$69 Orange Pi AI Stick For Neural Network Computing on the Edge

$69 Orange Pi AI Stick For Neural Network Computing on the Edge

Intel launched the Neural Compute Stick back in 2017, and now the Neural Compute Stick 2 was announced in Beijing in November this year which promises almost 20x the power of the Stick 1. Also, Intel isn’t the only one launching or building something related to AI sticks, Gyrfalcon also introduced their Laceli AI Compute Stick and now the latest member to get on this wagon is the Orange Pi AI Stick from Shenzhen Xunlong Software, the Orange Pi boards maker.

We are entering into the era of AI inference at the edge for low power consumptio. The need for developing AI-powered applications for IoT devices and similar is growing without necessarily sacrificing power or cost. Orange Pi which has been widely known for its Raspberry Pi replication boards has recently launched the Orange Pi AI Stick 2801 which is based on the Lightspeeur 2801S ASIC processor.

The built-in Lightspeeur® optical spear SPR2801AI chip allows Orange Pi AI stick to run machine learning and real-time deep learning directly on the device and just like the Intel Stick, the Orange Pi stick is geared towards image, video, voice, and natural language recognition.

Specifications for the Orange Pi AI Stick:

  • ASIC – Lightspeeur® optical spear SPR2801 AI processor with a 2-dimensional Matrix Processing Engine (MPE) with
  • Performance – AI Processing in Memory (APiM) delivering up to 2.8TOPS @ 300mW, 5.6 TOPS @ 100 MHz (peak performance)
  • Storage – eMMC flash with 68 MB/s read, 84.69 MB/s write
  • Host interface – USB 3.0 Type-A
  • Consumption – 5V @ 300mA
  • Temperature Range – working: 0 to 40°C; storage: -20 to 80°C
  • Dimensions – 66.5 mm x 20.5 mm x 10.8 mm

An SDK and user manual has been released for the Orange Pi AI Stick for x86 PC and pre-trained models with some sample cat/dog data. Planning on training your own model and data, you will get set back by an additional $149 for the PLAI model transformation and training tools. The Orange PI AI stick costs $69 alone and can be purchased from Aliexpress. The Stick plus PLAI tools costs $218 and also available for purchase on Aliexpress. PLAI stands for People Learning Artificial Intelligence and is an ecosystem of hardware and tools provided directly by Gyrfalcon, the ASIC vendor.

Below are some exciting applications for the Orange Pi AI sticks:

  • Moving edge calculation
  • Intelligent monitoring
  • Smart toys, smart homes, and robots
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality
  • Face detection and recognition
  • Speech Recognition and Natural language processing
  • Artificial intelligence data center server
  • Advanced assisted driving and autonomous driving

The stick will provide support for use with Caffe and Pytorch frameworks, but no support is available for Tensorflow currently. The device is recommended to be used with a host device running Ubuntu 16.04 with at least 2GB RAM, and 4GB flash. At 2GB RAM a lot of SBCs might fall short of using this stick.

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Hi, I'm software, a hardware guy, and a technical writer. Have had a stint with the EdTech industries, but mostly interested in the space of deploying AI for edge computing. Otherwise, I am writing or coding about some technology pieces covering IoT, GPU computing, LoraWAN, PCB, Machine Learning, Precision Agriculture, Open Electronics, and related fields. Got a tip, freebies, launch, gig or leak? Contact me on Twitter, or via email: charlesayibiowuAThotmail.com. I don't bite.

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