A New RISC-V-Based AI HAT for the Raspberry Pi From Seeed Studio

Towards the tail end of last year Sipeed released their 64-bit RISC V based MAix module, crowdfunding a range of boards on Indiegogo. Now…

Alasdair Allan
9 months ago

Towards the tail end of last year, Sipeed released their 64-bit RISC-V MAix module, crowdfunding a range of boards on Indiegogo. Now Seeed Studio is going to make a Grove HAT for Raspberry Pi based on the MAix.

The Sipeed MAix module is based on the Kendryte K210 processor, which has two 64-bit RISC-V CPU cores, each with a built-in independent FPU, and 8Mb of SRAM. It also has an onboard neural network processor (KPU) for supporting machine vision applications at up to 60fps for QVGA, and 30fps for VGA. Alongside this is an audio processor (APU) with support for up to 8 microphones at sampling rates up to 192KHz, with Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) hardware acceleration.

There’s actually been a lot of support work done by Kendryte around the K210, including support for FreeRTOS and TensorFlow, and the Sipeed MAix module, with MicroPython support and documentation. So it’s really rather intriguing to see Seeed Studio preparing themselves to offer it as a Raspberry Pi HAT.

The Grove HAT will be released in two versions, one based on the Sipeed MAix-I with Wi-Fi, and another version without networking. Both the boards can be used as Raspberry Pi HAT, or work independently by themselves.

Built around the Sipeed MAix module, the HAT will offer an onboard 12-bit ADC, a display interface, a camera interface, and six Grove connectors—2×digital, 1×I2C, 1×UART, and 2×analog. Power for the HAT will be via a USB-C connector. The wireless version of the HAT will use the Espressif ESP8285 to provide Wi-Fi support.

Thus far, Seeed Studio has “the basic layout” for the upcoming HAT but want to ask the community what features they would like to see before going further.

“Check out the basic layout we have so far and let us know what features you would like to see and have the chance of making it to the final product. If your idea makes it to mass production, we will send you a free sample with your name customised onto the board! These products are designed for you and the rest of the community, so it only makes sense for us to listen to what you want for your next AI project.”

So if you have an idea about what you’d like to see, you should get in touch with them, and you might bag yourself a free board and boasting rights.

UPDATE: We’ve got our first look at the board, and according to the Seeed Studio community forum the Grove AI HAT for Raspberry Pi is now scheduled to be available for pre-order in early May, “… samples of the second version in the week of April 22nd. If everything goes well, we will do pre-order in early May.”

Alasdair Allan
Scientist, author, hacker, maker, and journalist. Building, breaking, and writing. For hire. You can reach me at 📫 alasdair@babilim.co.uk.
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