May 062016

Let’s imagine something today. Let’s think about a tiny plug-in device which can be carried with us anywhere and be used to train advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems – or, let’s say to build a robot which is emotionally intelligent. The creation of such a device may sound impossible to a mass of people.

1461855269-Screen-Shot-2016-04-27-at-3.13.16-PM_1425_830_s_c1However, the device which we were imagining about just some seconds ago has already come into existence. Yes, chip maker Movidius has taken its step forward in a creation of a device that can be carried anywhere to train artificially intelligent systems and named the device as ‘Fathom Neural Compute Stick’, which has been dubbed as “the world’s first embedded neural network accelerator”. This device is simply a USB stick containing a deep learning processing accelerator in it.

Movidius’s Fathom Neural Compute Stick can be connected to an existing Linux machine in order to bring increment in the efficiency of neural networking tasks by 20 to 30 times. This device has the capability to perform its task at a speed of 150GigaFLOPS (Billion Floating Point Operations Per Second), at the power consumption of less than 1.2 watts.

It has been explained on Movidius website that this ‘compute stick’ containing a full-fledged Myriad 2 VPU, not only enables rapid prototyping, but also delivers high levels of neural network compute to existing devices through the use of a USB port.

This ‘compute stick’ looks like a USB device and it even does work like a USB device. It also allows almost all ranges of Linux devices to handle neural networks, which act as the basic building blocks of AI.


  • Rapid performance tuning of Embedded Neural Networks
  • Myriad 2 MA2450 VPU in compact USB stick
  • Native fp16 & 8 bit precision
  • 512MB LPDDR3 in package
  • Upto 150GOPS performance below 1W

System requirements:

  • Linux 64 bit
  • 50MB of free disk space
  • USB 3.0 for highest transfer speed

After plugging in Movidius Fathom, it allows a computer to perform different functions like image recognition, language comprehension and pattern detection. TensorFlow, Google’s machine learning software has been embedded inside this tiny USB stick. It will grant devices like drones, cameras, and robots to run computer vision applications. It can be a handy tool for people involved in development, research and invention, who are curious about the ways to make their creations even more advanced.