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Scientists develop an exoskeleton to help amputees walk with much less effort

Daily Mail - Science & tech

An exoskeleton that lets amputees feel like they are'walking with two normal legs' has been developed by scientists using battery-powered electric motors. The powerful exoskeleton, which wraps around the wearer's waist and leg, was developed by a team of engineers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. It has been designed for above-the-knee amputees and uses battery-powered electric motors and embedded microprocessors to reduce walking effort. The 5.4lb frame is made of carbon-fibre material, plastic composites and aluminium and can walk for miles between charges, according to its creators. Those wearing it saw a 15.6 per cent reduction in their metabolic rate, equivalent to taking off a 26-pound backpack while out on a long walk, the team said.

Developing organic batteries using machine learning


Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries commonly used in electric vehicles, small appliances and electronic storage systems are rechargeable and energy-efficient. As the demand for Li-ion batteries escalates, the elements needed to create them, such as cobalt, nickel and lithium, are in short supply. Jodie Lutkenhaus, professor in the Texas A&M University Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, and Daniel Tabor, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, are using machine learning techniques to optimize polymers needed for developing metal-free, recyclable, organic batteries. The research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and in collaboration with Juan De Pablo and Stuart Rowan from the University of Chicago. With the approaching Li-ion battery shortage, metal-free batteries offer great potential. In theory, organic batteries could be locally sourced, decreasing demands on supply chains.

Startup Funding: August 2021


More than $3.5 billion in funding was funneled into 35 startups last month, much of that scattered across the globe. Several Chinese companies received significant funding as the country bulks up domestic production of wafers and GPUs. In addition, with attention increasing on the need for electric vehicles and renewable energy, big investments went into battery manufacturing startups. One company making EV batteries garnered $1.5 billion, while several other large rounds were targeted at grid-scale energy storage companies. Metax designs high-performance, reconfigurable GPUs based on its own instruction set for data center, gaming, and AI. Funds will be used for R&D, and the company recently launched a corporate research institute at Zhejiang University. Based in Shanghai, China, Metax was founded in 2020.

AI Promises Climate-Friendly Materials


To tackle climate change, scientists and advocates have called for a bevy of actions that include reducing fossil fuel use, electrifying transportation, reforming agriculture, and mopping up excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But many of these challenges will be insurmountable without behind-the-scenes breakthroughs in materials science. Today's materials lack key properties needed for scalable climate-friendly technologies. Batteries, for example, require improved materials that can yield higher energy densities and longer discharge times. Without such improvements, commercial batteries won't be able to power mass-market electric vehicles and support a renewable-powered grid.

Regularization-based Continual Learning for Fault Prediction in Lithium-Ion Batteries Artificial Intelligence

In recent years, the use of lithium-ion batteries has greatly expanded into products from many industrial sectors, e.g. cars, power tools or medical devices. An early prediction and robust understanding of battery faults could therefore greatly increase product quality in those fields. While current approaches for data-driven fault prediction provide good results on the exact processes they were trained on, they often lack the ability to flexibly adapt to changes, e.g. in operational or environmental parameters. Continual learning promises such flexibility, allowing for an automatic adaption of previously learnt knowledge to new tasks. Therefore, this article discusses different continual learning approaches from the group of regularization strategies, which are implemented, evaluated and compared based on a real battery wear dataset. Online elastic weight consolidation delivers the best results, but, as with all examined approaches, its performance appears to be strongly dependent on task characteristics and task sequence.

To measure ultra-low power AI, MLPerf gets a TinyML benchmark


The world is about to be deluged by artificial intelligence software that could be inside of a sticker stuck to a lamppost. What's called TinyML, a broad movement to write machine learning forms of AI that can run on very-low-powered devices, is now getting its own suite of benchmark tests of performance and power consumption. The test, MLPerf, is the creation of the MLCommons, an industry consortium that already issues annual benchmark evaluations of computers for the two parts of machine learning, so-called training, where a neural network is built by having its settings refined in multiple experiments; and so-called inference, where the finished neural network makes predictions as it receives new data. Those benchmark tests, however, were focused on conventional computing devices ranging from laptops to supercomputers. MLPerf Tiny Inference, as the new exam is called, focuses on the new frontier of things running on smartphones down to things that could be thin as a postage stamp, with no battery at all.

A Monotone Approximate Dynamic Programming Approach for the Stochastic Scheduling, Allocation, and Inventory Replenishment Problem: Applications to Drone and Electric Vehicle Battery Swap Stations Artificial Intelligence

There is a growing interest in using electric vehicles (EVs) and drones for many applications. However, battery-oriented issues, including range anxiety and battery degradation, impede adoption. Battery swap stations are one alternative to reduce these concerns that allow the swap of depleted for full batteries in minutes. We consider the problem of deriving actions at a battery swap station when explicitly considering the uncertain arrival of swap demand, battery degradation, and replacement. We model the operations at a battery swap station using a finite horizon Markov Decision Process model for the stochastic scheduling, allocation, and inventory replenishment problem (SAIRP), which determines when and how many batteries are charged, discharged, and replaced over time. We present theoretical proofs for the monotonicity of the value function and monotone structure of an optimal policy for special SAIRP cases. Due to the curses of dimensionality, we develop a new monotone approximate dynamic programming (ADP) method, which intelligently initializes a value function approximation using regression. In computational tests, we demonstrate the superior performance of the new regression-based monotone ADP method as compared to exact methods and other monotone ADP methods. Further, with the tests, we deduce policy insights for drone swap stations.

New machine learning method accurately predicts battery state of health


Electrical batteries are increasingly crucial in a variety of applications, from integration of intermittent energy sources with demand, to unlocking carbon-free power for the transportation sector through electric vehicles (EVs), trains and ships, to a host of advanced electronics and robotic applications. A key challenge however is that batteries degrade quickly with operating conditions. It is currently difficult to estimate battery health without interrupting the operation of the battery or without going through a lengthy procedure of charge-discharge that requires specialized equipment. In work recently published by Nature Machine Intelligence, researchers from the Smart Systems Group at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK working together with researchers from the CALCE group at the University of Maryland in the US developed a new method to estimate battery health irrespective of operating conditions and battery design or chemistry, by feeding artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms with the raw battery voltage and current operational data. Darius Roman, the Ph.D. student that designed the AI framework said: "To date, the progress of data-driven models for battery degradation relies on the development of algorithms that carry out inference faster. Whilst researchers often spend a considerable amount of time on model or algorithm development, very few people take the time to understand the engineering context in which the algorithms are applied. By contrast, our work is built from the ground up. We first understand battery degradation through collaborations with the CALCE group at the University of Maryland, where in-house degradation testing of batteries was carried out. We then concentrate on the data, where we engineer features that capture battery degradation, we select the most important features and only then we deploy the AI techniques to estimate battery health."

Now Machine Learning Helps In Interpreting Battery Life


A study carried out jointly by Stanford University, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) demonstrated the use of machine learning algorithms to understand the lifecycle of lithium-ion batteries. Until now, machine learning in battery technology was limited to identifying patterns in data to speed up scientific analysis. The latest discovery will help researchers in designing and developing longer-lasting batteries. The research team has been working to develop a long-lasting electric vehicle battery that can be charged in 10 minutes. "Battery technology is important for any type of electric powertrain. By understanding the fundamental reactions that occur within the battery we can extend its life, enable faster charging and ultimately design better battery materials. We look forward to building on this work through future experiments to achieve lower-cost, better-performing batteries," said Patrick Herring, a senior scientist of Toyota Research Institute.

Artificial Intelligence Is A Gamechanger In The Battery Boom


The biggest energy transition in history is well and truly underway, and nowhere is the shift more readily apparent than in the transport industry. Wall Street is almost unanimous that electric vehicles are the future of the industry, with EV sales already outpacing ICE sales in markets such as Norway. That kind of exponential growth can only mean one thing: Explosive demand for the metals that go into those batteries. Demand for battery metals is projected to soar as the transport industry continues to electrify at a record pace. In fact, there's a real danger that current mining technologies might struggle to keep up with the demand for battery metals in the near future. Thankfully, Artificial intelligence (AI) can not only be deployed to help improve the way these crucial elements are mined but can replace them altogether.