Flexible Piezoelectric Acoustic Sensors for Speake..
A KAIST research team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee from the Department of Material Science and Engineering has developed a machine learning-based acoustic sensor for speaker recognition. Acoustic sensors were spotlighted as one of the most intuitive bilateral communication devices between humans and machines. However, conventional acoustic sensors use a condenser-type device for measuring capacitance between two conducting layers, resulting in low sensitivity, short recognition distance, and low speaker recognition rates. The team fabricated a flexible piezoelectric membrane by mimicking the basilar membrane in the human cochlear. Resonant frequencies vibrate corresponding regions of the trapezoidal piezoelectric membrane, which converts voice to electrical signal with a highly sensitive self-powered acoustic sensor. This multi-channel piezoelectric acoustic sensor exhibits sensitivity more than two times higher and allows for more abundant voice information compared to conventional acoustic sensors, which can detect minute sounds from farther distances. In addition, the acoustic sensor can achieve a 97.5％ speaker recognition rate using a machine learning algorithm, reducing by 75％ error rate than the reference microphone. AI speaker recognition is the next big thing for future individual customized services. However, conventional technology attempts to improve recognition rates by using software upgrades, resulting in limited speaker recognition rates. The team enhanced the speaker recognition system by replacing the existing hardware with an innovative flexible piezoelectric acoustic sensor. Further software improvement of the piezoelectric acoustic sensor will significantly increase the speaker and voice recognition rate in diverse environments. Professor Lee said, “Highly sensitive self-powered acoustic sensors for speaker recognition can be used for personalized voice services such as smart home appliances, AI secretaries, always-on IoT, biometric authentication, and FinTech.” These research “Basilar Membrane-Inspired Self-Powered Acoustic Sensor” and “Machine Learning-based Acoustic Sensor for Speaker Recognition” were published in the September 2018 issue of Nano Energy. Firgure 1: A flexible piezoelectric acoustic sensor mimicking the human cochlear. Figure 2: Speaker recognition with a machine learning algorithm.
Engineered E. coli Using Formic Acid and CO2 As a ..
(Figure: Formic acid and CO2 assimilation pathways consisting of the reconstructed THF cycle and reverse glycine cleavage reaction. This schematic diagram shows the formic acid and CO2 assimilation procedure through the pathway. Plasmids used in this study and the genetic engineering performed in this study are illustrated.) A research group at KAIST has developed an engineered E. coli strain that converts formic acid and CO2 to pyruvate and produces cellular energy from formic acid through reconstructed one-carbon pathways. The strategy described in this study provides a new platform for producing value-added chemicals from one-carbon sources. Formic acid is a carboxylic acid composed of one carbon. Formic acid was produced from CO2 by the chemical method. Recently, the C1 Gas Refinery R&D Center has successfully developed a biological process that produces formic acid from carbon monoxide for the first time. Formic acid is in a liquid state when at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. In addition, it is chemically stable and less toxic, thus, easy to store and transport. Therefore, it can be used as an alternative carbon source in the microbial fermentation process. In order to produce value-added chemicals using formic acid, a metabolic pathway that converts formic acid into cellular molecules composed of multiple carbons is required. However, a metabolic pathway that can efficiently convert formic acid into cellular molecules has not been developed. This acted as an obstacle for the production of value-added chemicals using formic acid A research group of Ph.D. student Junho Bang and Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering addressed this issue. This study, entitled “Assimilation of Formic Acid and CO2 by Engineered Escherichia coli Equipped with Reconstructed One-Carbon Assimilation Pathways”, has been published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) on September 18. There has been increasing interest in utilizing formic acid as an alternative carbon source for the production of value-added chemicals. This research reports the development of an engineered E. coli strain that can convert formic acid and CO2 to pyruvate and produce cellular energy from formic acid through the reconstructed one-carbon pathways. The metabolic pathway that efficiently converts formic acid and CO2 into pyruvate was constructed by the combined use of the tetrahydrofolate cycle and reverse glycine cleavage reaction. The tetrahydrofolate cycle was reconstructed by utilizing Methylobacterium extorquens formate-THF ligase, methenyl-THF cyclohydrolase, and methylene-THF dehydrogenase. The glycine cleavage reaction was reversed by knocking out the repressor gene (gcvR) and overexpressing the gcvTHP genes that encode enzymes related with the glycine cleavage reaction. Formic acid and CO2 conversion to pyruvate was increased via metabolic engineering of the E. coli strain equipped with the one-carbon assimilation pathway. In addition, in order to reduce glucose consumption and increase formic acid consumption, Candida boidnii formate dehydrogenase was additionally introduced to construct a cellular energy producing pathway from formic acid. This reduces glucose consumption and increases formic acid consumption. The reconstructed one-carbon pathways can supply cellular molecules and cellular energies from the formic acid and CO2. Thus, the engineered E. coli strain equipped with the formic acid and CO2 assimilation pathway and cellular energy producing pathway from formic acid showed cell growth from formic acid and CO2 without glucose. Cell growth was monitored and 13C isotope analysis was performed to confirm E. coli growth from the formic acid and CO2. It was found that the engineered E. coli strain sustained cell growth from the formic acid and CO2 without glucose. Professor Lee said, “To construct the C1-refinery system, a platform strain that can convert one-carbon materials to higher carbon materials needs to be developed. In this report, a one-carbon pathway that can efficiently convert formic acid and CO2 to pyruvate was developed and a cellular energy producing pathway from formic acid was introduced. This resulted in an engineered E. coli strain that can efficiently utilize formic acid as a carbon source while glucose consumption was reduced. The reconstructed one-carbon pathways in this research will be useful for the construction of the C1-refinery system.” This work was supported by the C1 Gas Refinery Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (NRF-2016M3D3A1A01913250). For further information: Sang Yup Lee, Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST (leesy＠kaist.ac.kr, Tel: ＋82-42-350-3930)
KAIST Perfectly Transfers Nanowires onto a Flexibl..
(from left: PhD Min-Ho Seo and Professor Jun-Bo Yoon) Boasting excellent physical and chemical properties, nanowires (NWs) are suitable for fabricating flexible electronics; therefore, technology to transfer well-aligned wires plays a crucial role in enhancing performance of the devices. A KAIST research team succeeded in developing NW-transfer technology that is expected to enhance the existing chemical reaction-based NW fabrication technology that has this far showed low performance in applicability and productivity. NWs, one of the most well-known nanomaterials, have the structural advantage of being small and lightweight. Hence, NW-transfer technology has drawn attention because it can fabricate high-performance, flexible nanodevices with high simplicity and throughput. A conventional nanowire-fabrication method generally has an irregularity issue since it mixes chemically synthesized nanowires in a solution and randomly distributes the NWs onto flexible substrates. Hence, numerous nanofabrication processes have emerged, and one of them is master-mold-based, which enables the fabrication of highly ordered NW arrays embedded onto substrates in a simple and cost-effective manner, but its employment is limited to only some materials because of its chemistry-based NW-transfer mechanism, which is complex and time consuming. For the successful transfer, it requires that adequate chemicals controlling the chemical interfacial adhesion between the master mold, NWs, and flexible substrate be present. Here, Professor Jun-Bo Yoon and his team from the School of Electrical Engineering introduced a material-independent mechanical-interlocking-based nanowire-transfer (MINT) method to fabricate ultralong and fully aligned NWs on a large flexible substrate in a highly robust manner. This method involves sequentially forming a nanosacrificial layer and NWs on a nanograting substrate that becomes the master mold for the transfer, then weakening the structure of the nanosacrificial layer through a dry etching process. The nanosacrificial layer very weakly holds the nanowires on the master mold. Therefore, when using a flexible substrate material, the nanowires are very easily transferred from the master mold to the substrate, just like a piece of tape lifting dust off a carpet. This technology uses common physical vapor deposition and does not rely on NW materials, making it easy to fabricate NWs onto the flexible substrates. Using this technology, the team was able to fabricate a variety of metal and metal-oxide NWs, including gold, platinum, and copper – all perfectly aligned on a flexible substrate. They also confirmed that it can be applied to creating stable and applicable devices in everyday life by successfully applying it to flexible heaters and gas sensors. PhD Min-Ho Seo who led this research said, “We have successfully aligned various metals and semiconductor NWs with excellent physical properties onto flexible substrates and applied them to fabricated devices. As a platform-technology, it will contribute to developing high-performing and stable electronic devices.” This research was published in ACS Nano on May 24. Figure 1. Photograph of the fabricated wafer-scale fully aligned and ultralong Au nanowire array on a flexible substrate
Spray Coated Tactile Sensor on a 3-D Surface for R..
Robots will be able to conduct a wide variety of tasks as well as humans if they can be given tactile sensing capabilities. A KAIST research team has reported a stretchable pressure insensitive strain sensor by using an all solution-based process. The solution-based process is easily scalable to accommodate for large areas and can be coated as a thin-film on 3-dimensional irregularly shaped objects via spray coating. These conditions make their processing technique unique and highly suitable for robotic electronic skin or wearable electronic applications. The making of electronic skin to mimic the tactile sensing properties of human skin is an active area of research for various applications such as wearable electronics, robotics, and prosthetics. One of the major challenges in electronic skin research is differentiating various external stimuli, particularly between strain and pressure. Another issue is uniformly depositing electrical skin on 3-dimensional irregularly shaped objects. To overcome these issues, the research team led by Professor Steve Park from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor Jung Kim from the Department of Mechanical Engineering developed electronic skin that can be uniformly coated on 3-dimensional surfaces and distinguish mechanical stimuli. The new electronic skin can also distinguish mechanical stimuli analogous to human skin. The structure of the electronic skin was designed to respond differently under applied pressure and strain. Under applied strain, conducting pathways undergo significant conformational changes, considerably changing the resistance. On the other hand, under applied pressure, negligible conformational change in the conducting pathway occurs; e-skin is therefore non-responsive to pressure. The research team is currently working on strain insensitive pressure sensors to use with the developed strain sensors. The research team also spatially mapped the local strain without the use of patterned electrode arrays utilizing electrical impedance tomography (EIT). By using EIT, it is possible to minimize the number of electrodes, increase durability, and enable facile fabrication onto 3-dimensional surfaces. Professor Park said, “Our electronic skin can be mass produced at a low cost and can easily be coated onto complex 3-dimensional surfaces. It is a key technology that can bring us closer to the commercialization of electronic skin for various applications in the near future.” The result of this work entitled “Pressure Insensitive Strain Sensor with Facile Solution-based Process for Tactile Sensing Applications” was published in the August issue of ACS Nano as a cover article. (Figure: Detecting mechanical stimuli using electrical impedance tomography
KAIST First Reveals Principles behind Electron Hea..
(from left: Professor Wonho Choe and Research Professor Sanghoo Park) A KAIST research team successfully identified the underlying principles behind electron heating, which is one of the most important phenomena in plasmas. As the electric heating determines wide range of physical and chemical properties of plasmas, this outcome will allow relevant industries to extend and effectively customize a range of plasma characteristics for their specific needs. Plasma, frequently called the fourth state of matter, can be mostly formed by artificially energizing gases in standard temperature (25°C) and pressure (1 atm) range. Among the many types of plasma, atmospheric-pressure plasmas have been gaining a great deal of attention due to their unique features and applicability in various scientific and industrial fields. Because plasma characteristics strongly depends on gas pressure in the sub-atmospheric to atmospheric pressure range, characterizing the plasma at different pressures is a prerequisite for understanding the fundamental principles of plasmas and for their industrial applications. In that sense, information on the spatio-temporal evolution in the electron density and temperature is very important because various physical and chemical reactions within a plasma arise from electrons. Hence, electron heating has been an interesting topic in the field of plasma. Because collisions between free electrons and neutral gases are frequent under atmospheric-pressure conditions, there are physical limits to measuring the electron density and temperature in plasmas using conventional diagnostic tools, thus the principles behind free electron heating could not be experimentally revealed. Moreover, lacking information on a key parameter of electron heating and its controlling methods is troublesome and limit improving the reactivity and applicability of such plasmas. To address these issues, Professor Wonho Choe and his team from the Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering employed neutral bremsstrahlung-based electron diagnostics in order to accurately examine the electron density and temperature in target plasmas. In addition, a novel imaging diagnostics for two dimensional distribution of electron information was developed. Using the diagnostic technique they developed, the team measured the nanosecond-resolved electron temperature in weakly ionized collisional plasmas, and they succeeded in revealing the spatiotemporal distribution and the fundamental principle involved in the electron heating process. The team successfully revealed the fundamental principle of the electron heating process under atmospheric to sub-atmospheric pressure (0.25-1atm) conditions through conducting the experiment on the spatiotemporal evolution of electron temperature. Their findings of the underlying research data on free electrons in weakly ionized collisional plasmas will contribute to enhancing the field of plasma science and their commercial applications. Professor Choe said, “The results of this study provide a clear picture of electron heating in weakly ionized plasmas under conditions where collisions between free electrons and neutral particles are frequent. We hope this study will be informative and helpful in utilizing and commercializing atmospheric-pressure plasma sources in the near future.” Articles related to this research, led by Research Professor Sanghoo Park, were published in Scientific Reports on May 14 and July 5. Figure 1. Nanosecond-resolved visualization of the electron heating structure. Spatiotemporal evolution of 514.5-nm continuum radiation,Te, Ar I emission Figure 2. Nanosecond-resolved visualization of electron heating. Spatiotemporal evolution of neutral bremsstrahlung at 514.5 nm
Rh Ensemble Catalyst for Effective Automobile Exha..
(from left: Professor Hyunjoo Lee and PhD candidate Hojin Jeong) A KAIST research team has developed a fully dispersed Rh ensemble catalyst (ENS) that shows better performance than commercial diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC). This newly developed ENSs could improve low-temperature automobile exhaust treatment. Precious metals have been used for various heterogeneous reactions, but it is crucial to maximize efficiency of catalysts due to their high cost. Single-atom catalysts (SACs) have received much attention because it is possible for all of the metal atoms to be used for reactions, yet they do not show catalytic activity for reactions that require ensemble sites. Meanwhile, hydrocarbons, such as propylene (C3H6) and propane (C3H8) are typical automobile exhaust gas pollutants and must be converted to carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) before they are released as exhaust. Since the hydrocarbon oxidation reaction proceeds only during carbon-carbon (C-C) or carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bond cleavage, it is essential to secure the metal ensemble site for the catalytic reaction. Therefore, precious metal catalysts with high dispersion and ensemble sites are greatly needed. To solve this issue, Professor Hyunjoo Lee from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Professor Jeong Woo Han from POSTECH developed an Rh ensemble catalyst with 100％ dispersion, and applied it to automobile after-treatment. Having a 100％ dispersion means that every metal atom is used for the reaction since it is exposed on the surface. SACs also have 100％ dispersion, but the difference is that ENSs have the unique advantage of having an ensemble site with two or more atoms. As a result of the experiment, the ENSs showed excellent catalytic performance in CO, NO, propylene, and propane oxidation at low temperatures. This complements the disadvantage of nanoparticle catalyst (NPs) that perform catalysis poorly at low temperatures due to low metal dispersion, or SACs without hydrocarbon oxidation. In particular, the ENSs have superior low-temperature activity even better than commercial DOC, hence they are expected to be applied to automobile exhaust treatment. Professor Lee said, “I believe that the ENSs have given academic contribution for proposing a new concept of metal catalysts, differentiating from conventional SACs and NPs. At the same time, they are of great value in the industry of exhaust treatment catalysts.” This research, led by PhD candidate Hojin Jeong, was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society on July 5. Figure 1. Concept of Rh ensemble catalyst for automobile exhaust treatment Figure 2. Structure and performance comparison of single-atom catalyst and ensemble catalyst Figure 3. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) mapping images for SAC, ENS, and NP, respectively (green, Eh; red, Ce)
KAIST Identifies the Trigger of the Hyperactivatio..
(Professor Kwang-Hyun Cho from the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering) Scientists have been investigating the negative effects that the hyperactivation of fibrosis has on fibrotic diseases and cancer. A KAIST research team unveiled a positive feedback loop that bi-stably activates fibroblasts in collaboration with Samsung Medical Center. This finding will contribute to developing therapeutic targets for both fibrosis and cancer. Human fibroblasts are dormant in normal tissue, but show radical activation during wound healing. However, the principle that induces their explosive activation has not yet been identified. Here, Professor Kwang-Hyun Cho from the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, in collaboration with Professor Seok-Hyung Kim from Samsung Medical Center, discovered the principle of a circuit that continuously activates fibroblasts. They constructed a positive feedback loops (PFLs) where Twist1, Prrx1, and Tenascin-C (TNC) molecules consecutively activate fibroblasts. They confirmed that these are the main inducers of fibroblast activation by conducting various experiments, including molecular biological tests, mathematical modeling, animal testing, and computer simulations to conclude that they are the main inducers of fibroblast activation. According to their research, Twist 1 is a key regulator of cancer-associated fibroblasts, which directly upregulates Prrx1 and then triggers TNC, which also increases Twist1 expression. This circuit consequently forms a Twist-Prrx1-TNC positive feedback loop. Activated fibroblasts need to be deactivated after wounds are healed. However, if the PFLs continue, the fibroblasts become the major cause of worsening fibrotic diseases and cancers. Therefore, the team expects that Twist1-Prrx1-TNC positive PFLs will be applied for novel and effective therapeutic targeting of fibrotic diseases and cancers. This research was published in Nature Communications on August 1, 2018. Figure 1. Twist1 increases tenascin-c expression in cancer-associated fibroblasts. Twist1 is a potent but indirect inducer of tenascin-c (TNC), which is essential for maintaining Twist1 expression in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Figure 2. Summary of the study. The Twist1-Prrx1-TNC positive feedback regulation provides clues for understanding the activation of fibroblasts during wound healing under normal conditions, as well as abnormally activated fibroblasts in pathological conditions such as cancerous and fibrotic diseases. Under normal conditions, the PFL acts as a reversible bistable switch by which the activation of fibroblasts is “ON" above a sufficient level of stimulation and “OFF" for the withdrawal of the stimulus. However, this switch can be permanently turned on under pathologic conditions by continued activation of the PFL, resulting in sustained proliferation of fibroblasts.
Levitating 2D semiconductor for better performance
(from top: Professor Yeon Sik Jung and PhD candidate Soomin Yim) Atomically thin 2D semiconductors have been drawing attention for their superior physical properties over silicon semiconductors; nevertheless, they are not the most appealing materials due to their structural instability and costly manufacturing process. To shed some light on these limitations, a KAIST research team suspended a 2D semiconductor on a dome-shaped nanostructure to produce a highly efficient semiconductor at a low cost. 2D semiconducting materials have emerged as alternatives for silicon-based semiconductors because of their inherent flexibility, high transparency, and excellent carrier transport properties, which are the important characteristics for flexible electronics. Despite their outstanding physical and chemical properties, they are oversensitive to their environment due to their extremely thin nature. Hence, any irregularities in the supporting surface can affect the properties of 2D semiconductors and make it more difficult to produce reliable and well performing devices. In particular, it can result in serious degradation of charge-carrier mobility or light-emission yield. To solve this problem, there have been continued efforts to fundamentally block the substrate effects. One way is to suspend a 2D semiconductor; however, this method will degrade mechanical durability due to the absence of a supporter underneath the 2D semiconducting materials. Professor Yeon Sik Jung from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and his team came up with a new strategy based on the insertion of high-density topographic patterns as a nanogap-containing supporter between 2D materials and the substrate in order to mitigate their contact and to block the substrate-induced unwanted effects. More than 90％ of the dome-shaped supporter is simply an empty space because of its nanometer scale size. Placing a 2D semiconductor on this structure creates a similar effect to levitating the layer. Hence, this method secures the mechanical durability of the device while minimizing the undesired effects from the substrate. By applying this method to the 2D semiconductor, the charge-carrier mobility was more than doubled, showing a significant improvement of the performance of the 2D semiconductor. Additionally, the team reduced the price of manufacturing the semiconductor. In general, constructing an ultra-fine dome structure on a surface generally involves costly equipment to create individual patterns on the surface. However, the team employed a method of self-assembling nanopatterns in which molecules assemble themselves to form a nanostructure. This method led to reducing production costs and showed good compatibility with conventional semiconductor manufacturing processes. Professor Jung said, “This research can be applied to improve devices using various 2D semiconducting materials as well as devices using graphene, a metallic 2D material. It will be useful in a broad range of applications, such as the material for the high speed transistor channels for next-generation flexible displays or for the active layer in light detectors.” This research, led by PhD candidate Soomin Yim, was published in Nano Letters in April. Figure 1. Image of a 2D semiconductor using dome structures
Improved Efficiency and Stability of CQD Solar Cel..
(from left: Professor Jung-Yong Lee and Dr. Se-Woong Baek) Recently, the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of colloidal quantum dot (CQD)-based solar cells has been enhanced, paving the way for their commercialization in various fields; nevertheless, they are still a long way from being commercialized due to their efficiency not matching their stability. In this research, a KAIST team achieved highly stable and efficient CQD-based solar cells by using an amorphous organic layer to block oxygen and water permeation. CQD-based solar cells are light-weight, flexible, and they boost light harvesting by absorbing near-infrared lights. Especially, they draw special attention for their optical properties controlled efficiently by changing the quantum dot sizes. However, they are still incompatible with existing solar cells in terms of efficiency, stability, and cost. Therefore, there is great demand for a novel technology that can simultaneously improve both PCE and stability while using an inexpensive electrode material. Responding to this demand, Professor Jung-Yong Lee from the Graduate School of Energy, Environment, Water and Sustainability and his team introduced a technology to improve the efficiency and stability of CQD-based solar cells. The team found that an amorphous organic thin film has a strong resistance to oxygen and water. Using these properties, they employed this doped organic layer as a top-hole selective layer (HSL) for the PbS CQD solar cells, and confirmed that the hydro/oxo-phobic properties of the layer efficiently protected the PbS layer. According to the molecular dynamics simulations, the layer significantly postponed the oxygen and water permeation into the PbS layer. Moreover, the efficient injection of the holes in the layer reduced interfacial resistance and improved performance. With this technology, the team finally developed CQD-based solar cells with excellent stability. The PCE of their device stood at 11.7％ and maintained over 90％ of its initial performance when stored for one year under ambient conditions. Professor Lee said, “This technology can be also applied to QD LEDs and Perovskite devices. I hope this technology can hasten the commercialization of CQD-based solar cells.” This research, led by Dr. Se-Woong Baek and a Ph.D. student, Sang-Hoon Lee, was published in Energy & Environmental Science on May 10. Figure 1. The schematic of the equilibrated structure of the amorphous organic film Figure 2. Schematic illustration of CQD-based solar cells and graphs showing their performance
Robotic Herding of a Flock of Birds Using Drones
A joint team from KAIST, Caltech, and Imperial College London, presents a drone with a new algorithm to shepherd birds safely away from airports R esearchers made a new algorithm for enabling a single robotic unmanned aerial vehicle to herd a flock of birds away from a designated airspace. This novel approach allows a single autonomous quadrotor drone to herd an entire flock of birds away without breaking their formation. Professor David Hyunchul Shim at KAIST in collaboration with Professor Soon-Jo Chung of Caltech and Professor Aditya Paranjape of Imperial College London investigated the problem of diverting a flock of birds away from a prescribed area, such as an airport, using a robotic UVA. A novel boundary control strategy called the m-waypoint algorithm was introduced for enabling a single pursuer UAV to safely herd the flock without fragmenting it. The team developed the herding algorithm on the basis of macroscopic properties of the flocking model and the response of the flock. They tested their robotic autonomous drone by successfully shepherding an entire flock of birds out of a designated airspace near KAIST’s campus in Daejeon, South Korea. This study is published in IEEE Transactions on Robotics. “It is quite interesting, and even awe-inspiring, to monitor how birds react to threats and collectively behave against threatening objects through the flock. We made careful observations of flock dynamics and interactions between flocks and the pursuer. This allowed us to create a new herding algorithm for ideal flight paths for incoming drones to move the flock away from a protected airspace,” said Professor Shim, who leads the Unmanned Systems Research Group at KAIST. Bird strikes can threaten the safety of airplanes and their passengers. Korean civil aircraft suffered more than 1,000 bird strikes between 2011 and 2016. In the US, 142,000 bird strikes destroyed 62 civilian airplanes, injured 279 people, and killed 25 between 1990 and 2013. In the UK in 2016, there were 1,835 confirmed bird strikes, about eight for every 10,000 flights. Bird and other wildlife collisions with aircraft cause well over 1.2 billion USD in damages to the aviation industry worldwide annually. In the worst case, Canadian geese knocked out both engines of a US Airway jet in January 2009. The flight had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Airports and researchers have continued to reduce the risk of bird strikes through a variety of methods. They scare birds away using predators such as falcons or loud noises from small cannons or guns. Some airports try to prevent birds from coming by ridding the surrounding areas of crops that birds eat and hide in. However, birds are smart. “I was amazed with the birds’ capability to interact with flying objects. We thought that only birds of prey have a strong sense of maneuvering with the prey. But our observation of hundreds of migratory birds such as egrets and loons led us to reach the hypothesis that they all have similar levels of maneuvering with the flying objects. It will be very interesting to collaborate with ornithologists to study further with birds’ behaviors with aerial objects,” said Professor Shim. “Airports are trying to transform into smart airports. This algorithm will help improve safety for the aviation industry. In addition, this will also help control avian influenza that plagues farms nationwide every year,” he stressed. For this study, two drones were deployed. One drone performed various types of maneuvers around the flocks as a pursuer of herding drone, while a surveillance drone hovered at a high altitude with a camera pointing down for recording the trajectories of the pursuer drone and the birds. During the experiments on egrets, the birds made frequent visits to a hunting area nearby and a large number of egrets were found to return to their nests at sunset. During the time, the team attempted to fly the herding drone in various directions with respect to the flock. The drone approached the flock from the side. When the birds noticed the drone, they diverted from their original paths and flew at a 45˚ angle to their right. When the birds noticed the drone while it was still far away, they adjusted their paths horizontally and made smaller changes in the vertical direction. In the second round of the experiment on loons, the drone flew almost parallel to the flight path of a flock of birds, starting from an initial position located just off the nominal flight path. The birds had a nominal flight speed that was considerably higher than that of the drone so the interaction took place over a relatively short period of time. Professor Shim said, “I think we just completed the first step of the research. For the next step, more systems will be developed and integrated for bird detection, ranging, and automatic deployment of drones.” “Professor Chung at Caltech is a KAIST graduate. And his first student was Professor Paranjape who now teaches at Imperial. It is pretty interesting that this research was made by a KAIST faculty member, an alumnus, and his student on three different continents,” he said. (Figure A. Case 1: drone approaches the herd with sufficient distance to induce horizontal deviation) (Figure B. Case 2: drone approaches the herd abruptly to cause vertical deviation)
It’s Time to 3D Sketch with Air Scaffolding
People often use their hands when describing an object, while pens are great tools for describing objects in detail. Taking this idea, a KAIST team introduced a new 3D sketching workflow, combining the strengths of hand and pen input. This technique will ease the way for ideation in three dimensions, leading to efficient product design in terms of time and cost. For a designer's drawing to become a product in reality, one has to transform a designer's 2D drawing into a 3D shape; however, it is difficult to infer accurate 3D shapes that match the original intention from an inaccurate 2D drawing made by hand. When creating a 3D shape from a planar 2D drawing, unobtainable information is required. On the other hand, loss of depth information occurs when a 3D shape is expressed as a 2D drawing using perspective drawing techniques. To fill in these “missing links” during the conversion, "3D sketching" techniques have been actively studied. Their main purpose is to help designers naturally provide missing 3D shape information in a 2D drawing. For example, if a designer draws two symmetric curves from a single point of view or draws the same curves from different points of view, the geometric clues that are left in this process are collected and mathematically interpreted to define the proper 3D curve. As a result, designers can use 3D sketching to directly draw a 3D shape as if using pen and paper. Among 3D sketching tools, sketching with hand motions, in VR environments in particular, has drawn attention because it is easy and quick. But the biggest limitation is that they cannot articulate the design solely using rough hand motions, hence they are difficult to be applied to product designs. Moreover, users may feel tired after raising their hands in the air during the entire drawing process. Using hand motions but to elaborate designs, Professor Seok-Hyung Bae and his team from the Department of Industrial Design integrated hand motions and pen-based sketching, allocating roles according to their strengths. This new technique is called Agile 3D Sketching with Air Scaffolding. Designers use their hand motions in the air to create rough 3D shapes which will be used as scaffolds, and then they can add details with pen-based 3D sketching on a tablet (Figure 1). Figure 1. In the agile 3D sketching workflow with air scaffolding, the user (a) makes unconstrained hand movements in the air to quickly generate rough shapes to be used as scaffolds, (b) uses the scaffolds as references and draws finer details with them, (c) produces a high-fidelity 3D concept sketch of a steering wheel in an iterative and progressive manner. The team came up with an algorithm to identify descriptive hand motions from transitory hand motions and extract only the intended shapes from unconstrained hand motions, based on air scaffolds from the identified motions. Through user tests, the team identified that this technique is easy to learn and use, and demonstrates good applicability. Most importantly, the users can reduce time, yet enhance the accuracy of defining the proportion and scale of products. Eventually, this tool will be able to be applied to various fields including the automobile industry, home appliances, animations and the movie making industry, and robotics. It also can be linked to smart production technology, such as 3D printing, to make manufacturing process faster and more flexible. PhD candidate Yongkwan Kim, who led the research project, said, “I believe the system will enhance product quality and work efficiency because designers can express their 3D ideas quickly yet accurately without using complex 3D CAD modeling software. I will make it into a product that every designer wants to use in various fields.” “There have been many attempts to encourage creative activities in various fields by using advanced computer technology. Based on in-depth understanding of designers, we will take the lead in innovating the design process by applying cutting-edge technology,” Professor Bae added. Professor Bae and his team from the Department of Industrial Design has been delving into developing better 3D sketching tools. They started with a 3D curve sketching system for professional designers called ILoveSketch and moved on to SketchingWithHands for designing a handheld product with first-person hand postures captured by a hand-tracking sensor. They then took their project to the next level and introduced Agile 3D Sketching with Air Scaffolding, a new 3D sketching workflow combining hand motion and pen drawing which was chosen as one of the CHI (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems) 2018 Best Papers by the Association for Computing Machinery. - Click the link to watch video clip of SketchingWithHands
KAIST Reveals Mathematical Principle behind AI’s ‘..
(from left: Professor Jong Chul Ye, PhD candidates Yoseob Han and Eunju Cha) A KAIST research team identified the geometrical structure of artificial intelligence (AI) and discovered the mathematical principles of highly performing artificial neural networks, which can be applicable in fields such as medical imaging. Deep neural networks are an exemplary method of implementing deep learning, which is at the core of the AI technology, and have shown explosive growth in recent years. This technique has been used in various fields, such as image and speech recognition as well as image processing. Despite its excellent performance and usefulness, the exact working principles of deep neural networks has not been well understood, and they often suffer from unexpected results or errors. Hence, there is an increasing social and technical demand for interpretable deep neural network models. To address these issues, Professor Jong Chul Ye from the Department of Bio & Brain Engineering and his team attempted to find the geometric structure in a higher dimensional space where the structure of the deep neural network can be easily understood. They proposed a general deep learning framework, called deep convolutional framelets, to understand the mathematical principle of a deep neural network in terms of the mathematical tools in Harmonic analysis. As a result, it was found that deep neural networks’ structure appears during the process of decomposition of high dimensionally lifted signal via Hankel matrix, which is a high-dimensional structure formerly studied intensively in the field of signal processing. In the process of decomposing the lifted signal, two bases categorized as local and non-local basis emerge. The researchers found that non-local and local basis functions play a role in pooling and filtering operation in convolutional neural network, respectively. Previously, when implementing AI, deep neural networks were usually constructed through empirical trial and errors. The significance of the research lies in the fact that it provides a mathematical understanding on the neural network structure in high dimensional space, which guides users to design an optimized neural network. They demonstrated improved performance of the deep convolutional framelets’ neural networks in the applications of image denoising, image pixel in painting, and medical image restoration. Professor Ye said, “Unlike conventional neural networks designed through trial-and-error, our theory shows that neural network structure can be optimized to each desired application and are easily predictable in their effects by exploiting the high dimensional geometry. This technology can be applied to a variety of fields requiring interpretation of the architecture, such as medical imaging.” This research, led by PhD candidates Yoseob Han and Eunju Cha, was published in the April 26th issue of the SIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences. Figure 1. The design of deep neural network using mathematical principles Figure 2. The results of image noise cancelling Figure 3. The artificial neural network restoration results in the case where 80％ of the pixels are lost