NVIDIA's $99 Jetson Nano is an AI computer for DIY enthusiasts

You could build your own robot without spending a fortune.

Sophisticated AI generally isn't an option for homebrew devices when the mini computers can rarely handle much more than the basics. NVIDIA thinks it can do better -- it's unveiling an entry-level AI computer, the Jetson Nano, that's aimed at "developers, makers and enthusiasts." NVIDIA claims that the Nano's 128-core Maxwell-based GPU and quad-core ARM A57 processor can deliver 472 gigaflops of processing power for neural networks, high-res sensors and other robotics features while still consuming a miserly 5W. On the surface, at least, it could hit the sweet spot if you're looking to build your own robot or smart speaker.

The kit can run Linux out of the box, and supports a raft of AI frameworks (including, of course, NVIDIA's own). It comes equipped with 4GB of RAM, gigabit Ethernet and the I/O you'd need for cameras and other attachments.

Price, unsurprisingly, is the main hook. While the Nano isn't nearly as powerful as higher-end Jetson models, it's available now at $99 for individuals and $129 for "production-ready" units destined for companies. That puts it within range of hobbyists, inventors and students who are willing to spend a bit more (but only a bit more) to create their own automated devices.