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Intel puts Movidius AI tech on a $79 USB stick

It brings image-based AI processing power right to your computer.

Last year, Movidius announced its Fathom Neural Compute Stick — a USB thumb drive that makes its image-based deep learning capabilities super accessible. But then in September of last year, Intel bought Movidius, delaying the expected winter rollout of Fathom. However, Intel has announced that the deep neural network processing stick is now available and going by its new name, the Movidius Neural Compute Stick. "Designed for product developers, researchers and makers, the Movidius Neural Compute Stick aims to reduce barriers to developing, tuning and deploying AI applications by delivering dedicated high-performance deep-neural network processing in a small form factor," said Intel in a statement.

The Compute Stick contains a Myriad 2 Vision Processing Unit that uses only around one watt of power. And it's the same vision processing unit used by FLIR's thermal camera cores, DJI's Phantom 4 drone as well as security cameras and VR headsets. With the Compute Stick, you can convert a trained Caffe-based neural network to run on the Myriad 2, which can be done offline. Ultimately, the device will help bring added AI computing power right to a user's laptop without them having to tap into a cloud-based system. And for those wanting even more power than what a single Compute Stick can provide, multiple sticks can be used together for added boost.

"The Myriad 2 VPU housed inside the Movidius Neural Compute Stick provides powerful, yet efficient performance – more than 100 gigaflops of performance within a 1W power envelope – to run real-time deep neural networks directly from the device," said Movidius VP Remi El-Ouazzane, "This enables a wide range of AI applications to be deployed offline."

Intel says the the Movidius Neural Compute Stick is now available from select distributors for $79.