Three types of processors in a small package

by Max Smolaks 13 August 2019

Miniature computing specialist Simply NUC has launched an AI development platform that measures just 4×4 inches.

The tiny PC is based on Next Unit of Computing (NUC), a line of barebone computers designed by Intel to minimize footprint and power consumption, while still maintaining all the functionality of a traditional desktop tower.

Simply NUC’s AI Dev Kit is small on size, but big on features: the box includes an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor with an integrated Iris Plus GPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and an Intel Movidius Myriad X vision processing unit (VPU) – a specialized hardware accelerator for machine vision and AI inference.

The Myriad X features 16 proprietary SHAVE cores and the all-new Neural Compute Engine, a chip designed to increase the performance of deep neural networks.

The AI Dev Kit ships with several popular software packages for machine learning, including Intel’s OpenVINO toolkit and Microsoft’s Visual Studio developer environment. Simply NUC also bundles tutorials for identifying and counting objects in video streams, and source code samples featuring several AI/ML video processing modules.

According to its creators, the machine has enough power to enable development of applications that utilize real-time image recognition. It could be used as the brain for autonomous service robots, drones, intelligent IP cameras and smart home devices.

The bundles are available for pre-order, with the cheapest kit priced at $830.95.

“We are extremely excited to feature the Intel NUC as a development engine for AI” said Aaron Rowsell, CEO of Simply NUC. “The Intel NUC continues to push the envelope with innovation and our new developer kit will fuel the growth of AI-based solutions”.

Simply NUC was established in 2015 to enable customization options for Intel’s tiny PCs. It offers customers a choice of storage, RAM, and operating systems, and some NUCs can even be equipped with Intel’s Optane persistent memory or a discrete GPU from AMD.

The company is headquartered in Round Rock, Texas, while European operations are based in Belfast, the UK.