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These projects from CMU incorporate the Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense in clever ways

Arduino TeamMay 22nd, 2023

With an array of onboard sensors, Bluetooth® Low Energy connectivity, and the ability to perform edge AI tasks thanks to its nRF52840 SoC, the Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense is a great choice for a wide variety of embedded applications. Further demonstrating this point, a group of students from the Introduction to Embedded Deep Learning course at Carnegie Mellon University have published the culmination of their studies through 10 excellent projects that each use the Tiny Machine Learning Kit and Edge Impulse ML platform.

Wrist-based human activity recognition

Traditional human activity tracking has relied on the use of smartwatches and phones to recognize certain exercises based on IMU data. However, few have achieved both continuous and low-power operation, which is why Omkar Savkur, Nicholas Toldalagi, and Kevin Xie explored training an embedded model on combined accelerometer and microphone data to distinguish between handwashing, brushing one’s teeth, and idling. Their project continuously runs inferencing on incoming data and then displays the action on both a screen and via two LEDs. 

Categorizing trash with sound

In some circumstances, such as smart cities or home recycling, knowing what types of materials are being thrown away can provide a valuable datapoint for waste management systems. Students Jacky Wang and Gordonson Yan created their project, called SBTrashCat, to recognize trash types by the sounds they make when being thrown into a bin. Currently, the model can three different kinds, along with background noise and human voices to eliminate false positives.

Distributed edge machine learning

The abundance of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has meant an explosion of computational power and the amount of data needing to be processed before it can become useful. Because a single low-cost edge device does not possess enough power on its own for some tasks, Jong-Ik Park, Chad Taylor, and Anudeep Bolimera have designed a system where each device runs its own “slice” of an embedded model in order to make better use of available resources. 

Predictive maintenance for electric motors

Motors within an industrial setting require constant smooth and efficient operation in order to ensure consistent uptime, and recognizing when one is failing often necessitates manual inspection before a problem can be discovered. By taking advantage of deep learning techniques and an IMU/camera combination, Abhishek Basrithaya and Yuyang Xu developed a project that could accurately identify motor failure at the edge. 

Estimating inventory in real-time with computer vision

Warehouses greatly rely on having up-to-date information about the locations of products, inventory counts, and incoming/outgoing items. From these constraints, Netra Trivedi, Rishi Pachipulusu, and Cathy Tungyun collaborated to gather a dataset of 221 images labeled with the percentage of space remaining on the shelf. This enables the Nano 33 BLE Sense to use an attached camera to calculate empty shelf space in real-time. 

Dog movement tracking

Fitness trackers such as the FitBit and Apple Watch have revolutionized personal health tracking, but what about our pets? Ajith Potluri, Eion Tyacke, and Parker Crain addressed this hole in the market by building a dog collar that uses the Nano’s IMU to recognize daily activities and send the results to a smartphone via Bluetooth. This means the dog’s owner has the ability to get an overview of their pet’s day-to-day activity levels across weeks or months.

Intelligent bird feeding system

Owners of backyards everywhere encounter the same problem: “How do I keep the squirrels away from a birdfeeder while also allowing birds?” Eric Wu, Harry Rosmann, and Blaine Huey worked together on a Nano 33 BLE Sense-powered system that employs a camera module to identify if the animal at the feeder is a bird or a squirrel. If it is the latter, an alarm is played from a buzzer. Otherwise, the bird’s species is determined through another model and an image is saved to an SD card for future viewing. 

Improving one’s exercise form

Exercise, while being essential to a healthy lifestyle, must also be done correctly in order to avoid accidental injuries or chronic pain later on, and maintain proper form is an easy way to facilitate this. By using both computer vision on an NVIDIA Jetson Nano and anomaly detection via an IMU on a Nano 33 BLE Sense, Addesh Bhargava, Varun Jain, and Rohan Paranjape built a project that was more accurate than typical approaches to squatting form detection. 

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