Intel Uncovers its Neural Compute Stick 2

Joanna Estrada
November 16, 2018

The Intel Neural Compute Stick 2 (Intel NCS 2) created to build smarter AI algorithms and for prototyping computer vision at the network edge.

Much like its predecessor released in 2017, the Neural Compute Stick 2 might look like a basic USB thumb drive, but it hides Intel's Movidius Myriad X VPU, a vision processing unit created to effectively carry out computer vision and image recognition on so-called edge network devices; think devices like smart cameras and augmented reality devices.

If you are interested in delving into the world of computer vision and image recognition then the new Neural Compute Stick from Intel is something you should be aware of.

The Intel Neural Compute Stick 2, or NCS 2, looks like a slightly-large USB thumb drive, something akin to the early Windows To Go drives. (Intel didn't offer prices for local currencies and the Neural Compute Stick 2 isn't online at time of writing.) We expect the company to offer more information, such as the stick's technical specs, when the Neural Compute Stick 2 leaves the Beijing conference. In addition to routers, switches and gateways, they also include IoT devices such as smart doorbell cameras, smart medical devices, industrial robots and self-guided camera drones. The NCS 2 packs advanced Myriad X VPU that will make it easier for developers to speed up the artificial intelligence applications. Intel says this VPU "is the first to feature a neural compute engine - a dedicated hardware neural network inference accelerator delivering additional performance". Combined with the Intel Distribution of the OpenVINO toolkit supporting more networks, the Intel NCS 2 offers developers greater prototyping flexibility. Additionally, thanks to the Intel AI: In Production ecosystem, developers can now port their Intel NCS 2 prototypes to other form factors and productize their designs.

Intel acquired Movidius in 2016 to bolster its artificial intelligence efforts. You don't need any special hardware, just plug this into a USB 3.0 port and get programming.

Intel launched its first NCS in 2017 and has seen rapid adoption among a growing audience of tens of thousands of makers and developers.

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