Nvidia Has a Cheap A.I.-Focused Computer for the Do-it-Yourself Crowd
Nvidia’s cutting-edge graphics cards used for playing video games and–increasingly–for performing artificial intelligence and machine learning tasks can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. But on Monday, CEO Jensen Huang announced a product for the “maker” market of students, hobbyists, and tinkerers with a tiny $99 computer optimized for A.I and machine learning.
Dubbed the Jetson Nano, the 3-inch by 4-inch computer includes a graphics processor from Nvidia and a standard processor based on designs from ARM. Requiring little electricity to run so it could be used with batteries, the Jetson Nano could be used to give a homemade robot the ability to visually analyze its surroundings and move about or to power video analysis software for home security video cameras.
The computer uses the same software and designs that power A.I. programs in supercomputers, Nvidia vice president Deepu Talla said at the company’s annual technology conference in San Jose. “Bringing A.I. to the maker movement opens up a whole new world of innovation, inspiring people to create the next big thing,” he said.
Nvidia didn’t update any of its mainstream graphics cards at the conference. It did announce a series of other new products, like the Jetson Nano, and some new and expanded partnerships. For instance, Amazon will begin offering its cloud server customers the ability to run their apps on Nvidia’s newer T4 Tensor Core graphics cards in addition to the other types of Nvidia cards it already offers.
Nvidia (NVDA) said it will start selling a fully operational “developer kit” version of the Jetson Nano immediately for $99. Companies that want to incorporate the computer into larger-scale projects will be able to buy them in bulk for $129 each starting in June, Nvidia said.
Consistent with the appeal to do-it-yourselfers, the Jetson Nano developer kit will be sold through several online retailers that appeal to that market. Seeed Studio, which sells $40 Raspberry Pi computers, and SparkFun Electronics, which sells its own electronics “inventors” kits among other items, will both carry the Jetson Nano, Nvidia said.
“It’s a powerful, fun and affordable platform that’s a great way to teach deep learning and robotics to a broader audience,” Chris Anderson, the CEO of drone software developer 3D Robotics, founder of DIY Drones, and former editor of Wired magazine, said in a statement.