Intel today revealed its second-generation Neural Compute Stick, a tiny, USB thumb drive-sized neural compute engine that will help makers bring computer vision and AI to Internet of Things (IoT) and edge device prototypes.
“The first-generation Intel Neural Compute Stick sparked an entire community of AI developers into action with a form factor and price that didn’t exist before,” Intel corporate vice president Naveen Rao said in a prepared statement. “We’re excited to see what the community creates next with the strong enhancement to compute power enabled with the new Intel Neural Compute Stick 2.”
The Intel Neural Compute Stick 2, or NCS 2, looks like a slightly-large USB thumb drive, something akin to the early Windows To Go drives. And it does indeed connect externally via a full-sized USB 3.0 port.
But there’s a lot more going on inside, where you’ll find the latest generation of Intel’s vision processing unit (VPU), called the Intel Movidius Myriad X VPU. Intel says this VPU “is the first to feature a neural compute engine – a dedicated hardware neural network inference accelerator delivering additional performance.”
The VPU works with Intel’s OpenVINO toolkit, which now supports more networks, making the NCS 2 more flexible for prototyping. And the firm says that developers can now port their NCS 2-based prototypes to other form factors and productize their smart camera, drone, industrial robot, or smart home device designs more quickly and easily.
Intel launched its first NCS in 2017 and has seen rapid adoption among a growing audience of tens of thousands of makers and developers. To learn more, check out the Intel Neural Compute Stick website.