Making Your Own AI Gadget Just Got Easier with Google’s Updated DIY Kits

Programming just got cooler and easier thanks to Google’s AIY (Artificial Intelligence Yourself) Projects.

Ladies and gents, we’re happy to announce that AI gadgets are now more accessible than ever.

On April 16, Google launched the 2018 updated kits to their AIY Projects to bring computer science and programming to the masses. The kits’ price range starts at $50 and is available at Target. Google is also looking into making the kits available worldwide.

Billy Rutledge, Google’s Director of AIY Projects, states how the STEM audience have found the DIY kits to be great tools for the classroom. Seeing the education sector’s need, AIY Projects seeks to further help educators integrate artificial intelligence into STEM lesson plans, helping students prepare “for the challenges of the future”.

For now, AIY Projects is making the DIY kits easier to use with clearer instructions and a new app. They’ve also repackaged the kits to include more parts in the box so that buyers can immediately start.

What’s New with This Year’s Kits?

The Voice Kit and Vision Kit released last year were designed specifically for Makers so the assembly instructions were more technical. Also, the kits only included the basic parts (e.g. the trademark cardboard shell, hardware for audio or visual capture, and cables).

This year’s kits, however, now come complete with a Raspberry Pi micro-computer, a pre-provisioned SD card and a USB cable connector.

Google also introduced an Android AIY companion app that makes it easier for builders to configure their devices.

For more informational support, improved documentation is now available in the AIY website. The site has a new “AIY Models” area as well where new builders can learn more about neural networks designed to work with the kits.

Although Rutledge explains that the update is geared towards STEM learners, computer science enthusiasts are just as excited to make their own AI gadgets. With the accessibility of the kits, ease of setup, and ease in configuration, it’s not hard to imagine kids (and kids at heart) programming their little bots.

“Made By You with Google”

The AIY Projects started after Google talked to Maker community members and learned that many of them were interested in using artificial intelligence in projects. From there, Google strived to create kits that make human-to-machine interactions feel more like human-to-human interactions.

When AIY Projects first released their Voice kit, Google developers envisioned replacing physical buttons, digital displays and smartphone apps for controlling devices. The company also saw how voice recognition can be used as a simplified programming interface for robotics.

When the Vision kit was released, developers envisioned “intelligent devices that can perceive, not just see”. The kit’s Vision Bonnet featuring Intel® Movidius™ MA2450 gave Makers devices that had visual perception instead of just image sensing. The kit allows for recognition of a thousand everyday objects, face detection, facial expression recognition as well as discerning between objects (e.g. cats, dogs, people).

According to Rutledge, their team recognizes that there are other areas where their kits can be made more useful. Once again, they are calling on all the Makers for their feedback and aim to gather comments from users at the #MakerFaire events. They also look forward to working with teachers worldwide at the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference in Chicago.

Scott Logan

Scott has probably dismantled and put back thousands of gadgets in his lifetime. We’re lucky enough to have his ideas and myth-busters consistently fuelling our blogs. Scott also edits our contributors’ reviews and how-to’s.

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