Installing and running Intel Neural Compute Stick 2 (NCS2)


Well, it works:

Now that we got this off the table, let’s start at the beginning..

I don’t have and didn’t try the original Movidius stick. This post refers to the new version reviled on Nov 14 2018 just 9 days ago at the time of writing – so everything is new and unpolished and the description here may change every day (hopefully it does, clean up the problems – not so many though).

I got my NCS2 at Mouser Electronics. For some reason the description of the new stick here: New product description does not have a link to buy the product and only has a link to related product – the Movidius stick Original Version. If this is the version you want, you can get this version as long as supply lasts for $79.

If you are looking for the new NCS2 you will find it here for $99: The New Stick (NCS2)

The NCS2 comes in a small blue box, with a warning that the product can expose you to Nickel, which is known to the state of California to cause cancer..  To the best on my knowledge you need to breath nickel dust to be of any real risk. Nonetheless, one should see this warning when he buy stuff not after the stuff arrives. Probably a compromised was reached in California – “we’ll send you the product and if you are not happy you can return it…”

Inside the box there was a small, not entirely useless pamphlet that contains the standard legal stuff such as warranty and important (so it said) notification about your statutory rights that you can get from your local trading standard office and are too complicated to add a US customize page or  link that actually tells you what they are.

The  pamphlet also contains Assembly Instructions, only for illustration purpose and may not reflect the actual product. The illustrated assembly instructions can be read as: “please insert the USB Stick into a USB port on your laptop, not on a tablet”.

The two useful pieces of information are:

  1. In The EU – Do not dispose the NCS2 in household trash.  So please don’t even if you are not in the EU – it is polluting,  and besides, as mentioned in the beginning –
    it does work…
  2. There is a link to:

The above link send you to Intel’s page – so you can start with it:

So here are some facts:  Movidius was founded in 2005 and acquired Intel in Sep. 2016 and is not yet completely integrated into Intel. Link forwarding is one example. Another example is Serial# of the does not, to my best knowledge, fit the serial# format of Intel products and most importantly, the SDK has changed and not yet complete.

Movidius use it own  Neural Compute SDK (NCSDK), whereas Intel is transitioning into its OpenVINO toolkit. Read more about the transition: HERE

What it means is that at the moment:

  1. The NCS2 with OpenVINO environment does not work yet with Raspberry-PI. The original Movidius stick does using NCSDK, and it is possible that he NCS2 will also work on Raspberry-PI with the same SDK (may require some hacks) – I did not try as it as Intel is clearly transitioning out of NSCDK.
  2. Support on other system is also limited. According to the page above only Ubuntu version 16.04 desktop edition is needed.

I did not try other Linux distributions (s.a. Debian, which ubuntu is based on), but I did try ubuntu 18.04.1 and it doesn’t work. among other things it is missing libpng12-dev that was omitted after 16.04. Trying to install libpng12-dev manually did not work either.

So, I used 16.04 which I had on my laptop and installed it there. I already had OpenCV installed. I followed the steps in THIS PAGE.

I most installation step you will need to use sudo for it to work (committed from the description). In some step that involve PIP you will need to use sudo -H  (pip complains).

When running this is the first page (after licence agreement) that appears
– nothing to do just press next.

In this page click customize

Here change the path to ~/intel – it is assumed that you did that later,
but not mentioned in the instructions. The installation will still put stuff at the default location /opt/intel (which is why sudo may be needed) but the examples will be at ~/intel.

Then select options:

and you are done with Step 2.

Step 3. You don’t need to be in ~/Download, of course. When you run sudo ldconfig at the end of this step, ldconfig will complain that some files in /opt/intel … are not symbolic links.
ldconfig is right – but it worked anyway so I guess it is probably safe to ignore.

Next you need to (finally) insert the stick into a USB port.  If you look for it using lsusb it will not be identified as such (one more thing Intel needs to correct) – but it is there.
I only see it as: “Bus 001 Device 014: ID 03e7:2485”

Steps 4 and 5 are demo and test of the stick, just follow the instructions on the page,
It should work assuming you changed the path to ~/intel above, and you remember to
to use sudo -H for the command.

Note some of the builds are long and take time so be patient.
When working the stick does get noticeably warm but not to a level it cannot be touched.
I ran it overnight with no issues.