This wireless AI camera runs entirely on solar power

A big trend in AI is the transition from cloud to edge computing. Instead of AI devices doing their computation remotely via an internet connection, they’re increasingly handling things locally, with algorithms working directly on-device. Benefits of this approach can include faster results, greater security, and more flexibility. But how far can you push this model?

Seattle-based startup Xnor is certainly right at the bleeding-edge. This week the company unveiled a prototype AI camera that runs entirely off solar power — no battery or external power source required. The camera has a piddling 320 x 320 resolution, an FGPA chip to handle processing, and is loaded with a state of the art object recognition algorithm.

You could, theoretically, stick a device like this anywhere outdoors and have it transmit data back to you indefinitely. It’s compatible with a few different low-energy wireless communication protocols (because Wi-Fi drains too much battery) which let it send information over tens of kilometers. And, says Xnor, if you fit it with a battery, it can store enough power during the day to keep it running during low-sunlight hours and at night.

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