Those itching to get to grips with neural networks are in luck: Google offshoot AIY Projects has recently revamped its Voice and Vision Kits. These project-in-a-pack kits give you all you need to build an intelligent speaker or camera.
In 2017 Google offshoot AIY Projects launched its first products, the AIY Voice and the AIY Vision.
Primarily aimed at STEM education and the maker community, these DIY kits brought the concepts of neural networks, visual recognition and voice recognition into a form factor accessible to just about anyone.
Available in two versions — AIY Voice Kit and AIY Image Kit — last year’s packs contained all one needed to get to grips with the bare-bones of their respective offshoot of artificial intelligence — minus the computer boards, SD card storage and a host of other small accessories required to get up and running.
And while the kits provided enough incentive to capture the imaginations of educators and hobbyists alike, Google clearly felt it could be better.
So, for 2018 the everything giant (can we really refer to them simply as a search giant anymore?) has updated the Voice Kit and Vision Kit with new hardware, spruced up the build instructions and released an accompanying Android app to help make the setup effortless.
Jump below the break for what exactly one gets in a Voice or Image Kit.
Google Makes AI for Makers
The two kits obviously, given their naming cater to two particular branches of neural networks.
AIY Vision Kit contains the parts to create an intelligent camera that, depending on the model (the term given to the particular skill, or set of things to learn to recognize) loaded into it, will recognize objects, people, animals, food and plants in front of it. The open nature of the kits mean that with the right know-how, you can mix, match or ever create your own models for the neural network to use.
In terms of hardware, the new AIY Vision Kit now comes with a Raspberry Pi Zero WH (a RaspPi with pre-soldered GPIO header), in addition to a RaspPi Camera V2, lens, a Vision Bonnet, a Piezo buzzer, LED, nuts, cables cardboard enclosure and Micro SD card.
Meanwhile, the AIY Voice Kit comes with you need to build a the physical body for a Google Voice assistant from scratch. Essentially a voice-controlled speaker, it should be able to recognize your requests and serve up pertinent information.
The new Voice Kit’s parts list is basic in comparison to the Vision Kit, but still makes a leap over its older version with the inclusion of the Raspberry Pi Zero WH, SD card and other gubbins previously left out. There is also a Voice Bonnet, speaker, button, nut, spacer, cabling and the cardboard box housing (a signature feature of Google’s DIY-offerings).
As is often the case with Google products and ventures, it is a hearty stab at introducing new branches of technology in the consumer space. And while the stinging memory of Google Glass and its persistent personal assistant never caught on as some had prophesied, many are lauding machine learning and artificial intelligence as an assured fixture in our technological near future.
At $49 and $89 respectively, the Voice and Vision kits seem like a fun and, most importantly, accessible way to get acquainted with the concepts and hardware of such self-contained AI systems.