EyeCloud Preps an "Open Source Replacement" for Intel's Neural Compute Stick 2: The OpenNCC NCB

Using the same Myriad X accelerator, this square open-hardware board aims to accelerate your projects at a low power draw.

Edge AI specialist EyeCloud is preparing to launch a compact accelerator board built to act as a drop-in replacement for Intel's Neural Compute Stick 2 — but offered as an open source design, with choice of USB Type-C or FPC connectivity: the OpenNCC Neural Compute Board (NCB).

"OpenNCC NCB functions as the Intel NCS2 with a host machine," EyeCloud explains of the upcoming board design. "The Host App on the Host Machine obtains the video stream (local file, IPC, webcam, or V4L2 MIPI cam, for example) from the outside, configures the preprocessing module according to the resolution and format of the input file of the reasoning model, then sends the visual stream to the OpenNCC NCB through the OpenNCC Native SDK for reasoning and returns the reasoning results."

The NCB comes two years after the company unveiled the original OpenNCC, described at the time as "the first open AI vision appliance." While the OpenNCC combined an Intel Myriad X vision processing unit (VPU) accelerator and choice of camera sensor in a single package, however, the OpenNCC NCB is just the accelerator — and serves, the company claims, as a drop-in replacement for Intel's Neural Compute Stick 2.

Built around the same Myriad X core, the OpenNCC NCB uses a Movidius Myriad X MV2085 with 16 SHAVE vision processors alongside two neural compute accelerators offering up to 4 TOPS of compute with 1GB of on-board LPDDR4 RAM. It's enough, EyeCloud says, to drive a six-way reasoning pipeline locally and a concurrent two-way real-time pipeline. Software support, meanwhile, is included in recent releases of Intel's OpenVINO and the company pledges compatibility with Arm-based single-board computers (SBCs) including the popular Raspberry Pi family.

EyeCloud pledges that the OpenNCC NCB will be open hardware, in contrast to Intel's proprietary Neural Compute Stick family — but, at the time of writing, had only published board solder mask layouts and basic schematics under an unspecified license. Pre-built hardware, meanwhile, will be launched on Crowd Supply in the near future with USB Type-C or FPC connectivity options — though only the USB Type-C variant will support USB 3.0 speeds.

More information is available on the project's Crowd Supply page, along with a link to be notified when the campaign goes live.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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