There’s an intriguing new piece of hardware that makers and hobbyists may be interested. It’s called the Jetson Nano, and it is a new AI computer board developed by Nvidia that costs $99 (~R1 430).

Currently up for pre-order Stateside, the Jetson Nano is designed for developers to have a low-cost option when creating simple AI-based solutions, and indeed options up quite a few possibilities should a maker out there prove innovative enough.

The types of applications are open at the moment, but Nvidia envisions this new board to be used to assist with basic object recognition or autonomous tasks like navigation. As such it could prove a highly useful teaching tool for those interested in AI, much like Raspberry Pi boards are for tinkerers.

As mentioned earlier, the developer kit version of the Jetson Nano costs $99, with commercial companies interested in the product being able to purchase a production-ready model for $129. That version, however, requires a minimum order of 1 000 units, which means it’s aimed at institutions with large computer science or AI divisions.

Shifting back to the more maker-focused $99 flavour, it sports a quad-core ARM A57 CPU, with the graphics component taken care of by a 128-core Nvidia Maxwell GPU. It also has 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and supports up to 4K at 60fps video. The go-to operating system is Linux and connectivity is handled via Gigabit ethernet.

With the Jetson nano difficult to pre-order for local makers at the moment, we’ll have to wait and see when Nvidia’s South African distributors plan to make it available to purchase.

For now though it remains a very intriguing bit of kit.

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.