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Google’s updated AIY Vision and Voice kits ship with Raspberry Pi Zero WH

Apr 17, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 1287 views

Google has launched new versions of its AIY Voice Kit ($50) and AIY Vision Kit ($90) that bundle a Raspberry Pi Zero WH SBC. Google also released an Android app for AIY Projects.

Google and Target have launched updated, and more complete, versions of Google’s AIY Projects kits for audio voice agent and visual neural network processing development that bundle a Raspberry Pi Zero WH SBC. In addition, users of Google’s existing AIY Voice Kit and AIY Vision Kit can now download an Android companion app that works with all old and new AIY kits.



Google’s 2018 versions of the AIY Voice Kit (left) and AIY Vision Kit
(click images to enlarge)

As before, the $50 Voice Kit lets you build a voice-controlled speaker, while the $90 Vision Kit lets you build a camera that learns to recognize people and objects. The kits integrate HAT boards that support Google Assistant and TensorFlow technologies, respectively.


Raspberry Pi
Zero WH

In addition to the RPi Zero W, the new kits add a USB cable and a pre-provisioned microSD card. The updated AIY Vision Kit also bundles the Raspberry Pi Camera v2.

The new kits ship with a Raspberry Pi Zero WH, which has the same 1GHz ARM11-based Broadcom BCM2836 SoC and 512MB RAM as the Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W, as well as the same Cypress CYW43438 802.11n/Bluetooth 4.0 chip found on the Zero W. The Zero WH model differs in that it adds a soldered 40-pin GPIO header for easier prototyping.


Raspberry Pi
Camera v2

The original, $45 AIY Vision Kit got by with an RPi Zero W because much of the processing was offloaded to the kit’s VisionBonnet pHAT board. The VisionBonnet incorporates the Movidius MA2450, a version of Intel’s Movidius Myriad 2 VPU processor. On the VisionBonnet, the processor runs Google’s open source TensorFlow machine intelligence library for neural networking. The chip enables visual perception processing at up to 30 frames per second.

The new Vision Kit appears to include everything in the original Kit, which offered an RGB arcade-style button, a piezo speaker, a macro/wide lens kit, and the cardboard enclosure. You also get flex cables, standoffs, a tripod mounting nut, and connecting components.

The new AIY Voice Kit, appears to include the same Voice Bonnet HAT and Voice HAT Stereo Microphone boards. Announced last May, the Voice Kit offers access to the Google Assistant SDK and Google Cloud Speech API to enable devices with voice response and AI functionality linked to Google’s search engine cloud services. The kit was sent free to MagPi subscribers, and is now available for $20. The new kit appears to include the same 4-ohm speaker, wires, micro-switch, and arcade button.



AIY Voice Kit (left) and AIY Vision Kit
(click images to enlarge)

It’s unclear if there are any performance tradeoffs with the new RPi Zero WH based AIY Voice Kit compared to the earlier model, which was designed to work with an Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. Compared to the Zero WH’s 1GHz ARM11 with 512MB RAM, the RPI 3 provides a 1.2GHz quad -A53 SoC with 1GHz RAM. The original kit also presumably works with the new RPi 3 Model B+, which bumps the clock to 1.4GHz.


Kit components of the AIY Voice Kit (left) and AIY Vision Kit
(click images to enlarge)

The new Google AIY Projects Android app streamlines wireless setup and configuration. Alternatively, you can still hook up the Raspberry Pi with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Google is also working on iOS and Chrome companion apps which will be “coming soon.”

The AIY website has been updated with improved documentation, which makes it “easier for young makers to get started and learn as they build,” says Google. The site includes a new AIY Models area, showcasing a collection of neural networks designed to work with AIY kit. In addition, developers can turn to a special AIY Projects Hackster.io site.

 
Further information

The updated AIY Voice Kit ($49.99) and AIY Vision Kit ($89.99) will be available at Target Stores and Target.com this month. Google says it is is working on a global retail distribution plan. More information may be found at Google’s AIY Projects website and kit announcement, as well as the Target.com AIY Voice Kit and AIY Vision Kit shopping pages. The new Google AIY Projects app may be found on Google Play.
 

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