If you think the smart home isn't quite smart enough, Google is now offering the tools to do something about it. The Google AIY Vision Kit gives you all the pieces you'd need to build your own smart camera. It can even process advanced info on its own, without talking to the cloud. In theory, you could build a camera that can recognize different plant species, or one that distinguishes between different faces.
You can preorder the Vision Kit now for $45 (the US price converts to roughly £30 and AU$60). Expect it to ship by late December. Check out Google's blog post announcing the Vision Kit for a deeper dive into the nitty-gritty of what it offers.
The Kit is obviously aimed at developers, and it's a follow-up to the AIY Voice Kit that Google debuted in May. The Kit includes the structural pieces you'd need to build a cam, as well as circuit boards with chips capable of processing visual information. If you are looking to preorder, note that the Kit doesn't include everything you need to get started. You'll need a Raspberry Pi Zero W, among other things you'll have to purchase separately.
Earlier this week, Amazon showed off the AWS DeepLens, which is also meant to help developers explore advanced intelligence in a smart cam. The DeepLens is prebuilt, however, and costs $250, but the ideas look similar -- give the community of developers the tools to take the next steps in smart cam technology.
Commercially available smart cams are getting better at facial recognition, and a few upcoming options promise to do more -- such as distinguishing different types of actions and knowing where you are in a room. Google and Amazon might both be hoping that with the right tools, you can come up with something even better.