Google includes a Raspberry Pi in a DIY smart speaker kit

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Recently Google has taken a step forward and has released the Google AIY projects app on the official Play Store market.

The new AIY Voice Kit and Vision Kit will arrive at Target Stores and Target.com this month in the United States and will be available globally through retailers worldwide later in the year, Google said.

The Voice Kit allows users to build a voice-controlled smart speaker similar to Google Home while the Vision kit helps them set up a smart home camera with image recognition capabilities. With a clear use case in schools and STEM, Google is releasing updated 2018 kits that are easier to assemble and more widely available. However, the previously released kits did not include some of the required parts such as the Raspberry Pi board.

Both kits come bundled with a Raspberry Pi Zero WH board as well as an SD card with pre-installed software and USB connector cables, while the second-generation Vision Kit has an extra inclusion: a Raspberry Pi Camera v2. The VisionBonnet incorporates the Movidius MA2450, a version of Intel's Movidius Myriad 2 VPU processor.

The new AIY Voice Kit, appears to include the same Voice Bonnet HAT and Voice HAT Stereo Microphone boards. Users also now no longer need to download the software image and can get running faster.

Once put together, Vision becomes a rudimentary computer vision device, able to correctly identify objects that are placed in front of it, and Voice becomes a rudimentary smart speaker.

The search giant is now making things easier for do-it-yourselfers. The kit was sent free to MagPi subscribers, and is now available for $20.

It's unclear if there are any performance tradeoffs with the new RPi Zero WH based AIY Voice Kit compared to the earlier model, which was created to work with an Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. Compared to the Zero WH's 1GHz ARM11 with 512MB RAM, the RPI 3 provides a 1.2GHz quad -A53 SoC with 1GHz RAM. Other improvements as part of this education-focussed initiative include improved documentation and a collection of neural networks created to work with AIY kits. Companion apps for iOS and Chrome are promised to come soon. It also includes a new AIY Models area, with a collection of neural networks created to work with AIY kits.

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