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.
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.
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.