Amazon launches DeepLens camera to give developers its AI software

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Amazon wants to make it much easier for developers to use its image recognition capabilities.

Amazon Web Services just introduced a new $249 camera with computer vision and AI-smarts baked right in. Called DeepLens, the camera is intended for developers who want to learn to build applications that leverage Amazon’s artificial intelligence technology.

The camera is available for pre-order now and will ship next year, the company says.

It’s a boxy device that’s obviously designed with the AI tech in mind rather than looks or pure specs. The 4MP camera shoots 1080p HD video and is equipped with Wi-Fi, a micro SD slot, and 8 GB of memory. 

The real reason developers will want the camera, of course, is for its AI tech. Built in are a set of pre-trained image recognition models that developers can use to create their own applications.

“These models will help you detect cats and dogs, faces, a wide array of household and everyday objects, motions and actions, and even hot dogs,” Amazon’s Jeff Barr writes in a blog post. “We will continue to train these models, making them better and better over time.”

That means a developer who wants to build an application for, say, detecting household objects, can get started without having to train a set of algorithms from scratch — a time-consuming and often expensive task.

This stands to greatly reduce the barrier to entry for developers who want to work with artificial intelligence technology but may not have the resources on their own.

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