Model-predictive control (MPC) is a powerful tool for controlling highly dynamic robotic systems subject to complex constraints. However, MPC is computationally demanding, and is often impractical to implement on small, resource-constrained robotic platforms. We present TinyMPC, a high-speed MPC solver with a low memory footprint targeting the microcontrollers common on small robots. Our approach is based on the alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM) and leverages the structure of the MPC problem for efficiency. We demonstrate TinyMPC both by benchmarking against the state-of-the-art solver OSQP, achieving nearly an order of magnitude speed increase, as well as through hardware experiments on a 27 g quadrotor, demonstrating high-speed trajectory tracking and dynamic obstacle avoidance.
The high barriers to entry associated with robotics, in particular its high cost, has rendered it inaccessibility for many. In this poster we present our early efforts to begin to address these challenges through edge machine learning (ML). We show how ultra-low-cost robot and computational hardware paired with open-source software and courseware can be leveraged for hands-on education globally and the beginnings of a globally diverse research community.
This paper introduces a standard datasheet template for ML sensors and discusses its essential components inluding: the system's hardware, ML model and dataset attributes, end-to-end performance metrics, and environmental impact. We provide an example datasheet for our own ML sensor and discuss each section in detail. We highlight how these datasheets can facilitate better understanding and utilization of sensor data in ML applications, and we provide objective measures upon which system performance can be evaluated and compared.
The rise of TinyML has opened up new opportunities for the development of smart, low-power devices in resource-constrained environments. A network of 40 universities has been established over the past two years with the goal of promoting the use of TinyML in developing regions. The members of this network have taught courses at their home institutions and have completed their first research projects covering topics ranging from the diagnosis of respiratory diseases in Rwanda to assistive technology development in Brazil, bee population monitoring in Kenya and estimating the lifespan of the date palm fruit in Saudi Arabia. We suggest three policy recommendations to increase the future impact: first, training and research activities in STI should focus on regional networks; second, the ethics of artificial intelligence must be covered in all activities; and third, we need to support local champions better.
In this viewpoint we propose the ML sensor: a logical framework for developing ML-enabled embedded systems which empowers end users through its privacy-by-design approach. By limiting the data interface, the ML sensor paradigm helps ensure that no user information can be extracted beyond the scope of the sensor’s functionality. Our proposed definition is as follows: An ML sensor is a self-contained, embedded system that utilizes machine learning to process sensor data on-device – logically decoupling data computation from the main application processor and limiting the data access of the wider system to high-level ML model outputs.
The sustained growth of carbon emissions and global waste elicits significant sustainability concerns for our environment's future. The growing Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to exacerbate this issue. However, an emerging area known as Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML) has the opportunity to help address these environmental challenges through sustainable computing practices. TinyML, the deployment of machine learning (ML) algorithms onto low-cost, low-power microcontroller systems, enables on-device sensor analytics that unlocks numerous always-on ML applications. This article discusses the potential of these TinyML applications to address critical sustainability challenges. Moreover, the footprint of this emerging technology is assessed through a complete life cycle analysis of TinyML systems. From this analysis, TinyML presents opportunities to offset its carbon emissions by enabling applications that reduce the emissions of other sectors. Nevertheless, when globally scaled, the carbon footprint of TinyML systems is not negligible, necessitating that designers factor in environmental impact when formulating new devices. Finally, research directions for enabling further opportunities for TinyML to contribute to a sustainable future are outlined.
Mind the Gap: Opportunities and Challenges in the Transition Between Research and Industry is aimed at bridging the gap between academia and industry. For researchers, this workshop will help lift the curtain on the realities of academic to industry tech transfer. For industry experts, this workshop provides an opportunity to influence the direction of academic research. For both, we hope to provide an venue for integrated dialogue and identification of new potential collaborations.
As a step toward robust learning pipelines for these constrained robot platforms, we demonstrate how existing state-of-the-art imitation learning pipelines can be modified and augmented to support low-cost, limited hardware. By reducing our model’s observational space, leveraging TinyML to quantize our model, and adjusting the model outputs through post-processing, we are able to learn and deploy successful walking gaits on an 8-DoF, $299 (USD) toy quadruped robot that has reduced actuation and sensor feedback, as well as limited computing resources.
Tiny robot learning lies at the intersection of embedded systems, robotics, and ML, compounding the challenges of these domains. This paper gives a brief survey of the tiny robot learning space, elaborates on key challenges, and proposes promising opportunities for future work in ML system design.
Machine learning sensors represent a paradigm shift for the future of embedded machine learning applications. Current instantiations of embedded machine learning (ML) suffer from complex integration, lack of modularity, and privacy and security concerns from data movement. This article proposes a more data-centric paradigm for embedding sensor intelligence on edge devices to combat these challenges. Our vision for 'sensor 2.0' entails segregating sensor input data and ML processing from the wider system at the hardware level and providing a thin interface that mimics traditional sensors in functionality. This separation leads to a modular and easy-to-use ML sensor device. We discuss challenges presented by the standard approach of building ML processing into the software stack of the controlling microprocessor on an embedded system and how the modularity of ML sensors alleviates these problems. ML sensors increase privacy and accuracy while making it easier for system builders to integrate ML into their products as a simple component. We provide examples of prospective ML sensors and an illustrative datasheet as a demonstration and hope that this will build a dialogue to progress us towards sensor 2.0.
This work presents a model for a modular course, seated outside the traditional classroom, from which students and faculty can pick-and-choose the material that is relevant to their interests, doing so in a flexible way that is not obstructed by a list of prerequisite units. Guidance for maintaining accessibility, generality, and module independence accompanies a provided content map. This work culminates in a demonstration of a proof-of-concept aligned to the recommendations made along the way.
We believe that TinyML has a significant role to play in achieving the SDGs and facilitating scientific research in areas such as environmental monitoring, physics of complex systems and energy management. To broaden access and participation and increase the impact of this new technology, we present an initiative that is creating and supporting a global network of academic institutions working on TinyML in developing countries. We suggest the development of additional open educational resources, South–South academic collaboration and pilot projects of at-scale TinyML solutions aimed at addressing the SDGs.
Robots are cyber-physical systems – leveraging computational intelligence to sense and interact with the real world. As such, robotics is a very diverse, cross-disciplinary field. This introductory course exposes learners to the vast opportunities and challenges posed by the interdisciplinary nature of robotics. While grounded and focused in computation this course also explores hands-on electromechanical and ethical topics that are an integral part of a real-world robotic system. Topics will include: a survey of the algorithmic robotics pipeline (perception, mapping, localization, planning, control, and learning), an introduction to cyber-physical system design, and responsible AI. The course will culminate in a team-based final project.
[TinyMLedu](https://tinymledu.org) is working to build an international coalition of researchers and practitioners advancing TinyML in the developing world, and to develop and share high-quality, open-access educational materials globally.
In this paper, we describe our pedagogical approach to increasing access to applied ML through a four part massive open online course (MOOC) on Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML) produced in collaboration between academia (Harvard University) and industry (Google). We suggest that TinyML, ML on resource-constrained embedded devices, is an attractive means to widen access because TinyML both leverages low-cost and globally accessible hardware, and encourages the development of complete, self-contained applications, from data collection to deployment. We also released the course materials publicly, hoping they will inspire the next generation of ML practitioners and educators and further broaden access to cutting-edge ML technologies.
In this exciting Professional Certificate program offered by Harvard University and Google TensorFlow, you will learn about the emerging field of Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML), its real-world applications, and the future possibilities of this transformative technology. TinyML is a cutting-edge field that brings the transformative power of machine learning (ML) to the performance-constrained and power-constrained domain of embedded systems. The program will emphasize hands-on experience and is a collaboration between expert faculty at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and innovative members of Google’s TensorFlow team.
An introductory course on Applied AI at the intersection of Machine Learning and Embedded IoT Devices. We provide background on both topics and then dive into the unique challenges faced at that intersection point with hands-on assignments using TensorFlow, Google Colab, and Arduino.
Modern embedded systems are intelligent devices that involve complex hardware and software to perform a multitude of cognitive functions collaboratively. Designing such systems requires us to have deep understanding of the target application domains, as well as an appreciation for the coupling between the hardware and the software subsystems.This course is structured around building “systems” for Autonomous Machines (cars, drones, ground robots, manipulators, etc.). For example, we will discuss what are all the hardware and software components that are involved in developing the intelligence required for an autonomous car?
This course provides a hands-on introduction to the resources for designing and fabricating smart systems, including CAD/CAM/CAE; NC machining, 3-D printing, injection molding, laser cutting; PCB layout and fabrication; sensors and actuators; analog instrumentation; embedded digital processing; wired and wireless communications. This course also puts emphasis on learning how to use the tools as well as understand how they work. By the end of the course you will know how to make... almost anything.