Tokay Lite – A battery-powered no-code AI camera based on ESP32-S3 WiSoC (Crowdfunding)

Maxlab’s Tokay Lite is an OHSWA-certified AI camera based on ESP32-S3 WiFI and Bluetooth SoC that can be used for computer vision (e.g. facial recognition & detection) and robotics applications without the need to know programming languages since a web interface is used for configuration.

The WiFi and Bluetooth AI camera also features night vision with four IR LEDs, an IR cut filter, light and PIR motion sensors, a 20-pin expansion connector with SPI and UART, support for an external RTC, and can take power from USB-C or a LiPo battery.

Tokay Lite ESP32-S3 no-code AI camera

Tokay Lite specifications:

  • Wireless module ESP32-S3-WROOM-1
    • MCU – ESP32-S3 dual-core LX7 microprocessor @ up to 240 MHz with Vector extension for machine learning, 512 KB SRAM
    • Memory – 8MB PSRAM
    • Storage – 8MB SPI flash
    • Connectivity – WiFi 4 and Bluetooth 5 with LE/Mesh
    • PCB antenna
    • Certifications – FCC/CE certification
  • Camera
    • OV2640 camera sensor (replaceable) via DVP interface
    • Image Capabilities: 0.3 MP / 2 MP / 3 MP with RGB and JPEG support
    • Frame Rate: Up to 15 FPS
    • Night Vision support with four IR LEDs
  • USB – 1x USB Type-C port for power, charging, and programming
  • Sensors – Light Sensor and PIR motion sensor
  • Expansion – 20-pin header with SPI and UART interfaces
  • Misc
    • Wakeup and user buttons
    • ESP32 reset and boot buttons
    • Charging LED and user LED
    • Programmable External RTC
  • Power Supply
    • 5V via USB-C port
    • 2mm pitch JST-PH connector for LiPo battery
  • Dimensions – TBD
  • OSHWA certification – CA000029

Tokay Lite specifications

On the software side, we’re told the Tokay Lite AI camera supports TF-Lite Micro and ESP-DL, but as noted in the introduction, the company also provides no-code UI with the dashboard allowing users to configure WiFi and sensors and setup integrations with IoT and AI platforms such as AWS IoT, Edge Impulse, and ThingsBoard. The camera is open-source hardware, so you’ll find the hardware design files (KiCad) and link to firmware on GitHub, as well as documentation on Maxlab’s website.

maxlab tokay dashboard

Since ESP32-S3 is a low-cost, well-supported wireless microcontroller with vector extensions to accelerate machine learning and AI, it’s already integrated into other low-cost AI cameras, and Maxlab has provided a comparison table pitting the Tokay Lite against Espressif’s own ESP32-S3-EYE, AI Thinker ESP32-S3 camera, Arducam ESP32-S3 cam (which I can only find with ESP32), and an ESP32 camera from M5Stack.

ESP32-S3 AI cameras comparison

The Tokay Lite has recently launched on Crowd Supply and raised a paltry $178 so far.  The cost of the hardware may be the reason, as the ESP32-S3 AI camera is offered for $89 on the crowdfunding platform. Shipping further adds $8 to the US and $18 to the rest of the world with deliveries expected to start by mid-May 2024. More details may be found on the product page. As a side note, the company also offers a Pro model based on an NXP i.MX processor, and they also plan to make an ESP32-P4 RISC-V AI camera in 2024.

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