Gizmosphere focuses on graphics in open-source computer

The Gizmo 2 open-source computer has an AMD x86 CPU and GPU chipset and will sell for $199

Gizmosphere's Gizmo 2 development board

Gizmosphere's Gizmo 2 development board

Open-source computers have so far lacked good graphics, but Gizmosphere's new Gizmo 2 is an exception.

The Gizmo 2 is an uncased single-board computer that will sell for US$199. The computer can be used to build robots, electronics with large screens, or interactive computer systems that can recognize gestures or images.

Hardware hackers are picking up development boards to make and test products before their final release. Such boards were made popular by Raspberry Pi, which has sold in the millions. Since then, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, IBM and others have released development hardware for wearables, robotics, mobile devices and electronics.

But most open-source development boards have just basic graphics due to power and space constraints on the hardware. Gizmo 2 has Advanced Micro Devices' Radeon graphics core, which is based on technology used in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 gaming consoles.

In addition to recognizing gestures, Gizmo 2 could handle image recognition and object detection. It may be possible to build a robot with it that can handle visual applications with cameras mimicking eyes. The board's graphics core can handle 1080p video.

The board isn't for the development of wearable devices, a company spokesman said.

Nvidia already sells a development board called Jetson TK1, which has a powerful graphics core. But Gizmo 2 is open source, and its design documents and schematics are being shared by GizmoSphere so the hardware can be easily replicated by third parties.

The Gizmo 2 stands out as one of the few development products with an AMD CPU. It needs to be slotted into a PC or mini-ITX computer, unlike its closest competitor Intel's MinnowBoard Max, which is a stand-alone board selling for as little as $139.

The development board supports Windows and Linux operating systems. Gizmosphere is also working with Microsoft and evaluating a customized version of Windows 8 for the Internet of Things, which is supported on Intel's existing Galileo board.

The Gizmo 2 measures 10.2 centimeters by 10.2 centimeters and draws a total of 9 watts of power to dissipate heat, which is lower than some of the most power-efficient 10-watt laptops.

The board has an AMD G-Series dual-core CPU with a 1GHz clock speed and a Radeon 8000 graphics core running at 300MHz. It has Gigabit Ethernet USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, HDMI output, a micro-SD card slot and PCI-Express lanes. Also embedded are UART, GPIO and other I/O ports.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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