In recent years we’ve seen how companies such as Intel have explored non-traditional methods of computing by launching devices like the Intel Compute Stick, which basically puts computer components into a small USB-sized stick that can connect to displays, such as TVs, via the HDMI port.

Now it looks like Intel is hoping to do the same with AI by launching the Intel Neural Compute Stick 2. This is a USB device that can simply be plugged into a USB port and will be capable of compiling, tuning, and accelerate neural networks at the edge (edge devices are pieces of hardware that controls the data between two networks).

According to Intel, the NCS2 will be powered by the company’s latest vision processing unit, the Movidius Myriad X VPU, which apparently offers up a performance improvement of up to 8x over the first NCS.

Speaking to ZDNet, Steen Graham, GM of IoT channels & ecosystem at Intel said that they did not expect the response they did with the first model. “We’ve really had very little insight about what the demand was. A lot of people train models in the cloud, a lot of people do inference in the cloud — but deploying deep learning or AI at the edge, we didn’t know what the stage was in the deep learning community, what their interest was.”

The NCS2 is available for $99 and can be purchased from Intel’s distributors. It might not necessarily be for the masses, but hopefully what it offers can be enjoyed by the masses in the future.

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