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Another day, another cool-sounding Kickstarter project. This one is titled E1: synthetic intelligence, open source.

E1 is an inexpensive open source hardware kit in the same theme as the Arduino–for bringing synthetic intelligence to electronics projects. We’ve made tremendous progress over the past year, but now we need your help to get it manufactured.



A while ago we realized even the most powerful microcontrollers are just too limited for complex machine learning tasks. At the same time, we weren’t interested in all the overhead of a processor and OS. We wanted something right in the middle, made for the task, to coordinate between our sensors, locomotion, and the user. E1 is a custom core embedded within an FPGA. It requires no PC to use or train, is thoroughly flexible, and completely open.



Here’s how it works. Attach inputs like cameras, microphones, and sensors–and output mechanics, like servos, actuators, or motors. E1 starts out in an untrained state, but can receive reward and punishment with a remote. It can also detect some set of behaviors, like facial expressions. Over time E1 not only learns what you teach it, but learns the conditions that lead to reward and punishment and so when it should reward or punish itself.



Surprisingly complex behaviors are possible with the combination of simple training and the sensory analytics done by the E1. And all of these details are handled out of your way, from signal decoding to feature detection. Tap the outputs via the header pins on the board itself, or let E1 talk to your outputs for you.

See more on the project website. (Note that the Kickstarter funding goal must be met by 9/6… good luck with that!)

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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