Raspberry Pi like Apollo Lake edge-AI SBC launches with community site

Adlink’s “Vizi-AI” dev kit for machine vision AI runs Linux, Intel OpenVino, and Adlink Edge middleware on an Apollo Lake based Adlink “LEC-AL” SMARC module running on an Adlink carrier equipped with an Intel Myriad-X VPU.

Adlink, Arrow, and Intel have teamed up on a development kit for entry-level AI industrial machine vision. The Vizi-AI Industrial Machine Vision AI Developer Kit is available on an Arrow shopping page for $199, but is currently sold out, which is sometimes another way of saying it’s on pre-order.

Developers can use the Intel Apollo Lake and Intel Myriad X equipped Vizi-AI board to connect image capture devices and then “deploy and improve machine learning models to harness insight from vision data to optimize operational decision-making,” says Adlink. The idea is that you can then move to a more robust production platform using the same software.

ViziAI board with LEC-AL module (left) and Adlink’s almost identical I-Pi board without its LEC-PX30 module
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Vizi-AI is an x86-based variation on Adlink’s Arm-based Industrial-Pi SMARC Dev Kit. The I-Pi kit was announced in February, combining Adlink’s somewhat Raspberry Pi-like Industrial-Pi (I-Pi) carrier board with a new Adlink LEX-PX30 SMARC module with a quad-core, Cortex-A35 Rockchip PX30 SoC. The I-Pi SMARC Development Kit, which also integrates an Intel Movidius Myriad X VPU, is now available for $125.

The new Vizi-AI dev kit uses a slightly modified I-Pi carrier with the same Myriad X VPU, but instead of the PX30 module, Vizi-AI taps Adlink’s Intel Apollo Lake based LEC-AL SMARC module.

I-Pi SMARC Development Kit detail view
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Shortly after it unveiled the I-Pi kit, Adlink teased (PDF) the Vizi-AI kit and a robotics kit called the Neuron-Pi, similarly said to run on an unnamed SMARC module. Vizi-AI and the ROS-enabled Neuron-Pi kit, which has yet to be fully announced, were said to be part of an AI-on-Modules (AIoM) family of products, which also includes products that provide MXM slots for AI-enabled Nvidia Quadro GPU modules. Adlink has used MXM in other products including its recently announced Matrix MVP-5100-MXM and MVP-6100-MXM edge AI computers based on Intel’s Coffee Lake platform.

The AI-on-Modules family does not include the PX30 based I-Pi kit, despite using essentially the same I-Pi board with Myriad X and a SMARC module. The I-Pi kit has its own I-Pi community site while the new Vizi-AI is backed up by a similarly maker-oriented GOTO50.ai community site which is currently focused only on the Vizi-AI. GOTO50.ai provides tech support, forums, how-to guides, and “pre-built scenarios,” says Adlink.

This split may reflect the Arm/x86 divide, as well as Vizi-AI’s use of Intel’s OpenVINO AI toolkit and the Adlink Edge edge-to-cloud middleware platform it announced last year. Neither OpenVINO nor Adlink Edge were mentioned in the I-Pi rollout.

Amazon Edge conceptual diagram (left) and VizioAI workflow
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The example shown in the ViziAI setup and configuration video farther below uses AWS with Amazon Sagemaker. Last December, Adlink announced a collaboration with Amazon to produce an Adlink AI at the Edge software solution that combines Adlink Edge with an Amazon Sagemaker-built machine learning model optimized by and deployed with Intel’s OpenVINO. The stack is designed to run on Amazon’s AWS Greengrass for local IoT processing in coordination with AWS cloud services.

Adlink AI at the Edge also includes Adlink Data River software that is said to translate between devices and applications “to enable a vendor-neutral ecosystem to work seamlessly together.” Although it’s not in the ViziAI announcement, the video below shows AWS integration with ViziAI, as well as the Adlink Data River.

Vizi-AI hardware details

The LEC-AL module used on the ViziAI board was Adlink’s first SMARC module. The 82 x 50mm short SMARC module provides a quad-core Atom x5-E3940 from the Apollo Lake generation with 4GB to 8GB LPDDR4.

LEC-AL and its block diagram
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Although the module was announced with 4GB to 8GB eMMC 5.0, there’s no mention of eMMC on the somewhat sketchy spec lists on GOTO50.ai and the Arrow shopping page. Instead, the Vizi-AI board supplies a microSD slot. The Myriad-X VPU is integrated on the carrier board, as well.

The Vizi-AI carrier provides 2x GbE ports instead of 2x 10/100 Ethernet ports on the I-Pi. On the other hand, the ViziAI has a single HDMI port while the I-Pi has two. (The second one is positioned on small acrylic plate that sits atop the I-Pi’s LEC-PX30 module.)

ViziAI (left) and detail view
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Like the I-Pi, Vizi-AI supplies a pair each of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 host ports and a micro-USB client port. There’s also a 40-pin GPIO connector, but unlike the I-Pi, there are no claims for Raspberry Pi HAT compatibility.

Other Vizi-AI features include an audio codec and stereo headphone connector. There’s also an optional, ribbon connected single-channel LVDS or eDP interface, which is not found on the I-Pi. The board has a 12V input and adapter. We saw no mention of other I-Pi features such as mic, ADC, and CAN interfaces.

The Vizi-AI runs Debian Linux 9.9 and the Adlink Edge Vision Software Stack, which includes an AI model manager, frame streamer, AWS model streamer, and training streamer. There’s also the Adlink Edge Profile builder and an Intel OpenVINO engine with a range of pre-built OpenVINO compatible machine learning models. Despite the community site, there’s no indication this is an open-spec board.

Vizi-AI overview

Further information

The ViziAI Industrial Machine Vision AI Developer Kit is available exclusively from Arrow for $199 but is currently sold out. More information may be found in Adlink’s announcement, as well as on the GOTO50.ai community site and Arrow’s shopping page.