Imagine being able to carry out powerful computing tasks while building software that relies on AI decision making in a controlled environment locally. Yes, you read that right.
Intel is pushing boundaries with its Neural Compute Stick 2 which allows developers to perform rapid prototyping in controlled environments making it easier to impart intelligence into smart home gadgets and other network edge devices.
For those that don’t know what edge devices are, they are generally defined as any piece if hardware that controls flow of data between the boundaries of two networks. For example, routers, switches, IoT (Internet of Things) gadgets such as robots, cameras or drones.
Intel launched its Neural Compute Stick 2 which contains a Movidius Myriad X VPU (Virtual Processing Unit) that will enable people to work with deep neural networks which in return makes building AI algorithms much simpler than before. The compute stick looks a lot more like a standard USB drive, but with a dedicated VPU.
The dedicated hardware neural network inference accelerator offers unmatched prototyping capabilities without the need of a connection to the Cloud or the internet t. All that is required is a single NCS 2 and an available USB 3.0 port to get started. Users can also run it on a Linux-based OS.
If one Neural Compute Stick is not enough, just fill up more USB ports. Intel is supporting the OpenVINO toolkit to make developing with a variety of packages as painless as possible. It also has powerful processing cores that enable it to perform eight times faster than its predecessor, which was released last year.
Previous neural sticks have been used to develop helpful applications such as the Clean Water AI, which combines machine vision with a microscope to detect harmful bacteria in water and the ASL Classification, which translates American Sign Language into text — all in real-time.
What is really awesome about this piece of hardware is the price, as it is expected to go on sale for around $100 through Intel’s distributors and there are no restrictions on who can buy one too. So, lets prepare ourselves to build the next generation of AI for smart homes and communities alike.
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Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.