Raspberry Pi will soon have AI capabilities, Sony announces

Sony has announced that it intends to integrate its Aitrios edge computing (on-chip) AI platform into future iterations of the Rasberry Pi.
Christopher McFadden
AI is coming to Rasperry Pi!


The highly popular Rasberry Pi will soon get artificial intelligence (AI) functions, according to an announcement from Sony. In what it has called a "strategic investment," Sony decided to bring its AI technology to a broader market.

This announcement comes hot off the heels of other news that Raspberry Pi Limited, the UK-based company and creators of the Raspberry Pi, secured an undisclosed investment from Sony Semiconductor Solutions, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation. Still, Eben Upton, the co-founder and CEO of Raspberry Pi, claimed that the company raised the same $500 million valuation it had in its $45 million funding round in 2021.

Sony plans to integrate its Aitrios edge computing (on-chip) AI platform into the Raspberry Pi, giving it image sensing and facial recognition capabilities. "Our goal is to provide new value to a variety of industries and support them in solving issues using our innovative edge AI sensing technology built around image sensors," said Terushi Shimizu, president and CEO of Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation.

"We are very pleased to be partnering with Raspberry Pi Ltd. to bring our Aitrios platform — which supports the development of unique and diverse solutions utilizing our edge AI devices — to the Raspberry Pi user and developer community, and provide a unique development experience," added Shimizu.

The latest iteration of Rasberry Pi, version 4, gives professionals and amateur electronics enthusiasts PC-like power on a compact, relatively small circuit board. While initially developed as an educational tool for robotics and coding, the Raspberry Pi has become helpful for programmers to prototype fairly sophisticated Internet of Things (IoT) and other devices.

With Sony's Aitrios included, the Raspberry Pi would become an even more potent piece of equipment. Sony has marketed the system for surveillance, security, and more. Unlike cloud AI, it runs directly on chips (edge computing) to reduce latency. Examples given on a dedicated website consist of consumer counting, license plate identification, inventory tracking and retention, and "detailed employee analysis."

According to Sony, it protects privacy by simply transferring metadata to the cloud and conducting all data analysis entirely on-chip. According to the firm, as a "longstanding and valued strategic partner," Sony has already partnered with Raspberry Pi. Recently, it gave image chips the capacity to autofocus, and in the beginning stages of the company, it assisted Raspberry Pi in starting up its UK manufacturing facility.

"This transaction will allow us to expand our partnership, bringing Sony Semiconductor Solutions' line of AI products to the Raspberry Pi ecosystem and helping our users to build exciting new machine-learning applications at the edge," the announcement added.

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