BrainChip Opens Pre-Orders for Its Brain-Inspired Neuromorphic Akida Edge AI Box at $799

Packing a quad-core NXP i.MX 8M Plus and a two-chip Akida accelerator, the Akida Edge AI Box promises power-efficient on-device operations.

Edge artificial intelligence (AI) specialist BrainChip has opened pre-orders for its Akida Edge AI Box, built in partnership with VVDN Technologies, which provides a compact and relatively low-cost way to experiment with the Akida neuromorphic processor.

"The Akida Edge AI Box is ideally suited to provide the low latency and high throughput processing with ultra-low power consumption — a necessity for the next generation of smart edge devices," claims BrainChip chief executive officer Sean Hehir of the company's design. "We are excited to officially launch pre-orders of the Akida Edge AI Box and bring this groundbreaking technology to market to empower customers in developing and deploying intelligent, secure and customized devices and services for multi-sensor environments in real time."

The Akida Edge Box was teased back in December last year, with the promise it would be shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. While BrainChip, and its partner in the project VVDN Technologies, promised an affordable device which would unlock wider access to BrainChip's neuromorphic processor technology, pricing and specifications were not detailed — until now.

The Akida Edge Box, BrainChip has confirmed, is based around an NXP i.MX 8M Plus system-on-chip with four 64-bit Arm Cortex-A53 processors running at up to 1.8GHz and a graphics processor delivering a claimed six giga-floating-point-operations per second (GFLOPS) of compute. To this, the company has connected a dual-chip PCI Express accelerator using two of the company's Akida AKD1000 neuromorphic processors — based on the company's first Akida generation and lacking features, like temporal event-based neural nets (TENNs) and vision transformer (ViT) support, introduced in its second-generation design.

Elsewhere on the board is a USB 3.0 Type-A port and a micro-USB port for flashing and debug, a single HDMI output, 4GB of LPDDR4 memory, 32GB of eMMC storage plus micro-SDXC expansion up to 1TB, dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, and two gigabit Ethernet ports — available, the company explains, to connect an external camera, which is not included in the bundle. Everything is housed in a compact chassis which doubles as a passive heatsink, accepting a 12V DC input for power.

On the software front, BrainChip promises an operating system built around Linux 6.1 and a set of edge AI applications which will run out-of-the-box to put its Akida technology through its paces —details of which, however, it says are still being finalized with VVDN.

The Akida Edge AI Box is available to pre-order on the BrainChip shop for $799, with shipment expected "by mid-year 2024."

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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