Amazon Introduces 'DeepLens,' a $249 AI-Enabled Video Camera

Mitch Wagner
12/1/2017

LAS VEGAS -- AWS re:Invent -- Amazon Web Services introduced DeepLens, which it bills as the world's first wireless, "deep-learning enabled" video camera, to give developers a hands-on tool to start learning machine learning.

DeepLens is a high-definition camera, with onboard compute optimized for deep learning. The camera also sports AWS Greengrass software, which runs Lambda triggers to execute code on AWS cloud. DeepLens also comes with tutorials and prebuilt models, and integrates with SageMaker -- Amazon's new machine learning service. (See Amazon Brings Machine Learning to 'Everyday Developers'.)

Developers can go from unboxing to first inference in less than ten minutes, AWS CEO Andy Jassy said at a keynote Wednesday.

"The goal is not to build a high-definition video camera, but rather help developers learn about deep learning and machine learning," Jassy said.

Developers can use DeepLens to familiarize themselves with machine learning by building apps. For example, DeepLens can be trained to recognize a license plate in a driveway and open the garage door for the car, or send an alert when the dog climbs on the couch, Jassy said.


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The onboard deep learning framework is MXNet, but developers can also use other frameworks, such as TensorFlow and Caffe2, according to a blog post by AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr.

DeepLens includes a 4-megapixel camera that can capture 1080P video, with a 2D microphone array, Intel Atom processor for 100 GFLOPS of compute power, able to run tens of frames of incoming video through on-board deep learning models every second, Barr says. For connectivity, DeepLens has dual-band WiFi, USB and micro HDMI ports. It has 8GB memory for pre-trained models and code. For software, DeepLens runs Ubuntu 16.04 Linux, and is preloaded with the Greengrass Core, which includes Lambda runtime and message manager.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) previously introduced Clips, an AI-enabled video camera designed for consumers rather than developers. Clips captures everything, then uses AI to decide what to keep, by identifying images of interest, such as those containing the faces of people you know.

Amazon introduced a programmable version of its Dash button in May. The Dash button is a tiny device that consumers can stick up around the house to press when they want to order more laundry detergent or toilet paper. The Limited Release Programmable Dash Button is, like the name says, a programmable version of the Dash button. Like DeepLens, the programmable Dash button is essentially an educational toy to help developers familiarize themselves with emerging technology -- the Internet of Things in the case of the Dash button.

DeepLens is available t0 pre-order now, and scheduled to ship next year.

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kq4ym
kq4ym
12/12/2017 | 9:44:25 AM
Re: DeepLens
Looks like it's not available until April 2018 and $249 from Amazon. I wonder if there will be more features by that time or if Google and others man come out with some competitive gear to match features and price.
Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané
12/8/2017 | 1:36:03 AM
Re: DeepLens
Thanks, Mitch. A learning camera can be a good experimentation device. DeepLens might become a hit this holiday season. 
Michelle
Michelle
12/5/2017 | 2:03:20 PM
Re: DeepLens
Exactly! That's the first thing that came to mind when I read about it. I don't think we're ready for all the connected things invading households. There may always be security holes, but it feels like we've jumped in waaay to early.
Phil_Britt
Phil_Britt
12/5/2017 | 12:34:33 PM
Re: DeepLens
A "learning"camera can have all kinds of uses -- from enhanced archival to security. 
mhhfive
mhhfive
12/4/2017 | 7:48:12 PM
Re: DeepLens
Given how developers have even hacked the CueCat, and just about any hardware that's reasonable priced or available has been re-purposed (eg. Amazon's Dash buttons) by developers, it won't be too surprising to see DeepLens get some usage that may be a bit unexpected.

 
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
12/4/2017 | 3:49:42 PM
Re: DeepLens
It's designed for develpoers but it seems to be available to anyone to buy. 
mhhfive
mhhfive
12/4/2017 | 9:08:38 AM
Re: DeepLens
But there's an easy "hot dog not a hot dog" app that's almost built into it. Image recognition is cool, but... maybe still needs some maturity before it's ready for the mainstream?
Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané
12/4/2017 | 2:52:20 AM
Re: DeepLens
It sounds really exciting. But yes, as much I would love one for experimentation, not being a developer it would be a pricey toy.
mhhfive
mhhfive
12/3/2017 | 1:05:07 PM
Re: DeepLens
The pre-order link says its for developers, but I think if you really want one -- you could get one. It just wouldn't be "ready to use" without some nominal coding.
Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané
12/2/2017 | 5:29:57 AM
DeepLens
AI and machine learning are really evolving fast. Is this AI enabled video camera only for developers?
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