The Raspberry Pi Pico wouldn't be the first board that comes to mind for machine learning, but it seems that the $4 may be a viable platform for machine learning projects. The Pico4ML from Arducam is an RP2040 based board with an onboard camera, screen, and microphone that looks to be the same size as the Raspberry Pi Pico.
Arducam is probably better known for its range of cameras for the Raspberry Pi and Nvidia Jetson boards, but since the release of the Raspberry Pi Pico, they have been tinkering with machine learning projects powered by the Pico. The Arducam Pico4ML is their first RP2040-based board and the first board to feature an onboard camera, a microphone that you can use for "wake word" detection, a screen, and an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that can detect gestures.
The Pico4ML is intended for machine learning and artificial intelligence projects based around Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML). The TensorFlow Lite Micro library has been ported to the RP2040, opening up a whole new world of projects for the $4 microcontroller. The Arducam Pico4ML is at its heart still a Raspberry Pi Pico, and so it should be compatible with accessories designed for the Pico.
The Pico4ML can detect two persons in real-time, and in the latest demo video, we see it in action with a real person and a Mario action figure. Pico4ML reacts with a percentage value to show how certain it is that an image is a person while providing a live camera feed of the subject in the frame.
At this time we don't know how much and when this board will be available, but we do know that Tom's Hardware will receive one for review in the next few weeks.
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Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".