Testing Amazon’s new DeepLens camera: Can this $249 device really recognize everyday objects?

AWS DeepLens camera. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

It’s been seven months since Amazon Web Services gave the first look at DeepLens — a $249 programmable video camera that runs machine learning models for object recognition — and now the device is finally here.

The camera, which starts shipping Thursday, is meant to put Amazon’s powerful machine learning capabilities in the hands of all developers. Powered by an Intel Atom X5 processor, DeepLens can recognize faces and objects, read text and more.

On the eve of its release, GeekWire got a chance to check out the device, first announced at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last year. I made the trek down to Amazon HQ and entered a conference room in the Doppler building. The small white camera was already connected to a terminal, waiting for me to give it a shot. On a nearby table was an assortment of items — a toy boat, cat and dog stuffed animals, a wine bottle — that will come in to play later.

It’s a good looking little device. The square 4 megapixel camera sits atop a 4.5-inch tall box. On the back are ports for USB, microHDMI, speakers and a Micro SD card. It has 8 MB of memory to store models and code on the device. The device I had gets pretty hot after it’s been running for awhile, so be careful there.

It’s important to note that DeepLens is a developer-focused device. It does have some easy to use out-of-the-box applications for the everyday user, but folks with some technical skills who want to get their hands on Amazon’s machine learning capabilities will get the most enjoyment out of DeepLens. Additionally, viewing a stream of a project deployed to the device requires a micro HDMI cable and a USB connection to a keyboard and mouse.

Swami Sivasubramanian and Jyothi Nookula show me the ropes. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

My tour of DeepLens was led by Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of Amazon Machine Learning and Jyothi Nookula, senior product manager for AWS. Despite covering the technology industry, my coding experience begins and ends with dropping pictures and links into my stories, so they had their work cut out for them.

Nookula says DeepLens is meant to be usable for developers of skill levels, including ones with zero experience with machine learning. Amazon boasts that users can open the box and deploy …read more

Source:: GeekWire

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