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Raspberry Pi launches $70 AI Kit

[Image courtesy: Raspberry Pi Foundation]



Artificial intelligence (AI) is all the rage, and the makers of Raspberry Pi have created a way for enthusiasts of the affordable single-board computer systems to take part and do a lot of experimenting along the way.

The Raspberry Pi AI Kit "bundles the Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+ with a Hailo AI acceleration module for use with Raspberry Pi 5. It provides an accessible, cost-effective, and power-efficient way to integrate high-performance AI" into your system projects, according to the developers of the wildly popular Raspberry Pi credit card-size computers.

[Image courtesy: Raspberry Pi Foundation]



The official description from Raspberry Pi lists the basic specs:

"The AI module is a 13 tera-operations per second (TOPS) neural network inference accelerator built around the Hailo-8L chip. The module uses the M.2 2242 form factor, and comes pre-installed in the M.2 HAT+, to which it connects through an M key edge connector. The M.2 HAT+ communicates between the AI module's M.2 interface and the Raspberry Pi 5's PCIe 2.0 interface.

"When the host Raspberry Pi 5 is running an up-to-date Raspberry Pi OS image, it automatically detects the Hailo module and makes the NPU available for AI computing tasks. The built-in rpicam-apps camera applications in Raspberry Pi OS natively support the AI module, automatically using the NPU to run compatible post-processing tasks."

[Image courtesy: Raspberry Pi Foundation]



What does all that mean for users? Naush Patuck says on an official Raspberry Pi blog the new kit "offers an accessible way to integrate local, high-performance, power-efficient inferencing into a wide variety of applications. ...

"By using the pre-installed Hailo Tappas post-processing libraries, we are able to create advanced AI-based applications in only a few hundred lines of C++ code. Similar levels of integration into our Picamera2 framework will follow soon."

Patuck adds that "Hailo has created an extensive model zoo, where users can find a wide variety of pre-trained neural network models ready to deploy and optimized to run on the AI Kit."

VIDEO: Raspberry Pi AI Kit: Object recognition (traffic). [Credit: Raspberry Pi Foundation]

Basic projects users might consider include all types of object recognition, from identifying one distinct type of object and tracking to differentiating object types and gleaning information from their positions or movement.

VIDEO: Raspberry Pi AI Kit: Object recognition (human pose estimation). [Credit: Raspberry Pi Foundation]

Patuck says, "With the Raspberry Pi AI Kit, you are not limited to using the Hailo-8L co-processor only in rpicam-apps or Picamera2. We also package an API integrated in the GStreamer framework and native Python or C/C++ applications. This also includes non-camera use cases, such as running inference on pre-recorded video files."

You can order the $70 Raspberry Pi AI Kit from the Raspberry Pi Foundation directly in the UK, or you can get one closer to home stateside through an official Raspberry Pi reseller such as Adafruit, where it is currently available. Some other popular official resellers such as DigiKey and Newark are not showing the AI boards in their inventories yet, but that may change by the date this is published, so go ahead and check. PI Shop.US has this kit for $85. You will pay more for most Raspberry Pi products when you don't go through the official distributors.

You can read a more in-depth early user review by Jeff Geerling at jeffgeerling.com/blog/2024/testing-raspberry-pis-ai-kit-13-tops-70.

As with most all Raspberry Pi developments, some of the millions of hobby and professional makers out there will eventually come up with new applications that most of us never would have thought of. Many kids will learn about AI along the way too.

Source: Raspberry Pi Foundation

Published June 2024

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