NVIDIA’s New $99 AI Computer

As of early 2019, almost all AI development has been focused around software and most particularly social media, in the world of gadgets/robotics, onboard AI is not frequently used. This is mostly because of one simple barrier, the cost of onboard computation power required for AI is too high for most startups, this means that most of our research is never seen in the real world. However, a new $99 computer which specialises in providing the necessary power for released by Nvidia, dubbed the “Jetson Nano” was announced at the GTC (Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference).

Nvidia’s brand new $99 Jetson Nano embedded computer.

Nvidia’s brand new $99 Jetson Nano embedded computer.

The Jetson Nano is the flagship in Nvidia’s series of Jetson embedded boards. The Jetson line is aimed to accelerate the machine learning tasks such as image recognition or voice recognition carried out during operation of robotics or gadgetry without relying on cloud computing, which means that they can enjoy decreased latency and increased security. Jetson boards have been used in many things including automated drones and even ovens.

The Nano comes in a developer kit aimed at designers, researchers and enthusiasts for $99 while the more expensive kit which comes with other modules aimed at corporations sells for $129. At such a price point, Nvidia aims to open up the world of hands-on AI to most enthusiasts who don’t have the financial backing of a large corporations and hopes the Jetson Nano allows for a community of developers who want to get into AI.

The roughly 3 inch by 4 inch computer comes with 472 GFLOPs of computing power from the quad-core ARM A57 processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and a Nvidia Maxwell GPU with 128 cores. It also comes with 16GB of onboard eMMC storage and the usual range of IO ports including USB A and B, ethernet and microSD storage expansion slot.

The Jetson Nano isn’t the lone competitor in the market, similar products include Intel’s “Neural Compute Stick” selling for $79 and the $69 “Laceli AI stick” made by Gyrfalcon and Google also recently entering the market with its Coral brand, which all hope to power the next big thing made by the developer community. Only time can tell what innovations await.