The Raspberry Pi is a computer of relatively modest raw capability, but it’s limited much more by our own creativity than it is by its hardware. We’ve seen Pis be everything from video game emulators to fantastic wedding proposal aides to fruit sniffers. Sure, it’s not a powerhouse, but that’s missing the point.
After all, according to Facebook’s announcements this week ahead of the company’s F8 conference in San Jose, the freaking thing can handle Facebook’s newly open source Caffe2 AI framework – so it’ll be able to take over the world, in addition to serving as a nifty voice-activated garage door opener.
Caffe2 is significantly faster than the initial version, and it’s heavily optimized to take advantage of lighter hardware like mobile devices and Raspberry Pis. It’s got some pre-made AI models available already, if you’re of a developing bent and you’d like to tinker.
Making chatbots or simple smart-home gizmos with a Raspberry Pi and Caffe2 is all well and good, but IDG News Service’s Agam Shah warns that the real point of Caffe2 going open source is still the large-scale megadata applications like image recognition and classification.
AI on the Raspberry Pi isn’t a brand-new concept, of course – Google teased an AI announcement for the Pi back in January, and the open source Mycroft.ai project came out with a Raspberry Pi image at around the same time. But it does suggest that Pis are getting smarter and smarter.
It’s billed as a “nervous machine, afraid to drop the ball,” and if that sounds to you like something out of a quirky video game about sentient robots, you are not alone. Nevertheless, Acrophobia, as the project is called, is an extremely impressive accomplishment, mating a Raspberry Pi, some clever automation and intelligent Python code to create what’s almost an interactive art exhibit.
Acrophobia means “fear of heights,” and that’s what the installation is meant to simulate, as the system manipulates the corners of the sheet in order to keep the ball from falling off. It is oddly evocative of a worried person trying not to drop something, and interesting to watch.
Brazilian hacker Alex Rissato has apparently broken a record for overclocking the Raspberry Pi Zero, revving the little computer up to 1600MHz, according to his post on Everpi.net. Achieving this feat took a little bit more than simply changing some settings in a BIOS somewhere – Alex had to physically modify the Pi Zero to accept an outside source of core voltage, and create a powerful salt-water-based heatsink to keep the device cool.