Hands-On with the SmartEdge Agile

Out-of-the-box artificial intelligence at the edge

You’ve probably gathered by now that I’m a big fan of edge computing for machine learning. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for the cloud. While some devices like the Coral Dev Board from Google are capable of transfer learning on the device, at the edge, that isn’t that common. At least not yet. For the foreseeable future the cloud is where training will happen, and data will be stored. That is, if you need to store data at all.

Opening the Box

The SmartEdge Agile comes in a ‘retail ready’ blister pack.

The SmartEdge Agile in its blister pack. (📷: Alasdair Allan)
The contents of the pack. (📷: Alasdair Allan)
Unboxing the Brainium SmartEdge Agile with Alex Glow. (📹: Hackster.io)

Signing Up to the Cloud

The first thing you need to get started with the SmartEdge Agile is agree to some click wrap licensing and sign up to the Brainium portal. You’ll then be asked to enter your email address and you’ll be sent a code which you’ll use to create your account.

Installing the Brainium Gateway

The SmartEdge Agile uses Bluetooth to talk to a local gateway which will serve as a proxy for traffic back up into the cloud. You can either use your phone, there is a gateway application for both iPhone and Android, or so long as it has Bluetooth on board, a Raspberry Pi.

% ssh pi@raspberrypi.local
$ wget https://brainium.blob.core.windows.net/public/raspberry/bluez.run 
$ sudo sh bluez.run
$ wget https://brainium.blob.core.windows.net/public/raspberry/brainium-gateway-latest.run
$ sudo sh ./brainium-gateway-latest.run
$ brainium-gateway
Command (h for help):
$ brainium-gateway
Command (h for help): login
User name: alasdair@babilim.co.uk
Authenticating ... completed successfully!

Adding Your SmartEdge Agile

Click on the plus icon in the devices column next to your gateway in the portal. This will take you through to some click-wrap reminding you about the terms of the “discovery period,” click on the ‘Agree’ button and your gateway will start looking for your SmartEdge Agile device.

The button (bottom) and LED (top) on the far end of the gateway. (📷: Alasdair Allan)
$ brainium-gateway
Command (h for help): gw devices
Gateway information ...
|Device (ID): TO136-0202100001000902|
Name: Module
Device Connection: TRUE
Cloud Connection: CONNECTED
Battery: 66% , Charger connected

Your First Project

The SmartEdge Agile is what I generally call a ‘blended’ device for machine learning. Like Google’s Coral hardware, or other edge devices I’ve talked about in the past, you build your machine learning model in the cloud and deploy it to the edge. The portal is just for training and data storage.

Adding Some Machine Learning

Now we have a project, and a device attached to it, you can add some machine learning. Click on the ‘Motion Recognition’ button in the portal menu bar.

Stepping Out of the Portal

While the portal offers a lot of flexibility, and linking out to IFTTT means that there is even more as you can effectively trigger arbitrary events using the Makers Channel, if you want to go further then there is a developer API.

Building a Snake Detector with the SmartEdge Agile with Alex Glow. (📹: Hackster.io)


You can learn more about using the SmartEdge Agile and the Brainium portal by reading the introductory guide, and if you’re inspired and creative there’s also a competition running now on Hackster to “Bring Intelligence to the Real World.” Submissions don’t close on August 23rd, so you still have plenty of time to get your machine learning project out in the world. The SmartEdge Agile is available now, and costs $109.99.

Scientist, Author, Hacker, Maker, and Journalist.