Google Is Adding a Slice of AI to the Raspberry Pi

Google is taking a survey of the maker community and bringing its AI tools to the Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi enthusiasts will soon be able to leverage Google's AI tools for their DIY projects. (image source: The Raspberry Pi Foundation). 

Good news for makers. Google is finally lending more of its support to the DIY community.

The company recently rolled out a survey targeted at makers. “We at Google are interested in creating smart tools for makers, and want to hear from you about what would be most helpful,” the company said in a statement, also promising that it would share its survey results with the the wider community.

First on the agenda – Google will be bringing its library of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools to the popular Raspberry Pi computer. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is already encouraging Raspberry Pi users to fill out the survey. In an interview with BBC Eben Upton, founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, said, "It's fantastic to see Google getting closer to the maker community. I'm particularly excited about the prospect of connecting Raspberry Pi to some of the machine learning work coming out of Google DeepMind in London, allowing us to build smart devices that interact in the real world."

Google made big waves in the field of AI last year when it announced its AlphaGo program had bested the world's best competitors at the game of Go. Unlike older AI like Deep Blue, which are very good at guessing, AlpahGo, developed by Google DeepMind, also knows how to recognize and apply patterns.
 

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Powerful AI will surely prove to be popular among Raspberry Pi users, already well known as being a cornerstone of homebrew gadget projects ranging from robots to Internet of Things devices. Last summer, AI development firm Psibernetix, alongside researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) and the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), announced they had developed an AI capable of piloting unmanned arial vehicles and beating top human pilots in simulations. The system was capable of running on a Raspberry Pi.

Google is not the only big name looking to bring AI into the DIY community. In November 2016, IBM announced Project Intu, its own effort to bring cognitive computing capabilities, supplied by its Watson supercomputer, to Raspberry Pi users and other makers. If Google goes through with its plans it'll be part of the first wave of access to AI for DIY enthusiasts and smaller developers beyond data visualizations.

This is not the first time Google has partnered with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. In the UK the two previously worked together on the [email protected] program, which used the Raspberry Pi to teach computer science to schoolteachers.

“Google.org has supported the Raspberry Pi Foundation for the past two years in its mission to equip primary schoolchildren with affordable computers and has been impressed with their outcomes,” said Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google.org, said in a statement on the Raspberry Pi Foundation website. “Raspberry Pi is leading the charge on what it takes to teach children computational skills but perhaps more importantly how to equip teachers with much-needed subject matter expertise. We’re thrilled to support them again.”

Those interested in taking Google's survey for makers can do so here.

Are you a maker? What would be on your AI/machine learning wishlist from Google? Let us know in the comments.

Chris Wiltz is the Managing Editor of Design News.  

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