Chip Maker Movidius Unveils AI On A Stick: What Can Fathom Do?


Movidius has announced the Fathom Neural Compute Stick, which is claimed to be the first acceleration module for deep learning in the world, alongside the Fathom deep learning software framework.

The Fathom Neural Compute Stick utilizes Movidius' ultra-low power, high performance processor, the Myriad 2, allowing the device to operate neutral networks using power below 1 watt. The device not only looks like a USB stick, but it also functions as one, connecting to a USB port across a wide range of devices.

In combination with the Fathom deep learning software framework, the Fathom Neural Compute Stick will allow neural networks to be taken down from the cloud and then deployed directly into end-user devices.

Embedded in the Fathom Neural Compute Stick is Google's machine learning software named TensorFlow, which is primarily used for vision processing. The device will provide cameras, drones and robots with the ability to run computer vision applications such as image recognition by connecting it into the USB port of the devices or into a developer board that powers drones and robots.

With the device powering a drone, things the drone could do, which it wasn't able to do before, include automatically navigating towards a certain location, while also avoiding any obstacles in its path. The device could also allow cameras to begin recording after it sees a certain object, such as a street sign.

A security system can also benefit from being powered by the Fathom Neural Compute Stick, as it would be able to distinguish between humans and animals. Other applications include augmented reality, immersive video games, gesture recognition and 3D modeling and scanning.

"As a participant in the deep learning ecosystem, I have been hoping for a long time that something like Fathom would become available," said Yann LeCun, the director of artificial intelligence for Facebook, adding that through the device, all robots will now be able to feature advanced vision capabilities.

Movidius has 1,000 units of the Fathom Neural Compute Stick available, which will be sent out for free to qualified clients. A wider launch for the device is being planned for the fourth quarter, with the price of the device being targeted to be below $100.

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