Announcing the AIY Projects Vision Kit

The second Google AIY Projects kit has just been announced.

I’ve now gotten “hands on” with the retail version of the kit, and have written up a full walkthrough, from unboxing, through putting the kit together. So if you’re having problems wit the kit, that should be your first port of call.

The contents AIY Project Vision Kit. (📷: Google)
Vision Bonnet mounted on top of a Raspberry Pi Zero and connected to a Camera module. (📷: Alasdair Allan)

Building the Box

No matter what you intend to do with the the new Vision Kit, your first move is probably going to be to put it together the cardboard version.

Assembling the Vision Kit. (📷: Google)
The completed Vision Kit. (📷: Google)

The Vision Bonnet

The Vision Bonnet is filled with components on both sides. The designer was obviously struggling to pack everything onto the board, and I think they’ve managed to do a neat job of it.

The AIY Projects Vision Bonnet (top) showing the Movidius MA2450. (📷: Alasdair Allan)
The AIY Projects Vision Bonnet (underside), Microchip SAM D09 chip visible in the lower right. (📷: Alasdair Allan)

The Software

For those of you who have worked with the Movidius chip before and are starting to worry about how complicated this is going to be you can stop worrying. Google seem to have totally rewritten the SDK and it bears no resemblance to the one shipping with the Movidius Neural Compute Sticks.

The Competition?

The comparison with Amazon’s DeepLens that launched yesterday at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas is so obvious we have to talk about it. It too is intended to run deep learning models directly on the device, out in the field. However there the comparison sort of stops.

Where Now?

I’m in the fortunate position to have got my hands on some pre-production hardware again, so over the next month or so—in the run up to the kits arriving on the shelves—you should expect to see some builds from me using the new kit. I think I’ll start with the magic mirror I built using the Voice Kit, using the new Vision Kit to replace the awkward custom hotword support with something a bit more seamless — having the mirror just ‘wake up’ when someone stands in front of it.

Available for Pre-order

The new Vision Kit is available now for pre-order at Micro Center and is priced at $44.99. Although pre-orders opened today, the kits themselves are not expected to be on shelves until towards the end of December, and if you don’t already have them around you’ll need to add a few more things to your basket to get going—a Raspberry Pi Zero W, a Raspberry Pi Camera module, an appropriately sized SD Card, and of course, a power supply.

Scientist, Author, Hacker, Maker, and Journalist.