The Future of Artificial Intelligence might be Hidden in a ‘Smart’ Piece of Glass

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future of artificial intelligence in a glass

This Smart Glass could be the Future of Artificial Intelligence

The sector that is currently witnessing the biggest technological advancement in this decade is the field of artificial intelligence & machine learning. We all know that this advancement is closely related to computing. 

What if artificial intelligence could be created without the need for computers or even a power source?

Such an extraordinary innovation has come from the University of Wisconsin–Madison where the scientists have discovered a way to create an intelligent glass that can identify images without the need for circuits, sensors, or even a power source.

Machine vision is one of the most researched areas when it comes to AI & ML and multiple ways are being sought to provide a vision to machines in the future.

The smart glass has the potential to change a significant portion of the way the machine vision is designed.

The Experiment

Researchers made a sheet of smart glass that could identify the handwritten digits. They started by placing air bubbles of different shapes and sizes at certain spots within the glass. Then the light-absorbing materials such as graphene were embedded at the strategic locations.

light is scattered inside glass that is filled with air bubbles and impurities

When the team wrote down a number, the light that got reflected off the digit entered the glass on one side. The lightwaves were scattered by the impurities & bubbles in specific ways depending on the number they wrote until they reached the designated spots on the opposite side of the glass with each spot corresponding to a distinct digit.

Image Credit: newscientist.com

The glass could tell the researcher the number they wrote and that too at the speed of light without computing and using any kind of power.
The glass could also identify a changed number in real-time – for instance, 3 changed to 8 as shown in the image below

Number identified correctly (on the right side) when changed from 3 to 8

To ensure that the glass identified the number correctly, it was trained through different images of handwritten numbers presented to it. If the light failed to focus on the correct spot, the location & size of impurities were slightly adjusted. The glass eventually “learned” to bend the light to the correct location after thousands of iterations. The impurities thus act as “artificial neurons” according to Yu.
The wave dynamics of light propagation provide a new way to perform analog artificial neural computing – This could be the future of Artificial Intelligence.

The Possible Applications

  • Even though the glass cannot solve the complex measurements involved in building machine vision for autonomous cars or delivery robots, it can have smartphone security as its first application.
    Currently, the smartphone uses the built-in AI device to unlock using the face ID. The artificial Intelligence has to run a computation for completing this task consuming the battery power in the process.
    Instead of a traditional AI system, a sheet of trained smart glass, attached to the front side of the smartphone, can achieve this without the need for any battery power – The future of Artificial Intelligence might step-in as a new way to secure smartphones.
    The glass could be used potentially as a biometric lock tuned to recognize only the face of the person to whom the smartphone belongs according to Zongfu Yu. Such a system can last forever without an internet or energy source.
  • Applications that demand inexpensive ways for identifying objects with no to low energy requirements.

To Wrap Up

Even though a lot of research efforts are being put into building computer vision with a focus on computation, such innovation will have a major role to play in steering the journey of AI development.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence

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Also Read: Artificial Intelligence develops new compressible material without any experiment


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