Google has launched updated versions of its wildly successful AIY Projects Vision and AIY Voice Kits. The new kits include a Raspberry Pi Zero WH, a pre-provisioned microSD card, and – with the Vision Kit V1.2 – a Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2.
“Everything you need to get started is right there in the box,” says Billy Rutledge, Google’s Director of AIY Projects.
As mentioned, the AIY Vision Kit also comes with a Raspberry Pi Camera V2. The aim is to put everything in the box so users no longer need to buy additional parts, or download the software image.
“The updates allow Google “to continue to give makers an easy way to integrate AI in their products and creatively use AI to solve their own challenges,” explains Billy.
The aim of AIY Projects is to make it cheaper and easier to add AI processing to a project. “We knew from our research that even though makers are interested in AI, many felt that it adding it to their projects was too difficult or required expensive hardware,” says Billy.
Voice and image recognition were “the two biggest areas of interest for the community”, Billy tells us, so that’s where the AIY Projects team started. Both the AIY Vision and AIY Voice Kits have “sold out of inventory with each production run,” Billy reveals.
The new kits move away from using a Raspberry Pi 3 towards the smaller Pi Zero form factor.
As Billy explains, “we designed our first version of Voice Kit around the Raspberry Pi 3,” but many AIY builds used “the lower-cost Raspberry Pi Zero, even with some of the Google Assistant SDK features being limited for the ARM v6 instruction set.”
“We thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase the performance and flexibility of the smallest Raspberry Pi. Not to mention lower the cost of the kit,” says Billy.
The AIY Projects kits were huge hits amongst the maker community, but they also proved popular in classroom environments.
“We’re seeing continued demand for the kits,” explains Billy, “especially from the STEM audience where parents and teachers alike have found the products to be great tools for the classroom.”
The new AIY kits are on sale at US retailer Target now, which is also now stocking the Raspberry Pi itself (handy for our US readers). The new kits will be coming to the UK “this summer”, Billy tell us.
The AIY Voice Kit V2 costs $49, the AIY Vision Kit V1.2 $90; UK pricing hasn’t yet been confirmed, but we hope to have more information on pricing and availability soon.
Google is introducing a new AIY companion app for Android devices. The app aims to make wireless setup and configuration a snap.
The app will be available alongside the launch of the new kits from the Google Play store.
“Don’t worry, the kits still work with monitor, keyboard and mouse,” says Billy. So you won’t need an Android phone to run the AIY Projects kits. Google is also working on iOS and Chrome companion apps, which should be coming along soon.
The AIY website has been refreshed with improved documentation. The aim is to make it easier for young makers to get started and learn as they build.
Also new is an AIY Models area, showcasing a collection of neural networks designed to work with AIY kits.