NVIDIA / AP
This photo provided by NVIDIA shows a 310-foot "crop circle" in a California barley field that mystified locals this week was explained Sunday: it was a publicity stunt by Nvidia Corp., a maker of chips for PCs and smartphones.
Turns out, it wasn't an alien creation.
We now know the source of the mysterious crop circle that turned up in the small town of Chualar, about two hours south of San Francisco. And it turns out a lot of the speculation about what the viral photo might be was correct.
NBC Bay Area was originally tipped off by an anonymous source, who said Silicon Valley chipmaker Nvidia was behind the crop circle that was first spotted toward the end of 2013 by a photographer named Julie Belanger. We now have confirmation from the inside.
The company plowed through the farm to (eventually) get publicity for their new mobile chip. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang detailed how the company came to create the circle that got so much attention press conference Sunday night at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, saying he had told his marketing department to find a way to generate buzz about the chip on a shoe-string budget.
Nvidia says that all those theorists who said they saw the numbers one, nine and two in the crop circle were correct. The company said it incorporated the number 192 in the design in Braille to represent the number of cores (192) in the company's new mobile chip, which was also introduced Sunday night at CES.
"We've bridged the gap — we've brought mobile computing to the same level as desktop computing," Huang said of the chip. As for the crop circle, it arrived, and then, like a Snapchat, it disappeared, a viral move that generated huge coverage for the company and got a lot of people talking.