Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Multi-school research team attempts to bring AI capabilities to smartphones

By David Schwartz
Published: May 19th, 2020

A team of researchers from across several universities is working on a new approach to software design that could bring artificial intelligence (AI) directly to smartphones. Currently, mobile devices use AI technologies through the cloud, but the new CoCoPIE software framework could arm mobile devices with real AI capability.

“A mobile device is very resource-constrained,” says Bin Ren, researcher at William & Mary and member of the CoCoPIE team. “Its CPU and GPU are much smaller than the ones that can be accessed by the cloud.”

According to Ren, devices that run CoCoPIE-enriched software can use real-time AI apps without extensive hardware modifications. In tests on a standard Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone, CoCoPIE outperformed other frameworks and hardware solutions in manipulating sets of images to achieve higher resolution.

A device with such built-in capability wouldn’t just benefit the casual photographer, Ren says. It could also help police officers better identify and apprehend perpetrators of crimes. “And there’s the bandwidth,” he adds. “AI on mobile devices will save a lot of bandwidth.”

The other members of the CoCoPIE team are Yanzhi Wang of Northeastern University, Xipeng Shen of North Carolina State University, and Shaoshan Liu of PerceptIn Inc. William & Mary, in partnership with Northeastern, has a group of patents pending on the CoCoPIE technology. Source:

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