AIY: Machine Learning for Everyone

Machine learning has become a hugely popular tool for everything from trading Bitcoin to working out logistics, and it can sometimes feel like the exclusive preserve of mega-corporations and organisations with big money. This isn’t the case. The whole idea behind AIY, in fact, is to democratise machine learning and bring a deeper understanding of the technology to new audiences.

Developed in conjunction with Google, AIY (Artificial Intelligence yourself) is a true do-it-yourself artificial intelligence kit, enabling tinkerers and the curious of all ages to find out how to build their own simple systems. Users can develop systems that see, speak and understand the world around them, with a near-infinite range of modulations and additions possible.

So, let’s dive into AIY and see just what makes it so unique.


The Technology

Many people might assume that to develop any kind of machine learning setup you’d need banks of humming servers, powerful computers and years of training, but this isn’t the case. The whole point of AIY is to blow apart these perceptions and show users how it’s possible to make the technology hugely accessible and enjoyable to develop.


The Vision Kit

One of the two main AIY offerings, the Vision Kit enables you to create your own intelligent camera with image recognition capabilities. The Vision Kit can see and recognise objects, and Raspberry Pi software powers the whole thing. Once built, you can connect using the AIY Projects App for Android smartphone, to setup. Alternatively, you can also connect the Vision Kit to a computer via a mini HDMI adapter.

What really powers the Vision Kit is the Raspberry Pi Zero WH, which is upclocked to 1GHz – 40-percent faster than previous iterations. The Pi Zero WH also features in-built mini HDMI and USB ports for easy connectivity. Moreover, the Vision Bonnet enables for local processing, with no need to use the cloud. Combined with the onboard Raspberry Pi Camera V2, the Vision Kit has everything a budding machine learning developer needs to build, create and innovate.


The Voice Kit

The AIY Voice Kit is a do-it-yourself intelligent speaker, which enables you to build a natural language processor and connect this with the inbuilt compatibility of Google Assistant. Again, Raspberry Pi technology is at the heart of the system, and the whole thing fits into a hand-held cardboard cube.

As with the Vision Kit, you can use either the AIY Projects App via an Android smartphone or connect the Voice Kit to a computer via a dual normal-sized and mini HDMI connection.     

The Voice Kit again features the Raspberry Pi Zero WH as its workhorse component. Additionally, Voice Bonnet enables local processing – rather than utilising the cloud. Alongside this, the Voice Kit features a micro SD card and a high-quality speaker.


What’s New?

Like any good technology, AIY is always undergoing changes, developments and improvements. Recently, AIY boosted the power of some components in its Vision and Voice kits, providing more capabilities and broadening the scope of the technology’s applications.

As we’ve mentioned above, the Raspberry Pi Zero WH is central to AIY’s kits, and this new addition adds pre-soldered header pins. What this means is that the kits are now more accessible and it’s easier to jump right into machine learning. The Raspberry Pi Camera

Module v2 is also a new addition, adding better picture quality and capabilities from the get-go.  

AIY has also added a pre-loaded OS to the micro SD included in kits, which means you have an operating system that’s ready to go when you are – just slide it in and get started.

The Android app for AIY has also undergone some changes in line with the new kits, and the AIY projects website features a raft of AIY Models for use with the Vision Kit – with others on the way soon. These are pre-built models that you can download, add to your mini SD and import into your Vision Kit to see capabilities like facial recognition, image classification and even species identification. These are quick, effective demonstrations of just what is possible with the Vision Kit and the bounty of ideas and offerings is only set to grow in the future as more capabilities are developed.


Why it’s Exciting

Machine learning is going to be one of the pre-eminent technologies as we move into the future, and it’s too powerful and too important to for the technology to stay in the hands of large corporations and businesses. It’s hugely important for as many people as possible to get their hands on the technology, understand what it does and learn how to become part of this exciting wave of technology.

It’s also vital to bring simple, understandable and fun machine learning to younger people and prepare them for a world where machine learning will be an everyday part of life. With an AIY machine learning kit, the young can explore exactly how machine learning works inside and out – enjoying themselves in the process, while also developing their knowledge and interest in the many areas around the technology. This will help provide an education for the future, where children don’t just understand what machine learning is but where they are comfortable and confident in creating their own machine learning experiments. AIY machine learning kits can provide significant boons to classroom learning, making for a fun, enlightening and fruitful exploration into a field that young people need to understand.

AIY machine learning kits make building and using artificial intelligence tools more accessible than it was in the past, putting powerful – but easy to understand – technology in the hands of everyone.


Stay Posted

We’re going to use AIY Machine Learning Kits in an event soon, so check back to see how we put the kits to use and what we managed to build.

Tags: AIY, machine learning kits, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, build, Raspberry Pi, Vision Kit, Voice Kit, Google, Android, App