The microcomputer's official magazine is giving away free AI kits as part of a new partnership with Google. The MagPi, a monthly publication offering tips, tricks and tutorials for Raspberry Pi fans, made headlines last year when it gave away a free Raspberry Pi Zero on the cover of every copy to celebrate the device's launch. This month, the magazine is going one better, offering an AI kit with every copy to let users build their own Google voice-powered projects. As part of a freshly announced partnership with Google, dubbed AIY Projects (short for Artificial Intelligence Yourself), The MagPi is launching a new add-on board for the Raspberry Pi called the Voice HAT (Hardware Accessory on Top), allowing makers to integrate artificial intelligence and natural-language processing into their projects. "We are moving to a human interface world, where users will simply have a conversation with a device," said Google's director of AIY Projects, Billy Rutledge.
I am a heavy user of Raspberry Pis. Every year I build a massive musical lighting setup for Christmas using couple of Pis. During Halloween, I build Pi-powered talking skeletons, spooky pumpkins, and scary lights. I am using Pi to run a Retro gaming rig, and my next project includes a remote controlled car and a possible drone. You get the point, I am a heavy user of Raspberry Pi and IoT.
Although initially intended to help teach kids and adults alike the workings of a computer, the Raspberry Pi has long shed off its educational roots. The single-board computer (SBC) is now the most popular cornerstone for all sorts of DIY projects, from gaming emulators to the new Internet of Things. Jumping on that bandwagon, Google has teamed up with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to build RPi-compatible kits that will take users on a journey of AI discovery, starting with a Voice Kit. The Raspberry Pi is already being used for many AI experiments but most of those revolve around physical controls, be it keyboard or touch screen. Google says those are so 2000s, Voice is the new black, so to speak, and Google is only too happy to get you started on that path.
This is a transcript of the talk I gave at Crowd Supply's Teardown Conference. Growing up, the free toys on the covers of magazines were made of plastic. They were cheap, and cheerful. Yet the last thirty years has reduced the price of computing to the point where cheap and cheerful plastic toys have been replaced by other things. Around this time last year Google and Raspberry Pi did something rather intriguing.