AI for Everyone: Google’s AIY Neural Net Kits Go Mainstream Retail

from MAKE

We’ve officially entered the big-box DIY machine-learning era.

Starting this week, Target sells the Google AIY kits, both the Voice and Vision variants. These are upgrades of the kits that came out last year, each now using the Raspberry Pi Zero and coming in new retail packaging. Other than that, they retain their assemble-it-yourself cardboard housing and ability to be expanded upon by intrepid makers (although the Voice kit drops some of its output pins by moving from the RPi Model B to the Zero).

The Voice kit lets you build your own Echo/Google Home-style device, interfacing with the Google cloud to answer questions and respond to requests. Meanwhile, the Vision kit, powered by an Intel Movidius-equipped expansion Hat, will identify objects in its camera’s view. It does all its processing on-board.

Long reserved for advanced academics, R&D labs, and supposed secretive government initiatives, AI has grown in accessibility over the past few years, thanks to hardware initiatives from Raspberry Pi, Nvidia, and others, as well as open source software like Google’s TensorFlow. Putting these easy, fun AIY kits onto the shelves of Target stores in every community makes it many steps easier to launch the career of the next machine-learning superstar.

“By working with Target we’re able to massively expand our retail to reach makers and STEM students in the US,” AIY project lead Billy Rutledge tells Make: via email. “As the maker community continues to grow and innovate, having maker products generally available at Target Stores allows more to have access to not just AIY, but other great kits to learn and experiment.”

The new version of the kits now include the Pi Zero and SD card, with a corresponding increase in price ($49 for the Voice Kit, $89 for the Vision Kit). “Based on consumer feedback, we’ve bundled the Raspberry Pi components inside the kits (previously sold separately),” Rutledge says. “So the total cost has always been the amount you see now if you add in the RPi components and SD card.”

Other retail outlets are being explored as well. And for the AIY lineup expanding, Rutledge hints, “Much more to come, we’re just getting started.”

Google Cloud Platform Products Described in 4 Words or Less

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Machine Learning  
Cloud Machine Learning Engine -- Managed ML (TensorFlow)
Cloud Job Discovery -- ML Job Search/Discovery
Cloud Natural Language -- Text Parsing and Analysis
Cloud Speech -- Convert Speech to Text
Cloud Translation -- Language Detection and Translation
Cloud Vision -- Image Recognition and Classification
Cloud Video Intelligence -- Scene-level Video Annotation

Internet of Things
Cloud IoT Core -- Data Ingestion/Device Management

Big Data
BigQuery -- Data Warehouse/Analytics
Cloud Dataflow -- Stream/batch data processing
Cloud Dataproc -- Managed Spark and Hadoop
Cloud Datalab -- Visualize and Explore Data
Cloud Dataprep -- Transform/Clean Raw Data
Cloud Pub/Sub -- Global Real-time Messaging
Genomics -- Managed Genomics Platform
Data Studio -- Collaborative Dashboards

Databases
Cloud SQL -- Managed MySQL and PostgreSQL
Cloud Bigtable -- HBase compatible nonrelational
Cloud Datastore -- Horizontally scalable nonrelational
Cloud Spanner -- Horizontally scalable relational

Storage
Cloud Storage -- Object Storage and Serving
Nearline -- Archival Storage
Coldline -- Archival Cold Storage
Persistent Disk -- VM-attached disks

Data Transfer
Google Transfer Appliance -- Hardware for Data Migration
Cloud Storage Transfer Service -- Cloud to Cloud Transfers
BigQuery Data Transfer Service -- Bulk Import Analytics Data

Compute
Compute Engine -- Virtual Machines, Disks, Network
App Engine -- Managed App Platform
Container Engine -- Managed Kubernetes/Containers
Cloud Functions -- Event-driven serverless applications

Networking
Virtual Private Cloud -- Software Defined Networking
Cloud Load Balancing -- Multi-region Load Distribution
Cloud CDN -- Content Delivery Network
Cloud DNS -- Programmable DNS Serving
Dedicated Interconnect -- Dedicated private network connection
IPsec VPN -- Virtual private network connection
Direct Peering -- Peer with GCP
Carrier Peering -- Peer with a carrier

Identity and Security
Cloud IAM -- Resource Access Control
Cloud Identity-Aware Proxy -- Identity-based App Signin
Cloud Data Loss Prevention API -- Classify, Redact Sensitive Data
Cloud Key Management Service -- Hosted Key Management Service
Cloud Resource Manager -- Cloud Project Metadata Management
Cloud Security Scanner -- App Engine Security Scanner
Security Key Enforcement -- Two-step Key Verification

Management Tools
Stackdriver Monitoring -- Infrastructure and Application Monitoring
Stackdriver Logging -- Centralized Logging
Stackdriver Error Reporting -- App Error Reporting
Stackdriver Trace -- App Performance Insights
Stackdriver Debugger -- Live Production Debugging
Cloud Deployment Manager -- Templated Infrastructure Deployment
Cloud Console -- Web-based Management Console
Cloud Shell -- Browser-based Terminal/CLI
Cloud Mobile App -- iOS/Android GCP Manager App
Cloud Billing API -- Programmatically Manage GCP Billing
Cloud APIs -- APIs for Cloud Services

Developer Tools
Cloud SDK -- CLI for GCP
Container Registry -- Private Container Registry/Storage
Container Builder -- Build/Package Container Artifacts
Cloud Source Repositories -- Hosted Private Git Repos
Cloud Tools for Android Studio -- Android Studio GCP Tools
Cloud Tools for IntelliJ -- IntelliJ GCP Tools
Cloud Tools for PowerShell -- PowerShell GCP Tools
Cloud Tools for Visual Studio -- Visual Studio GCP Tools
Cloud Tools for Eclipse -- Eclipse GCP Tools
Gradle App Engine Plugin -- Gradle App Engine Plugin
Maven App Engine Plugin -- Maven App Engine Plugin

API Platform and Ecosystems
Apigee API Platform -- Develop, secure, monitor APIs
Apigee Sense -- API protection from attacks
API Monetization -- Monetize APIs
API Analytics -- API Metrics
Cloud Endpoints -- Cloud API Gateway

Mobile (Firebase)
Realtime Database -- Real-time Data Synchronization
Cloud Firestore -- Document Store and Sync
Cloud Storage -- File Storage and Serving
Hosting -- Web Hosting with CDN/SSL
Authentication -- Drop-in Authentication
Cloud Functions -- Event-driven Serverless Applications
Test Lab for Android -- Mobile Device Testing Service
Performance Monitoring -- App Performance Monitoring
Crashlytics -- Crash Reporting and Analytics
Cloud Messaging -- Send Messages to Devices
See all Firebase products