Artificial intelligence is a big part of the software world today. Whether it's the iPhone using it to determine the most optimal way to charge the device to preserve the longevity of the battery, or an automated vehicle looking for pedestrians and other obstacles in the road, it seems that the technology is being used everywhere. As a software developer, particularly someone getting started, it can seem like a big and scary technology to get into, but Adafruit is trying to make it a little easier with the Adafruit BrainCraft HAT.
As with other add-ons for the Raspberry Pi, this HAT is able to sit on top of a Raspberry Pi and add new capabilities. It is best used with the Raspberry Pi 4, and Adafruit recommends the 2GB model, though Avram is demoing with the 1GB model. In the case of the BrainCraft, the capabilities are not exactly what you might expect. It doesn't add the ability to do machine learning and AI processing, but it does add the sensors and outputs that will make the process easier for developers.
The HAT has got a pair of microphones, which allows for noise cancelation, and the mic array can be used for voice and sound inputs. That input can be processed for voice commands, like with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, or for recognizing certain noises in an environment. It also has a screen that can be used as a viewfinder for computer vision recognition. Using TensorFlow Lite and existing models, you can easily recognize everyday objects, or a new model can be trained to recognize specialized items.
To use some of these features, you will need some additional hardware. For computer vision and image recognition, you will need an additional Raspberry Pi camera. If you want to be able to hear output, either from an assistant, the image recognition, or other output, you'll also need a speaker.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.