Xnor’s AI2GO serves up custom edge AI models with a few clicks

AI would be useful for tons of everyday tasks for small businesses and other operations — if people just knew how to build and deploy their own machine learning agent. Unfortunately, few do. Edge-based AI startup Xnor.ai aims to let non-experts put state of the art AI to work as easily as they might update their website.

The company just kicked off a new platform called AI2GO that basically collects all the most common applications and hardware platforms for edge-based AI in one place and lets you download them with little or no expertise.

“Developing AI is just hard,” founder and CEO Ali Farhadi told TechCrunch. “There’s not a lot of people who can do it. And deploying to an edge device is even harder — you have to worry about power consumption, memory limits, and all that. So now you have to have both AI and systems experts.”

Good luck snagging those if you’re a small business owner who just thinks it’d be cool to know how many people are in their restaurant at any given time. Even relatively accessible, widely available frameworks like TensorFlow on which to train and deploy AI are impractical for anyone without domain expertise. AI2GO is aimed directly at these people, who are tech-savvy but can’t provide ten thousand pictures of cars or people to build a custom computer vision model for their purposes.

“Generic platforms let you train your own models, but in lots of businesses and applications you don’t need to — ther’s already a solution out there. Say you’re a parking lot owner, you want to monitor cars going in and out or something,” Ali proposed. “With AI2GO you just click the model, like car recognition, then select your hardware [e.g. the security camera chipset or Raspberry Pi 0]. Then you can turn some dials up and down and an Xnor bundle is created to respect your constraints.”

That bundle is a fully functioning edge-based AI system composed of the model or models you’ve selected, customized to meet power or memory restrictions. You install it according to the instructions (you’ll need some idea of how to build and deploy software here — this isn’t for babies) and in a few minutes …read more