of processing performance to deliver real-time broadcast-quality video-on-demand over all-digital networks. A 1 GHz-class processor will further enable transcoding video (convert from one video format to another), transrating video (scaling from a higher bit-rate to lower bit-rate), real-time audio synchronization, audio encoding/decoding support, and multiplexing and demultiplexing of video streams and encryption.