What Are Google's AIY Kits and What Can You Do with Them?

Like other big tech companies, Google has been investing heavily in artificial intelligence. But now it's making it easier for you to jump into the AI game.

Credit: Google

(Image credit: Google)

The company on Monday (Apr. 16) unveiled new AIY kits (not to be confused with DIY) that will allow you to create either a voice controller speaker or a camera that can recognize people and objects without ever needing to buy other components. And they're already available at Target stores.

Here's a look at Google's new AIY kits and what it means for you and the budding engineer in your home:

What Are These Kits All About?

Google unveiled AIY Projects last year as a way for "makers" to buy cheap components that would allow them to create devices capable of working with artificial intelligence. Google said in its blog post that the kits are designed for students and schools that want to educate children on artificial intelligence and its broader place in the technology industry. 

How Many Kits Is Google Selling

Google announced two kits on Monday: the Voice Kit and the Vision Kit.

Credit: Google

(Image credit: Google)

The Voice Kit is an all-in-one kit that lets you create a speaker featuring support for the company's Google Assistant. The kit is made from cardboard, so it won't be the best-looking device on the shelf, but it will offer full voice assistance via Google Assistant. It has a built-in speaker, wires, and all the circuitry you need to create your speaker.

The Vision Kit is similarly reliant upon cardboard for its design but comes with a built-in "intelligent" camera that's capable of identifying objects, faces, and emotions, Google said. It's also compatible with a variety of image recognition neural networks that will let you customize what it looks for and how

What Comes with the Kits?

Unlike the kits Google launched last year, this year's AIY kits have everything you need to get the job done. The Voice Kit, for instance, has a speaker, wires, and a Raspberry Pi Zero WH. A pre-provisioned SD card is also included in the bundle.

On the Vision Kit side, you'll similarly find a Raspberry Pi Zero WH. There's also a Raspberry Pi Cam 2 and a pre-provisioned SD card.

Either way, you'll need to assemble all the components and customize the experience to get it up and running.

Google Voice Kit AIY

Is There an App?

You betcha. However, right now, there's only an Android app in Google Play. Google said that it's working on apps for iOS and Chrome and will be delivering those soon.

The app lets you wirelessly set up and configure the kit you pick. If you don't have an Android device to work with the app, you can configure the kits by plugging in a keyboard, video, and mouse and tweaking settings.

Where Can I Buy the Kits?

Google is already offering its Voice and Vision kits at Target. They're available now in stores across the U.S. Google has promised more availability internationally as time goes on.

Google Vision Kit AIY

How Much Do the AIY Kits Cost?

If you're looking to get your hands on the Google Voice Kit AIY, it'll cost you $50. The Google Vision Kit AIY costs $90.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.