Google’s new AIY Vision Kit Lets You Build And Hack Your Own Intelligent Pi-Powered Camera

Maker News Raspberry Pi Technology
Google’s new AIY Vision Kit Lets You Build And Hack Your Own Intelligent Pi-Powered Camera

From the success of the Google/Raspberry Pi AIY Voice Kit, sent to MagPi subscribers earlier this year, then made available for purchase at the end of the summer, the two companies have teamed up again to launch the next in the series of cardboard-bound AI kits and make advanced technology even more accessible.

The new AIY Vision Kit is a smart, hackable camera system that runs on the Raspberry Pi Zero W. It includes a custom bonnet featuring the Intel Movidius chip, designed for low-power neural network applications, processing images at 30 FPS for “near real-time performance” to recognize objects, detect facial expressions, and more according to the announcement post. Also included are the necessary electronics and housing to fully complete the kit — lens, pushbutton, speaker, and components. You’ll still need to supply the RPi Zero W, Raspberry Pi camera module, and an SD card.

The kit can be preordered for $44.99 at Microcenter, and will be available in December.

Bundled with the software image are three neural network models:

  • A model based on MobileNets that can recognize a thousand common objects.
  • A model for face detection capable of not only detecting faces in the image, but also scoring facial expressions on a “joy scale” that ranges from “sad” to “laughing.”
  • A model for the important task of discerning between cats, dogs and people.

For those of you who have your own models in mind, we’ve included the original TensorFlow code and a compiler. Take a new model you have (or train) and run it on the the Intel® Movidius™ MA2450.

Extend the kit to solve your real-world problems

The AIY Vision Kit is completely hackable:

  • Want to prototype your own product? The Vision Kit and the Raspberry Pi Zero W can fit into any number of tiny enclosures.
  • Want to change the way the camera reacts? Use the Python API to write new software to customize the RGB button colors, piezo element sounds and GPIO pins.
  • Want to add more lights, buttons, or servos? Use the 4 GPIO expansion pins to connect your own hardware.

We hope you’ll use it to solve interesting challenges, such as:

  • Build “hotdog/not hotdog” (or any other food recognizer)
  • Turn music on when someone walks through the door
  • Send a text when your car leaves the driveway
  • Open the dog door when she wants to get back in the house
Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!
Mike Senese

Mike Senese is a content producer with a focus on technology, science, and engineering. He served as Executive Editor of Make: magazine for nearly a decade, and previously was a senior editor at Wired. Mike has also starred in engineering and science shows for Discovery Channel, including Punkin Chunkin, How Stuff Works, and Catch It Keep It.

An avid maker, Mike spends his spare time tinkering with electronics, fixing cars, and attempting to cook the perfect pizza. You might spot him at his local skatepark in the SF Bay Area.

View more articles by Mike Senese


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).