Embedded World 2019 Flashbacks

If you want to keep in touch with the newest trends in embedded systems, Nuremberg Embedded World is the right place for you. In order to heighten your expectations, we want to share our impressions on the latest event.

More and More Chips

This year the embedded market has undergone a serious segmentation of chip manufacturers. One of the main event threads was producing chips for the deep learning and their implementation.

For instance, Nvidia’s video chipsets and their end devices for video cameras. Qualcomm in cooperation with NXP, which is famous for the achievements in vehicle automation, also follow this trend.

Companies that specialize in producing power efficient chipsets also participated in the event. A large variety of solutions with up-to-date FPGA and DSP onboard were introduced as an alternative to the standard CPU. For example, one company, produces chips with long life period for voice recognition that are as small as a pencil point, respond to certain activation words and word phrases, and has extensive battery life.

Foggy Calculations

Teradek attracted a lot of attention with the solutions based on peripheral calculations (also known as fog computing) that make the system more stable and independent from network environment and its quality. The main principle of this approach is making all the calculations on edge devices, excluding any cloud interference, that accelerates the process as there is no delay in receiving and processing the information. This approach reduces price and improves the data transfer security. Developers are now presented with a wider range of opportunities. For instance, such type of solutions can be used for elderly care without the need to install IP cameras that send the video stream to the external end user, as all the necessary information is processed and distributed to the assigned person right here and now.

Another company that uses such type of approach is Elite Vision that produces cameras with high accuracy for manufacturing facilities. They introduced camera with in-built computation module that processes the signal and provides the user with an end result of its computation. The device can be used for counting objects, scanning QR-codes, analyzing road traffic information or in any classification processes.

Such events encourage companies working in the same sphere to start new cooperation and partnerships. In that spirit, DSR is looking for camera and server station manufacturers for joint solution development.

Weapon Detection System in Public

DSR demoed a system for detecting any weapon or another predefined object (for example, products in a store) in the hands of people in a crowd. This system recognizes people and focuses on their hands. That is its peculiar feature. This product can be used for searching for people with a weapon in their hands in a small crowd. The small, power efficient chipset guarantees a long battery life period of the device and allows it to transfer the computed data and video via different types of wireless networks. This implementation of the fogging is unique because it removes the necessity of transferring data using expensive traffic. The algorithm consists of 2 neural networks: first one is responsible for identifying the wrist; the second is in charge of recognizing the object it is holding. We created a new set of data for machine learning, taught the system to accurately analyze the data, optimized the architecture and chose the right framework.

What’s Inside

In the core of the solution is the goal to make devices with such analytical power more power efficient and available to a larger number of customers without dependency on expensive hardware. That’s why our choice for a cheap machine learning device is dragonboard 410 powered by Quad-core ARM® Cortex® A53 CPU and Qualcomm Adreno 306 GPU with WiFi, Bluetooth and 3G/4G modules. Due to differentiated Quadcore CPU and GPU the development board is capable of processing several parallel tasks locally.

In addition, the system contains an Ethernet video camera, a switch, and a display. We also utilized a high performance VGA adapter produced by Nvidia and AMD for deep machine learning. Although this hardware set up meets the system requirements, its cost is still not optimal. Similar solutions are rumored to use hardware that can heat a small apartment, especially once the price of cryptocurrency falls.

This development is deep in the middle of Computer Vision – a self-learning system that is capable of learning on examples of types of weapons and human movement patterns. We are working on evolving the solution to utilize it in the area of video surveillance and public safety.

Self-Sovereign Identity

DSR has been working in the area of Blockchain for some time now and we are honored to be involved in the development of Sovereign Identity. As a follow up on a recent Blockchain meetup we organized, we wanted to share information on revolutionary concept of Self-Sovereign Identity, a practical and real application of Blockchain technology.

Identification

Human beings face the identity issues a million times during their lifetime. Passports, diplomas, driver’s license, certificates, and so on help us prove our identity and abilities that we possess. We graduate from university and get a diploma. After passing a Microsoft exam, we get a certificate that proves our qualification. But what can happen if the society is overwhelmed with information? How can we differentiate what information can be trusted and what is falsified?

When a new account is created in a social network, the system and other users identify new account as an authorized one and begin to trust it accordingly. On one hand it’s great, but on the other hand, the system can bump into serious security issues of fake information provided by the user or a third party’s identifier. Who can we trust in this case? Leader’s opinion? The Authorities? Those who establish identities?

Personal information is considered one of the most valuable goods nowadays. Many are stealing, trading or using the information to influence and manipulate other people. So, the question is can we really trust our information to such kinds of establishments?

As a result, Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) is created to solve these exact issues and also meets all the GDPR requirements.

Self-Sovereign Identity

The main purpose of identification is to answer the question: “Who are you?” The evidence confirms the information to be true. We all know what a passport looks like. That makes it hard to forge. Self-Sovereign Identity is a new concept that provides a user with a unique independent ID. This is the way to secure your personal data according to the GDPR principals. For instance, the new digital SSI identity model stores a number of public keys and ID numbers corresponding to the concrete private data the user wants to share. The system gets rid of necessity of storing an enormous number of passwords that can be stolen, manipulated and misused.

How Exactly Do Users Control Their Data?

Good question. Let’s work it out. There is no data stored in the blockchain. We have only pseudonymous identifiers (DIDs), pseudonymous public keys, and agent addresses. This enables the exchange of any private data to happen entirely off-ledger. The user (a person or a company) that stores the private information spreads it in a number of entities that get their unique identification numbers.

For instance, user can keep the information about the passport and educational background in different entities. When the government institution needs some approval, whether the user is authorized for a particular service, it sends a request containing the unique identifier and the public key issued for this request. On the user’s behalf he/she receives the notification about the organization’s request containing another pair of key and identifier for disclosing the required information. If the user accepts it, the establishment is allowed to get the information needed and the user, if it’s valid, is granted with required permission. From the application user’s point of view he/she clicks on the button and receives a dialogue box with the accept/decline options. After it, the information shared or protected accordingly.

This truly puts the individual in charge of their personal data and gives him/her the control to choose who else has access to their information and how. Some of the progressive official institutions are trying to implement this new technology. For instance, e-governance in British Columbia, Canada.

 

10 Principles of SSI

  1. Existence — Users must exist independently.
  2. Control — Users must control their identities.
  3. Access — Users must have access to their own data.
  4. Transparency — Systems and algorithms must be transparent.
  5. Persistence — Identities must be long-lived.
  6. Portability — Information and services about identity must be transportable.
  7. Interoperability — Identities should be as widely usable as possible.
  8. Consent — Users must agree to the use of their identity.
  9. Minimization — Disclosure of claims must be minimized.
  10. Protection — The rights of users must be protected.

In short, Self-Sovereign Identity provides the best solution to the challenges of digital identification:

  • Based on the open source code and standards
  • Decentralized system (“Blockchain”)
  • Stores private data outside the public ledger
  • Selective Disclosure by default
  • Pairwise-pseudonymous identifiers
  • P2P network of distributed private agents

Our teams are working on the open source SSI version called Hyperledger Indy. We are developing a blockchain for distributed data and keys storage. We also share our experience by organizing meetups on this and related topics. One of the aims is to create a strong blockchain developers’ community in Voronezh.

Learn more about the new secure way of sharing private data | Sovrin Foundation | Evernym

World Ruled by Robots?

“What’s New in the World of Artificial Intelligence?” asked me Alexa….

Some people believe that artificial intelligence does not exist, while others watch Sci-Fi movies and devise survival plans for when robots rise against us. Artificial intelligence today is weak, meaning many of the tasks and operations being performed now are limited in scope, but that is continuing to change every day. The development of AI is building at a rapid pace and is poised to change how we interact with the world around us on a daily basis.

Recently, with the help of artificial intelligence, companies are beginning to solve individual niche issues.  For example, emails and responses can be automated in the workplace, reducing the need for human attention. Self-driving cars are operating independently and more safely, reducing the number of accidents on roads. Experts have even predicted that in 10 years self-driving cars will be a normal reality in the US, along with radical organizational and cost structure changes for transportation companies like taxi and bus services.

Social networks, neural networks, and learning algorithms… Russian search engine Yandex is currently conducting closed testing of a new social network using AI and neural networks. Access is only available by invitation of someone who already exists on the network. By tapping into AI and neural networks, you are able to find completely new friends solely on the information you have provided to the system. The algorithms are configured so that you see people based along your selected features. Interestingly, the development with the use of artificial intelligence began to appear in areas such as beauty, cosmetology, and health.

Other large companies continue to use artificial intelligence to help predict events. Mobile operators can analyze the behavior of subscribers in order to offer services that will help improve the user experience, while other applications of modern development are aimed at helping users make decisions.

Google, Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Alice, how many virtual assistants can you remember?  There are many others, but these are some of the most popular we see today. Each of these assistants can allow you to do basic searches, analyze or processes information, but the fact remains that each assistant relates back to weak AI. Just think about how many times you’ve tried to talk humanly and gotten a response that didn’t quite seem to make any sense.

So why don’t we see strong artificial intelligence?  Well, why grow an artificial tree, if you can grow the present faster and cheaper?  Perhaps humanity doesn’t need strong AI just yet.

We are going to continue to dive deeper into this subject in our next issue. In the meantime, please remember that not all robots can be correlated with artificial intelligence. If you have a floor cleaning robot at home, this does not mean that it can study neural networks, collect or process your personal data.