Movidius in April 2016 announced the Fathom Neural Compute Stick, a USB thumb stick designed to make artificial intelligence capabilities more accessible to researchers, developers and makers. The plug-and-play deep learning accelerator was scheduled for launch last winter but Intel threw a monkey wrench into those plans when it purchased Movidius in September for an undisclosed sum.
With the acquisition now in the rearview, Intel is getting things back on track. On Thursday, the chipmaker launched the Movidius Neural Compute Stick which appears to be the same product as the Fathom albeit with a new name and a slightly different look.
Intel says the Myriad 2 VPU (vision processing unit) within the stick provides more than 100 gigaflops of performance while sipping just 1W of power. Remi El-Ouazzane, vice president and general manager of Movidius, says the stick is capable of running real-time deep neural networks directly and enables a range of AI applications to be deployed offline.
Not having to connect to the Internet for cloud-based processing will no doubt appeal to some as things like latency and privacy concerns are effectively removed from the equation. Best yet, if you need additional processing power, multiple sticks can be used together to increase performance.
The Movidius Neural Compute Stick is available to purchase as of writing priced at $79, down from the $99 Movidius originally planned to charge for its Fathom stick (Intel’s involvement clearly helped drive the price down a bit).