Wise cooperation creates the future

The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) operates in Joensuu, Kuopio and Savonlinna. Its objective is to offer its students the best higher education learning environment in Finland. New learning and teaching methods are constantly being developed, also for the international community. The task of the university is to show how the world will develop in the next 5-10 years – Process Genius is helping to make this development come true.

Cooperation between UEF and Process Genius started at the beginning of 2016, when UEF and University Properties of Finland Ltd began funding the building of a remote-controlled photonics laboratory. The laboratory was named Sm4rtLab. It was tested and demonstrated for the first time in December 2016. In November 2017, Sm4rtLab was presented to external visitors up to three times a week and it has also been demonstrated abroad. Sm4rtLab has been well received, stimulating interest from organisations such as MIT and Microsoft.

Sm4rtLab – easy to use 24/7/365

“We wanted the laboratory to have an easy and intuitive remote user interface and that is exactly what we received,” tells Professor Pasi Vahimaa, of UEF’s Department of Physics and Mathematics. The remote controlled Sm4rtLab has been developed in intense cooperation with UEF’s information technology services and Process Genius. Both UEF and Process Genius have actively sought new ways of developing a virtual user interface. “This is not a buyer-seller relationship, but genuine cooperation,” Vahimaa states with gratitude.

The remote Sm4rtLab laboratory will be used for research and training. It is available around the clock, every day of the year. It can be used remotely either via a web browser or via HoloLens glasses. Using the HoloLens application, the laboratory is controlled with gestures and speech commands and it enables the user to conduct the same tests as in a real-world environment.

Remote use brings savings and freedom

A laboratory – a remotely controlled and used laboratory work environment – can now be offered for universities, which do not have testing devices and facilities of their own. For example, Kuopio’s Applied Physics Department uses Joensuu’s laboratory for training. There are also many universities abroad that cannot build their own laboratories. It is expensive to travel to Joensuu, but remote use makes a valuable learning experience possible without travel expenses.

In addition, the remote use of the laboratory has increased freedom of mobility. One laboratory study and its interim stages can take weeks. Now it is no longer necessary for researchers to monitor their devices all the time because with Sm4rtLab they can continue their research remotely from anywhere in the world. The same technology can also be used in industrial environments for remote device monitoring and control. In fact, the laboratory does receive new ideas from the visiting companies. They produce ideas on how virtualization could help to generate savings and other customer benefits.

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