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Jetson-based dev kit excels at conversational analytics

Feb 28, 2022 — by Eric Brown 358 views

SmartCow’s Xavier NX based “Apollo Development Kit” ships with Nvidia’s Deepstream conferencing and RIVA conversational analytics SDKs. Features include a 128GB SSD, 4-MEMS mic, 2x speakers, audio I/O, mini-DP, 8MP camera, M.2, GbE, and an OLED.

We have covered several dozen carrier boards, dev kits, and edge AI systems built around Nvidia’s Jetson Xavier NX, but the Apollo Development Kit is the first we can recall that focuses primarily on audio AI. Developed by a Malta-based startup called SmartCow, this audio/visual dev kit blurs the line between a carrier board and an embedded system, as it ships with a stand and partial enclosure equipped with an OLED display. The kit is designed for AI-enhanced audio/video conferencing, public transport kiosks, and smart retail systems.

The Apollo Development Kit ships with a 128GB NVMe SSD preloaded with a Linux BSP with Nvidia’s Jetpack AI kit, Nvidia’s Deepstream SDK for collaborative video analytics, and a new Nvidia audio AI SDK called Riva. Available under an embedded early access program, which requires an NDA, Riva is designed for developing chatbots and virtual assistants.

Apollo Development Kit and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

With Riva, the Apollo kit can help automate transcription, minute taking, and summarization for meetings, as well as perform abnormal sound classification and verify speakers for security purposes. The dev kit, which ships with 6x Natural Language Processing (NLP) examples, can also analyze incoming textual data or “generate conversation and music,” says SmartCow.


The Apollo Development Kit, which was revealed on, ships with a Xavier NX module with either 8GB or 16GB LPDDR4x-1600 plus 16GB eMMC 5.1. The carrier board provides a 128GB SSD that plugs into an M.2 M-key 2280 slot. There is also an M.2 E-key 2230 slot for WiFi/BT.

The kit is equipped with GbE, USB 3.2 Gen1, USB 2.0 Type-C OTG, and mini-DP ports. An 8-megapixel camera with a Sony iMX179 CMOS sensor plugs into the MIPI-CSI-2 FPC connector. Audio features include audio input and output jacks, a 4x MEMs microphone, and dual speakers.

The Apollo provides a 40-pin header with 2x I2C, UART, and SPI, as well as a 12-pin header with UART debug, power LED, and auto power-on. There are also headers for a possibly optional fan and for the SPI-based 2.08-inch OLED screen.

The dev kit provides an RTC with coincell battery, as well as a 12VDC input jack and recovery, reset, and power switches. There are also 2x programmable buttons. With the stand and frame, the Apollo measures 125 x 81 x 69mm and has a 0 to 50°C operating range.

Apollo overview on YouTube

Further information

The Apollo Development Kit will be available in April. No pricing was listed. More information may be found on SmartCow’s product page.

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One response to “Jetson-based dev kit excels at conversational analytics”

  1. Shane says:

    I am a proponent for all AI and speech recognition, but the price of these Jetson Xavier NX boards are now ridiculous, and are truly not worth the money, especially for something like speech recognition. As a matter of fact all Android 12 devices, and above support SpeechRecognizer.createOnDeviceSpeechRecognizer(Context context);
    In other words any Android 12 supported device now supports on device speech recognition (API 31). On a Android 12 device, the users only need to download the supported languages that they want to support, and the device will perform all of the on board speech recognition for all of the languages that you downloaded onto that Android device. That Pixel 3a even supports out of its USB-C port IOIO- OTG. Still costs a fraction of this Apollo device, and Google’s on device voice recognition, is second to none.

    You can now pick up a Pixel 3a for $120, which is a fraction of the price of this Apollo device with its Jetson Xavier NX board. Don’t like Pixels, well then look at some Motorola devices that are getting Android 12. Are you a Samsung fan then look at some Samsung devices with Android 12. If the Jetson Xavier NX was more reasonable, then go for it, but since those boards are over $2000 USD. Then it’s a waste of money to purchase a Jetson Xavier NX.

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