Raspberry Pi Powered AI Label Maker Gets A for Effort, F for Results

AI label maker
(Image credit: 8 Bits and a Byte)

The humble Raspberry Pi single board computer (SBC) has featured in many ground-breaking tech-driven maker devices. That is rightly so, and in the decade since the Raspberry Pi was announced, the maker community has grown from strength to strength. Low power SBC such as the Raspberry Pi provide the ports and the smarts. We don't often see the light shone on DIY maker failures but, as the video below from 8 Bits and a Byte demonstrates (surfaced by Hackaday), they can be just as worthy of attention. The 8 Bits and a Byte AI Label Maker addresses a real need for some well-organized folk, is quirky and fun, and provides opportunity for us to learn about crafting useful devices moving from theory into reality.

Labelling is typically a time consuming process, but a particularly worthy activity in a tech and DIY fan's home, with all their tools, components, bits and pieces, stashed, and filed all around the house, shed and/or garage. It is also an activity which can help with everyday home organisation, which 8 Bits and a Byte, asserts "is the new hip thing." Perhaps this is the tidy influence of Marie Kondo seeping through to tech fans.

Hardware recipe

You can check out the full list of hardware supplies, and code needed to get this Ai labelling project up and running via its associated Instuctables page. In brief, the project as seen in the video features a Raspberry Pi 3B+, a Raspberry Pi camera, an Adafruit Mini Thermal Receipt Printer, and arcade button to activate the camera, and a bit of cardboard origami to house the components and make an easy to handle device. The key API running on the device is the DeepAI DenseCap API. This API analyzes images in the DeepAI cloud and sends the recognition result back as text for thermal printer output.

AI meets Murphy's Law and complicated image backgrounds

The first job for any self-respecting AI label maker is obviously to label itself. 8 Bits and a Byte found a "mirror tile array" for this purpose, which didn't get the best result, printing a label "the window is white." Not a great start, but the tiled mirror was sub-optimal.

A section of the video dubbed "Label all the things," didn't really prove the merit of this AI label maker, either. An Apple was subsequently labelled "the mans head," a cup "the windows is open," and some chocolate cookies were "a cell phone."

Is it a phone?

(Image credit: 8 Bits and a Byte)

The hit rate of the AI obviously needs some attention. We expect watchers will quickly conclude a blank neutral backdrop behind the objects 8 Bits and a Byte wished to label would have helped the AI a great deal. That might be a bit frustrating but gives some hope to label maker DIYers, thinking better results will be possible, based on the work presented in the video and in the Instructables documentation.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.