MARCH 7, 2023

A Donation of 20 Tiny Machine Learning Kits from Dr. Ghattas Akkad

A Donation of 20 Tiny Machine Learning Kits from Dr. Ghattas Akkad

​Dr. Ghattas Akkad, Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Engineering, was recruited from France as one of our newest faculty members at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Balamand (UOB). He did not arrive in September 2022 empty handed, he came with a donation of 20 Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML) kits from Edge Impulse Company, a premier Machine Learning development platform. A concerted effort between Dr. Akkad and Dr. Rafic Ayoubi, Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Engineering, fostering a partnership for the best interest of our computer engineering students’ sustainable education.

What does a TinyML kit provide? The Tiny Machine Learning kit is a development platform for deploying machine-learning solutions on edge devices. It is composed of an Arduino BLE 33 sense running an ARM Cortex M4 microcontroller, a camera module, a USB cable, and a tinyML shield to connect the components. This kit helps in facilitating and accelerating the main design phases that are summoned by the following steps, which are data acquisition, feature extraction, neural network training, testing, deployment on hardware (quantization and optimization), and introduction to artificial intelligence (AI).

How does TinyML help our engineering students? Without substantial expertise in embedded machine learning, a student can create and deploy a machine learning solution utilizing the kit and the edge impulse platform. Currently, these kits are mostly used in the following titles for senior design projects in BSc Computer and Electrical Engineering.

First project is smart bird feeder. It is a project that tries to identify and categorize birds in a specific location to support environmentalists' conservation strategies and UOB's sustainability effort (SDG 14 and 15). Second project is artificial intelligence-based speech recognition and Snellen eye test. It plans to raise a portable device that conducts the Snellen eye test using neural networks and keyword spotting. It is utilized to assess a patient's vision. Third project is smart key chain. It is a study that postulates a portable gadget that can identify potholes on a road and use a GPS module to record their location. A pothole map is created by locating untreated and freshly developing potholes on a road. For a safer driving experience, the map makes it simpler for local authorities to repair the damages.

The Vice President for Internationalization and Engagement and the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Prof. Rami Abboud praised the efforts of both Dr. Akkad and Dr. Ayoubi for supporting our computer and electrical engineering students with the valuable equipment which will back them up through their senior design projects.