Huami Corp, the U.S.-listed maker of smart wearables, has stepped up
its push into artificial intelligence technologies by unveiling new
chips and setting up an AI research institute.
The company has inked a partnership deal with renowned Chinese
respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan's team for developing smartwatches that
may come in handy for the follow-up care and treatment management of
recovered COVID-19 patients.
Huami also launched its Huangshan 2 chips, nearly two years after
coming out with its first-generation self-developed chips, at the AI
Innovation Conference in Hefei, Anhui province. The chip will power the
company's upcoming smart wearables and was developed by its chip
research and development department based on the RISC-V instruction set.
RISC-V is an open-source chip architecture.
Huang Wang, founder and CEO of Huami, said the process was not an
easy task and only a few domestic companies have been able to mass
produce self-developed chips until now.
According to the company, the updated chip has a higher recognition
rate for atrial fibrillation based on heart rate data, which is seven
times better than the Huangshan 1.
The company said the updated chip is expected to go into mass
production in the fourth quarter of this year. The new products using
the chip will hit the market in the first half of next year.
As for the AI research institute, it has established three joint
laboratories, including one with the team led by Zhong, the academician
from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, to jointly promote the research
and application of smart wearables for respiratory health management.
Huang said: "As the collaboration among medical institutions, R&D
institutions and enterprises intensifies, we are excited to leverage
our expertise in smart wearable technology to promote applied research
and transformational achievements in respiratory health."
Huami has also teamed up with the Chinese Athletics Association to
build a lab which will focus on the use of wearables for sports training
and other activities.
The company has also reached a strategic cooperation with intelligent
voice company Unisound, to jointly develop smart voice assistants that
can be applied to watches.
The moves are part of Huami's broader mission to be a data-driven,
cloud-based company offering healthcare insights. Huami has been helping
Xiaomi design and manufacture wearables including smartwatches and
fitness trackers, but also developed its own branded smartwatches and
other smart wearables.
Market research company International Data Corp said in its latest
report that the spread of COVID-19 had adverse effects on the supply of
smart and basic watches as many of these devices share components and
resources with smartphones and PCs, which were also affected during the
first quarter of 2020.
Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC's Wearables Team, said in
the report that despite the decline, a few vendors, such as Huawei,
Garmin, and Huami, managed healthy growth thanks to lesser reliance on
markets in China and further expansion into the United States, Europe,
and other parts of Asia.