Mycroft is the first ever open source artificial intelligence platform for everyone

Aug 13, 2015 | By Simon

As we continue to see how Artificial Intelligence can make our lives easier including everything from natural language processing to self-driving cars, it was only a matter of time before the technology broke out of the private domain of large companies and into the world of open source.

Aiming to put the power of Artificial Intelligence into the hands of everybody, the team behind Mycroft has just launched a Kickstarter campaign offering the world’s first open source, open hardware Artificial Intelligence platform that’s based on the Raspberry Pi 2 and Arduino development platforms.    

Because it is an open source and open hardware platform, the possibilities are nearly infinite and are only limited by the capabilities of the developers, makers and tinkerers themselves.

The system works by using natural language processing to respond to your voice and is capable of responding to many commands that are likely to be used in today’s era of online services including YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, Spotify and others.  According to the team, saying a specific command such as “Mycroft, play ‘Uptown Funk’ from YouTube on my Chromecast” is all that is needed.  

But connecting to existing online media streaming services is only a small part of what Mycroft is capable of.  Additionally, users can program it to post to their Facebook account, control a Roomba, start a 3D printer, or even control their smart home appliances such as a SmartThings hub, WeMo devices or Phillips Hue lights.  Additionally, since the platform’s core is built off of the Raspberry Pi 2 and Arduino platforms, the amount of free online tutorials and documentation for expanding the capabilities to other connected devices is seemingly limitless.  

In keeping true with the open source and open hardware ethos behind their effort, the Mycroft team are planning on releasing the professionally-designed housing files for users to modify and 3D print based on the needs of their own designs.  

Further, the team explains that the process of manufacturing molds, purchasing components, assembling units, completing software development and deploying a Cloud infrastructure isn’t likely going to be covered by the funds generated from a Kickstarter campaign anyways.  However, they still want to promote the platform and prove the viability behind their concept before they release it – and the $100K is to prove that interest in the platform exists.   

“At the end of this project, the open source world will have Mycroft’s source code and access to modify, fix, tweak, hack and re-distribute Mycroft,” explains the team.

“On the hardware side anyone will be able to 3D print an enclosure, order one from Shapeways or make one from scratch. The display board uses COTS components and can be assembled using parts from Mouser.”

Already, the team has made a “sizable investment” in the technology and plans to continue investing into the platform to make it a viable open source alternative to proprietary Artificial Intelligence.   

“Our team of engineers, designers and developers have already spent months working on Mycroft,” says the team.

“We’ve come a long way from our original voice recognition loop and are getting very accurate results from the cloud. Our AI integration is top notch and 95% of the commands Mycroft is processing are coming back with match probabilities in excess of 90%. We have gone through dozens of software and hardware Revisions and multiple 3D printed enclosures. We’ve done our best to mitigate any risk to putting Mycroft in your hands and are working to deliver exceptional hardware and software.”

Although the company has created an entry-level model that requires no tinkering or hacking to get it started for just $99, most users will likely be interested in the $249 Hardware Development kit that features more flexible options for creating a customized hardware solution.  

“No one has built a stable, useful, home AI platform before,” added the team.  

“Until recently, an AI for your home was science fiction. We believe strongly that the best approach to solving this problem is to leverage the power of the open source community.”

Thankfully, the team has recognized the added impact that hardware development can have on the platform and we can’t wait to see what people can come up with.  Currently, the company has raised just over $10K with a goal of $99K and has four weeks left to go in their Kickstarter campaign.   


Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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