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An RF chipmaker’s quest to ride the AI bandwagon

Nordic Semiconductor, a supplier of Bluetooth and wireless IoT chips, has announced the acquisition of Atlazo, a San Diego, California-based startup specializing in always-on AI processors, sensor interface design, and energy management for tiny edge devices. Nordic will acquire Atlazo’s IP portfolio and the core team comprising eight engineers.

Atlazo, founded in 2016, has been targeting its on-device AI processor technology on the rapidly growing market for true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds, hearing aids, wearables, and health monitoring devices. The company claims that its AI/ML technology allows a processor to operate at the lowest possible energy point for a given task.

Nordic plans to leverage this hyper-low-power AI/ML processor technology in its future wireless system-on-chips (SoCs). Moreover, by integrating Atlazo’s sensor technologies for health applications, Nordic can consolidate its chip designs for wearables and extend its reach to smart health devices serving optical heart monitoring and continuous glucose monitoring.

Nordic CEO Svenn-Tore Larsen calls this deal strategically significant despite being a small bolt-on acquisition. “We anticipate that we will begin to see the initial benefits of this acquisition within 12-18 months of closing the transaction.”

Besides the IP portfolio and engineering team, the deal includes certain other assets, including Atlazo’s office in San Diego, which will become Nordic’s third R&D site in the United States. The transaction, dependent on regulatory approval, is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

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The post An RF chipmaker’s quest to ride the AI bandwagon appeared first on EDN.

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