Tiny Machine Learning

July 19, 2022 Shrutika
Reading Time: 4 minutes

What is Tiny Machine Learning?

Definition : Tiny machine learning (tinyML) is the nexus of embedded internet of things (IoT) devices and machine learning. The area is a developing technical subject with the potential to completely change a variety of industries.

A sub field of machine learning and embedded systems research called tinyML examines the kinds of models that could be applied to small, low-power devices like micro controllers. It enables low-latency, low-power, and low-bandwidth model inference on edge devices. Due to their low power consumption, tinyML devices may run ML applications on the edge while remaining disconnected for weeks, months, and, in some cases, even years.

Applications of TinyML:

Tiny ML successfully operates on cutting-edge hardware and provides a wide range of solutions. It can respond to audio orders and carry out operations via chemical reactions.

Examples of TinyML include Alexa and Google Assistant. The gadgets listen to your voice constantly and identify the “wake word”. Other applications that may or may not be wisely  included

1) Industries:  When used on low-powered devices, TinyML can continuously find mechanical issues. It suggests preventive maintenance based on forecasts.One such instance is the release of an Internet of Things (IoT) gadget by an Australian startup, Ping Services, which monitors wind turbines by fastening itself to the exterior of the turbine. If it detects any possible problems or malfunctions, it tells the authorities.

2) Agriculture: Farmers can use the application from TensorFlow Lite to photograph a plant and determine whether it has any illnesses. No internet connection is necessary for it to function on any device. It is essential for rural farmers and enables the preservation of agricultural interests.

3) Hospitals: A task force named Solar Scare Mosquito employs TinyML to inhibit the spread of diseases like dengue, malaria, etc. It uses solar energy, recognizes mosquito breeding environments, and alerts the water to stop mosquito breeding.

4) Aquatic Conservation: In active shipping lanes, tiny ML-powered gadgets track whales in real-time and alert users when a whales are near.

Importance of TinyML:

The difficulty of integrating an application with hardware is low due to TinyML’s ability to run on microcontroller development boards with considerable hardware abstraction. As a result, TinyML offers a wide range of applications, including those in agriculture, environmental protection, and industrial predictive maintenance. As a result, there are significant power savings and a significantly decreased demand for connectivity and bandwidth. More broadly, TinyML’s fundamental characteristics—low cost, latency, power, and data transmission requirements that apply to a range of use-cases where these characteristics are crucial given realistic or real-world limitations.

How tinyML works:

The following tactics are used by embedded tinyML algorithms to work around the severe resource limitations imposed by tinyML:

  • Only inference of a pre-trained model is deployed (which is less resource-intensive) rather than model training(which is more resource-intensive)—note that future efforts will try to incorporate a degree of training into tinyML systems as the technology develops.
  • The synapses (connections) and neurons in the neural networks that underlie tinyML models are removed to prune the networks (nodes).
  • Quantization is employed to reduce the memory required to store numerical values, for instance by translating floating-point numbers (4 bytes each) to 8-bit integers (1 byte each).
  • Knowledge distillation is used to help identify and retain only the most important features of a model.

Role of 5G in TinyML:

5G communication can play a unique role in the context of managing huge data with low latency. Everybody and everything will be connected in the new hyper connected world that 5G will bring about.

Role of Industries in TinyML:

There have been several difficulties in the design of hardware and software as well as in the areas of application as the Internet of Things has progressed from computation in the cloud to close proximity to the sensor. Some of the top software, hardware, and service vendors are working on research and development projects to make TinyML available on every IoT device.Machine learning, called “TinyML”, condenses deep neural networks to fit on little hardware. It combines intelligent machines with artificial intelligence. It has artificial intelligence and measures 45x18mm.


Voice interfaces powered by TinyML will be embedded most of the devices in the future. As for IoT devices like TVs, vehicles, coffee makers, clocks, and other consumer electronics, TinyML will open up a number of new possibilities by giving them cognitive characteristics that as of now only PCs and smart phones are claiming.

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