Distributed On-Sensor Compute System for AR/VR Devices: A Semi-Analytical Simulation Framework for Power Estimation
Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) glasses are widely foreseen as the next generation computing platform. AR/VR glasses are a complex "system of systems" which must satisfy stringent form factor, computing-, power- and thermal- requirements. In this paper, we will show that a novel distributed on-sensor compute architecture, coupled with new semiconductor technologies (such as dense 3D-IC interconnects and Spin-Transfer Torque Magneto Random Access Memory, STT-MRAM) and, most importantly, a full hardware-software co-optimization are the solutions to achieve attractive and socially acceptable AR/VR glasses. To this end, we developed a semi-analytical simulation framework to estimate the power consumption of novel AR/VR distributed on-sensor computing architectures. The model allows the optimization of the main technological features of the system modules, as well as the computer-vision algorithm partition strategy across the distributed compute architecture. We show that, in the case of the compute-intensive machine learning based Hand Tracking algorithm, the distributed on-sensor compute architecture can reduce the system power consumption compared to a centralized system, with the additional benefits in terms of latency and privacy.