Asus Partners with Google Coral to Create On-Device AI-Equipped Development Boards

Cabe Atwell
4 months ago

At Computex 2019, Asus announced a partnership with Google Coral to create a new line of SBCs aimed at AI applications. In essence, it places Google’s Coral Edge TPU optimized for machine learning applications on Asus’ Tinker Edge T and CR1S-CM-A SBCs outfitted with NXP’s i.MX 8M SoCs. Of course, Asus and Google will continue their partnership to develop additional platforms, which will be announced later this year.

The Asus Tinker Edge T is an AI development kit aimed at students and makers, allowing them to design AI-powered projects. Under the hood, the board packs an NXP i.MX 8M quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor with an Arm Cortex-M4F real-time core, GC7000 Lite 3D GPU, as well as Google’s Edge TPU co-processor. It also offers 1Gb of LPDDR4 RAM, 8Gb of eMMC Flash, Gigabit Ethernet port, Wi-Fi 2×2 MIMO (802.11b/g/n/ac 2.4/5GHz), along with Bluetooth 4.1.

Additional features include an HDMI port, MIPI DSI connector, a pair of MIPI CSI 2 interfaces for stereoscopic cameras, 2X USB 3.0 ports, USB Type-C port, 40-pin GPIO header (I2C, PWM, UART, SPI, I2S, etc.), reset buttons, and several programmable LEDs.

There isn’t very much difference between the Tinker Edge T and Asus’ CR1S-CM-A SBC, other than the latter is geared towards the industrial applications. It retains the NXP i.MX 8M SoC, plus Google’s Coral Edge TPU, but adds PoE over a Gigabit Ethernet port, SATA interface, M.2 slot for SSDs, and a terminal block for I/Os with isolation.

According to Asus, “The ASUS CR1S-CM-A industrial SBC is an embedded form factor baseboard for the Coral SOM with Edge TPU designed for vertical use, enabling development of high-performance, low-power AI solutions for business intelligence, kiosks, signage, security and more.” There’s no word yet on pricing and availability, but we can probably expect them soon.

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