OpenCV to launch budget-friendly 4K spatial camera kits for AI DIYers

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OpenCV, an open source computer vision library, recently announced the crowdfunding launch of two OpenCV AI Kits (OAK-D and OAK-1). While it’s a bit unusual for a library to launch products, and on Kickstarter at that, these intriguing little gadgets could be the answer to many a DIY robot enthusiast’s prayers.

The onset of the “smart” device era has led to some fascinating DIY builds. We’ve seen modified Echo Dots host demonic versions of Alexa, and we even tried our hands at building our own virtual assistant. Back when we were stunned by DIY Alexa builds and other gadgets that could listen, computer vision was still just short of inaccessible to most enthusiasts. I’m happy to report that those days appear to be over.

Credit: OpenCV, Luxonis

Adding the robot equivalent of human sight to a gadget, complete with spatial recognition and depth perception, requires a little more oomph than your average Raspberry Pi tutorial project. You need a robust AI system and hardware capable of running it, not to mention the cameras.

OpenCV and Luxonis created the OAK boards to solve this problem. Essentially, they’re (almost) plug-and-play eyeballs for gadgets. They feature on-board AI processing so you don’t have to connect anything to the cloud and it uses USB-C for both power and data.

Credit: OpenCV, Luxonis

The kits come in two variants, a single camera “OAK-1,” which isn’t capable of true spatial recognition, and the three-camera “OAK-D” that is. Eventually they’ll retail for $199 and $299 respectively – presumably after they launch later this year.

You can get all the specs and other information on the Kickstarter page, including the discounted pricing for early-bird funders.

Keep in mind there’s always a chance that a crowdfunded gadget won’t make it to production, but the OAK boards were funded within 20 minutes of going live, and the campaign has surpassed its $20K goal by more than $300K in just three days. This is as safe a bet as you can get, especially considering the company has delivered on its past campaigns.

Check out the OpenCV website here for more information.

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on Twitter and Flipboard.

Published July 17, 2020 — 18:06 UTC

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