Verhaert participates in the imec.istart investment fund

Verhaert Masters in Innovation, the innovation factory with headquarters in Kruibeke, has subscribed to a capital increase from the imec.istart Fund. The investment fund imec.istart Fund receives a substantial capital injection and grows from 12.5 million euro to more than 30 million euro. 

Coaching tech start-ups

“Within the MyStartUp programme, Verhaert has guided and provided equity free seed money to more than hundred start-ups across Europe in recent years on the authority of the European Space Agency ESA, the European Copernicus and Point.Iot programme and several MedTech accelerators,” says Koen Verhaert, CEO and Program Director MyStartUp.

With this investment in the imec.istart Fund, Verhaert, through the fund, now also invests in the capital of such tech start-ups. “We have chosen the imec.istart Fund for this because of their track record, ecosystem and multi-sector approach. Verhaert will also help to guide the imec.istart team and coach the start-ups in further developing their idea into a marketable and scalable product.”

imec.istart Fund

The imec.istart Fund was established in 2017 with a starting capital of 12.5 million euro and a focus on start-ups working with digital technologies. The Flemish government and private partners who co-initiated the fund are imec, ING, BNP Paribas Fortis, Telenet and Cronos Groep. Besides its initial focus on digital technology, special attention will be paid to sustainability and IoT physical products. To reinforce this evolution, the fund also attracts 4 new partners: Verhaert, Nuhma, EFIN and Vlaamse EnergieHolding. This way, the capital of the imec.istart Fund grows to 30.5 million euro and the right framework is created.

During the past years, the investments of imec.istart often turned out to be a flywheel for follow-up funding. Every euro that the imec.istart Fund invested in start-ups generated on average more than 25 euro from other sources. Together, the portfolio companies of the imec.istart Fund raised over 320 million euro in follow-up funding. With the capital increase, the various partners want to further increase the impact of the start-up ecosystem and thus contribute to innovation and a sustainable local economy.

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More on imec.istart

About Verhaert Masters in Innovation
Since 1969, Verhaert Masters in Innovation has been a pioneer in the field of product innovation. As a leading innovation group in integrated product development, Verhaert helps companies and entrepreneurs to develop and implement successful innovation projects. Today, the group has more than 200 employees with offices in Kruibeke, Gentbrugge, Kortrijk, Nivelles, Utrecht and Aveiro. www.verhaert.com

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Contact
Nicky Sterck
Communications, Verhaert Masters in Innovation, +32 491 249 864

Visit Verhaert at their website and follow their social media channels:

easics switches into next gear and extends management with new CEO

easics, a Leuven-based market leader in the embedded systems digital design, switches into its next gear as a company. Next to providing unique competence and development platforms that lead to first-time right, reliable and optimized logic and software that is maintainable by the customer, easics starts providing network and Artificial Intelligence (AI) product/IP solutions for system developers of health and industrial products. easics nearbAI technology provides a  compact, low-power and affordable AI core that runs complex neural networks on FPGAs and ASICs at the edge, close to the sensors. This results in a low and predictable latency and runs with ultra low-power consumption. easics’ embedded AI solutions integrate tightly with novel and existing sensors such as image sensors capturing light inside and outside the visible spectrum (such as hyperspectral and thermal infrared), 3D scanning laser (LiDAR), Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors, radar, microscopy, ultrasound sensors, and microphones, and thus enable many novel businesses.

To enable this growth ambition Emiliano D’Agostino joined the MT as managing director & CEO of easics as of April 2021. He is an executive with hands-on experience in the medtech industry. Before joining easics, he has founded DoseVue, a medtech company which he has brought from incorporation up to commercial product launch. He received a PhD in electrical engineering, focused on medical image processing, from the KU Leuven in 2006. He holds master degrees in physics engineering from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and in nuclear engineering from the Politecnico di Milano.

“I am really looking forward to helping easics moving to the next phase by expanding easics’ product related activities, in particular in the medical sector. The company has a tremendous potential and is already a trusted partner for several big international players in the medical and industrial fields.”, says Emiliano. Rector-emeritus of the KU Leuven, Prof. Oosterlinck, and since its foundation 30 years ago Chairman of the Board of easics, welcomes Emiliano: “Emiliano is an international manager with very good knowledge of the health and industrial business, and an excellent alumnus of the medical imaging research group of the KU Leuven, that I started more than 45 years ago. I am sure that he will bring easics to the next level.” “We welcome Emiliano to the MT of easics and look forward to growing the company further with him,” say Ramses Valvekens and Steven Coenen, the managers and main stakeholders of easics.


Visit easics at their website and follow them via their social media channels:

S3Food hands out 14 grants to projects for digital innovation in food manufacturing

DSP Valley is glad to announce that 28 SMEs will receive funding from S3FOOD, the pan European project for digital Industry 4.0 transition in which we take part as one of the 13 international consortium partners. 14 projects have been selected with themes like ‘data-driven fermentation management’, ‘egg processing with enhanced data integration’ or  ‘smart systems for real-time monitoring of evaporation in wine aging’.

14 cross-sectoral collaboration projects

This has already been the second S3FOOD voucher call within the project. 14 innovative SME driven projects have been selected all across Europe. The winning projects will receive funding to develop and adopt innovative digital solutions to concrete challenges food processing companies are facing to modernize and improve food production.

Alltogether, the 14 cross–sectoral collaboration projects will receive different types of vouchers for an amount close to 1.3 million Euros. The types of vouchers vary depending on the development stage of the project, called the TRL, or Technology Readiness Level. The earliest stage projects receive up to 15,000 Euro while the larger scale collaboration projects  receive up to 180,000 Euro.

Industry 4.0 transition

S3FOOD wants to establish an innovation-friendly, cross-border and cross-sectoral ecosystem to help SMEs start their Industry 4.0 transition.

Veerle De Graef, Innovation Manager, Flanders’ FOOD– coordinator of the S3FOOD project: “Companies that still rely on a few in-house specialists to register and interpret processing data are at risk of losing important knowledge and expertise. Using for instance smart sensors, makes it possible to secure everything in automated systems and to bring sustainable benefits to their business, improving efficiency and quality of the production methods.”

Besides the funding, being a part of S3FOOD also grants the 14 projects access to industry experts, knowledge sharing, a solid network of like-minded SMEs and much more.

A revolution in progress

Many larger companies have already responded to the fourth industrial revolution – the digital revolution -, by automating and digitalizing their process. This includes benefiting from the related data generation, which opens the door to identify processing issues quicker. This also gives opportunities for continuous improvement.

S3FOOD targets the many SMEs in the agri-food industry in Europe, that have still not found the partners and funds to start the same journey towards digitalization.

The consortium has already supported 44 projects with 51 unique SMEs across Europe and now adds 14 new projects to the portfolio.

“While we are still in the middle of the S3FOOD project, we can already begin to see the results of the first projects that received the funding vouchers. It’s fascinating to see how SMEs can truly benefit from the latest technology, and we are happy to be able to welcome another 14 projects to S3FOOD, and to the future of food production,” says project leader Veerle De Graef.

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S3FOOD is a 5 million Euro Innosup – 01 project under H2020 that aims to stimulate the uptake of smart sensor solutions by the small and medium sized enterprises in the agri-food sector with the purpose of improving efficiency, sustainability and safety. S3FOOD started in May 2019 and has launched two voucher calls where SMEs could apply for funding for the implementation of innovative digital solutions to concrete challenges of the food processing industry.

The S3FOOD consortium consists of 13 partners from across Europe:
Flanders’ FOOD, Belgium; DSP Valley, Belgium; Wagralim, Belgium; INNOSKART, Hungary; AgriFood Capital BV, The Netherlands; AIN, Spain; ASINCAR, Spain; Bretagne Développement Innovation, France; CLUSAGA, Spain; CORALLIA , Greece; Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, Denmark; Food-Processing Initiative, Germany and CIMES, France.

Read more about S3FOOD on www.s3food.eu  or follow the project on LinkedIn and twitter: @s3food_eu

S3FOOD has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 824769-S3FOOD.

Verhaert & SpaceTec win multi-million euro contract to support space start-ups

3D Futuristic circuit background. Motion graphic for abstract data center, server, internet, speed. Futuristic HUD tunnel. Display screens for tech titles and background, tech headline. 3D render

Verhaert Masters in Innovation and SpaceTec Partners are pleased to announce that they will jointly implement a €1.2 million contract to support space research and innovation by organising hackathons and offering mentoring to start-ups.

European space hackathons & mentoring

The contract has a potential value of up to €3.6 million and will implement the European Space Hackathons & Mentoring programme on behalf of the European Commission. It includes a series of 2 hackathons in 2021 and another 4 hackathons in the following 2 years upon renewal of the contract. It is a first step within the Competitive Space Start-ups for Innovation (CASSINI) initiative of the European Commission to grow the number of start-ups that successfully commercialise innovative European space technologies.

Each hackathon runs simultaneously at up to 10 locations. For the organisation of the hackathons and mentoring, Verhaert and SpaceTec Partners count on the support of local organisers, for whom this is a great opportunity to enter the fascinating market of space-based innovation and entrepreneurship.

Boost chances to succeed & accelerate growth

The CASSINI initiative will boost the opportunities for space start-ups to succeed thanks to technical and business support. On the other hand, it will accelerate their growth and scale-up by attracting more private investors. CASSINI streamlines existing initiatives and contemplates new ones to support innovation and start-ups. As part of the European Strategy for SMEs it will create a coherent, long term, structured, focused and scalable public support mechanism.

Foster the commercialisation of European space technologies

Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the European space community, is a topic close to the hearts of Verhaert Masters in Innovation and SpaceTec Partners. Thomas Tanghe, Partner at SpaceTec Partners: “The new CASSINI hackathons will build on the legacy of innovation programmes our companies jointly implemented for space such as the Copernicus Accelerator and Point.IoT. Together, we are looking forward to continuing our efforts toward fostering awareness and user uptake for the components of the European Space Programme: Copernicus, Galileo, EGNOS, GOVSATCOM and Space Situational Awareness (SSA).”

Sam Waes, Program Manager for the OpenLab at Verhaert Masters in Innovation, adds: “We want to integrate the CASSINI hackathons in a relevant space ecosystem. Thanks to our well-developed methodology and innovative approach, we are experienced in reaching audiences in- and outside the space community, covering multiple professional fields with a very broad geographic coverage in Europe. During the hackathons, we want to encourage human interactions and give start-ups access to a wide pool of mentors.”

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About SpaceTec Partners
SpaceTec Partners is a unique boutique consultancy as its team combines years of consulting craftsmanship with in-depth expertise of the space industry. SpaceTec Partners assists its clients with management consulting, market development and innovation advisory, as specialists in the space industry.
www.spacetec.partners


About Verhaert Masters in Innovation
Since 1969 Verhaert Masters in Innovation is a pioneer in the field of product innovation. As a leading innovation group in integral product development, Verhaert helps companies and entrepreneurs to develop and execute successful innovation projects. The group now has more than 200 employees with offices in Kruibeke, Gentbrugge, Kortrijk, Nivelles, Noordwijk, Utrecht and Aveiro. www.verhaert.com

More about CASSINI

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Contact
Sam Waes
Program Manager OpenLab, Verhaert Masters in Innovation, +32 473 78 11 35

Thomas Tanghe
Partner, SpaceTec Partners, +49 179 563 7119

Verhaert : AI assisted robotic spinal surgery

digital rendering of a robotic arm scanning a patient lying on a surgical table

DSP member Verhaert Masters in Innovation has received a research grant from VLAIO to develop state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI-)driven robot technology.

In the research project, Verhaert will develop a robotic platform for spinal surgery which uses algorithms developed by Deep Learning (AI). The developed algorithms will transform high resolution preoperative 3D images, like CT scans and MRIs, to high resolution images of the patient in his or her new physical laying position during surgery. The novel part of the proposed procedure is the significant reduction of the use of cancerogenous ionizing x-ray beams during surgery, like CT-scans, while still being able to perform sub-millimeter surgery and catheter tracking.

3-step surgical procedure
Defining the concept
The physical laying position of the patient changes before, at the start and during surgery, which has an impact on the physical position and form of the spinal cord. All these changes in position need to be taken into account in order to perform sub-mm surgery.

  • Before: the patient is laying on her back for high resolution CT/MRI scans.
  • At the start: the patient is laying on her stomach.
  • During: the patient is laying on her stomach and slightly moves because of breathing, heartbeat and the impact of the surgery itself.
Overview of the patient’s physical position before, at the start, and during surgery © VERHAERT

 Before surgery

A high resolution sub millimeter 3D image is taken from the patient several days before surgery. This is done either by a CT-scan or MRI. Typically, the scan is taken while the patient is laying on his/her back. Based on the image the surgery is planned and a trajectory is calculated in order to reach the desired location in the spinal cord.

Before surgery the patient is lying on her back for high resolution CT/MRI scans © VERHAERT

At the start of surgery
At this stage the patient will be laying on his/her stomach. Markers are placed on the patient which are detected by a set of Infra-Red cameras in order to create a 3D model of the patients’ physical position on the operating table. In this new position, a low dose low resolution (supra-millimeter) 2D image is take of the patients’ spine. The 2D image is taken with a C-arm 2D fluoroscopic scanner.

At the start of the surgery the patient is laying on her stomach © VERHAERT

The 2D image and the external marker localizations are used to transform the high resolution pre-surgery 3D image into a newly reconstructed high resolution 3D image of the spine in its new position and form. At this point, the surgeon and its team has a 3D image of the patients’ anatomy in combination with an external reference frame.

This article was written by the Verheart Team

You can visit Verhaert at their website and follow them at their social media accounts:

Sfella, the Smart Flush solution, is ready to enter the Legionella prevention market

In the Netherlands, 300 to 400 people are infected per year with the legionella bacteria (Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever), a number that is rising each year. Victims of the bacteria suffer for a long period, from several months up to more than a year. Between 5 and 10% of cases are lethal.

Legionella infections mostly occur through people breathing in legionella-contaminated aerosols. Aerosols are small droplets of water that are generated, for example, when showering. For this reason, public showers like the ones in sports centres, swimming halls, and saunas, as well as truck stops and camp sites, need to be flushed regularly to prevent legionella growing in the water pipes. The required flushing is often done manually or semi-automated, which is very time consuming, prone to human errors, and labor intensive. Especially when one takes into account the legal obligations to report data like date, time, water temperature, and flush duration per shower.

The risk of legionella contamination has increased in the current Covid-19 crisis with the (temporary) closure of facilities. Showers are not used by clients and facility engineers who have to stay home and are not allowed to come to their facilities for the requisite flushing.

Sfella is the Smart Flush solution by Mioto* that addresses all of the above issues. Sfella is a user-friendly, reliable and easy-to-install solution for legionella prevention. The system is modular, for use within environments with multiple showers. It assures flushing the shower(s) happens after an operator-defined time period. The system reports the important flush data like date, time, duration, and water temperature. This reporting and control of the showers happens locally or remote via a dedicated gateway.

Sfella is powered by the mesh network MyriaNed. It is an infrastructure of nodes that connect directly, dynamically, and non-hierarchically. This allows easy configuration and scalability. Data transfer to and from the shower units (represented by a node) is wireless and bi-directional. Therefore, settings can be changed remotely, while the report with flush-related data can be received remotely in your email inbox. MyriaNed can be configured to use either 868MHz or 2.4GHz. This allows for the optimal fit in each local environment in terms of coverage and energy usage.

In February 2020, just before the first Covid-19 wave struck the Netherlands, van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau B.V. started a pilot program with Sfella on 15 showers in a care institute. The unforeseen Covid-19 crisis forced the care institute to close its sports facilities for several months, a perfect period to test the installed Sfella system. It appears the automatic flushing happened every 72 hours as programmed. Once the facilities opened again in early summer, final confirmation arrived: examinations of the water samples taken showed no legionella contamination in the related water pipes. This offered the most convincing evidence that Sfella delivered.

van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau is now to actively approaching the Dutch market and discussing with sales and distribution partners, as well as technology partners, to broaden the Sfella roadmap. If you are interested in partnering for sales and distribution, including outside the Netherlands, please contact us.

A video about Sfella is available at our website.

For further information, please reach out to info@vanmierlo.com

* Mioto is a brand of van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau B.V. in Eindhoven the Netherlands

Fulco Verheul

Responsible for marketing, sales, business development, product management and product development activities at van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau B.V.

World Class Research Meets the Market, Thanks to Comate

In July 2020, we published an article written by the team at Comate Engineering and Design explaining how they help ideas go “from core technology to marketable products.” We’re happy to bring you a new piece of their success story: CellSine.

CellSine is a revolutionary new technology for early stage drug testing. It could easily mean medications brought to patients faster and with less testing on animals. A win-win!

The technology behind CellSine, based on electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), was developed as part of a doctoral research project at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) and the University of Brussels (VUB), resulting in a proof of concept. As anyone who’s brought a concept to market knows, though, this is but a step in a much longer process.

That’s where Comate came in. As they put it themselves, “CellSine relied on the expertise of Comate’s engineers and designers for the technical development, to translate the PoC into a market-ready product.”

A visual representations of the process Comate uses to take a proof of concept to a marketable product

Thanks to Comate’s expertise in taking a proof of concept to market, CellSine has launched a truly innovative device. Their ambitions run high, including integrating AI to their data analysis and boosting personalized medicine.

Read the whole story at Comate’s website.

Sky’s the Limit for Flemish Startup Helpilepsy

Helpilepsy app visualization for patient care

At DSP Valley, we love to see our member organizations succeed. We’re happy for them, of course! We’re also thrilled to see our digitization ecosystem thriving and rewarding innovation. That’s why we’re delighted to share exciting news about one of our startup members, Helpilepsy.

Managing Epilepsy with Digital Technology and Personalized Medicine

Launched in 2017, Helpilepsy is a platform for both patients and their care team to monitor epileptic seizures, side effects, medication and other parameters. Billed as “a complete digital solution for people with epilepsy and neurologists,” the software allows for more personalized approaches to Epilepsy in patients. Currently, patients and doctors in 5 countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, and Hungary) use Helpilepsy, with more expansion on the horizon.

It works like any app: a patient can download it on their app platform of choice (the Apple store, Google Play, etc) and begin using it. Physicians and healthcare workers can track and monitor patient inputs through beautifully visualized web dashboards.

Moving Forward

This summer, the team announced an exciting development: official ISO13485:2016 certification, with many thanks to their Quality and Regulatory Lead Amandine Berton. This may not sound like a huge deal, but it’s a big achievement, especially for a small startup team.

ISO certification pertains to a manufacturer’s quality management system, which in turn involves their documentation and processes. All new releases need to be fully documented, the team must be able to show clinical proof of their software’s effectiveness, new employees must go through a welcome checklist, and more. These must comply with ISO13485 in order to meet European regulations. EU regulations govern myriad elements, including customer feedback, logistics, development and more — all before a product can be sold with the CE mark within the EU single market.

The CE symbol, which we probably all recognize but never really think about, indicates “that products sold in the EEA have been assessed to meet high safety, health, and environmental protection requirements. When you buy a new phone, a teddy bear, or a TV within the EEA, you can find the CE mark on them. CE marking also supports fair competition by holding all companies accountable to the same rules.”1 Crucially, it is up to manufacturers to make sure their products adhere to CE standards and EU regulations.

Recently, the rules regarding medical devices and medical technology changed. From now on, medical software including apps like Helpilepsy and the team’s newest product, Migraine Manager, fall into a higher classification. This means that they are subject to much stricter oversight. Affected class I medical software companies have been given until 2024 to fully conform to the new regulations.

The fact that the Helpilepsy team has been able to secure ISO certification ahead of the deadline is a testament to their talent and dedication.

Top Tier

While ISO certification, and subsequent CE marking, is administratively necessary, it brings with it tangible benefits. For one thing, the team is ahead of the game. The biggest part of their work to fully comply with new regulations is complete. They can once again focus on their core business!

Moreover, the processes necessary for the certification lend further credibility to Helpilepsy’s technology. It’s a strong selling point that they can offer to potential patients, doctors, and business partners.

What’s more, as co-founder Ludovic Ampe explains, ISO certification will hopefully be a catalyst for further expansion. Since the CE mark is a European-widely recognized standard, achieving it should open up more international markets.

Last but not least, at the end of August, Helpilepsy was named one of the top 10 health tech startups in the Benelux region. A great achievement — Congratulations!

Be sure to keep your eye on this up-and-coming organization! We’re willing to bet they have even more exciting developments in store 😊

You can visit Helpilepsy at their website and follow them via their social media channels:

Smart Cities Vlaanderen: More powerful than ever

Smart Cities Vlaanderen logo

In July, Citylab fully integrated its work for the Innovative Business Network (IBN) Smart Cities Vlaanderen with partner DSP Valley. “After more than a year and a half of successful collaboration with DSP Valley, it is time for this step,” says Citylab director Marc Schepers. “By bringing our business cluster fully under one roof, we will become more effective and create room for further development of Smart Cities Vlaanderen!”   

DSP Valley and Citylab are the driving forces behind the IBN Smart Cities Vlaanderen, which was started more than a year and a half ago with the support of various big names in the tech world. Although still at an early stage as an organization, the cluster has had a promising start, successfully bridging the gap between business and government. Their strength has been converting Smart Cities issues into concrete business cases for companies.

Dieter Therssen (left), CEO of DSP Valley, and Marc Schepers (right), director of Citylab, signing the merger official agreement regarding Smart Cities Vlaanderen.
Dieter Therssen (left), CEO of DSP Valley, and Marc Schepers (right), director of Citylab, signing the official merger agreement.

The two organizations are convinced that they are coming together at the right moment. Schepers declared, “It is now time to connect even more and to continue our cooperation with DSP Valley. That is why we decided to fully shift our co- promotorship to DSP Valley.” 

From his perspective as CEO of DSP Valley, Dieter Therssen emphasizes the need for an encompassing structure. “In Flanders, several initiatives have emerged in the field of smart cities in recent years , but there is not yet an overarching approach across the region. At the same time, the demand from local governments for smart city solutions is increasing exponentially,” he states. 

CEO of Living Tomorrow and president of Smart Cities Vlaanderen, Joachim De Vos agrees that the time for joining forces is ripe as the movement for smart cities gains momentum. This merger between DSP Valley and City Labs is the first step toward an even stronger Smart Cities Vlaanderen consortium.

Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), which financially supports the consortium through its subsidies for IBNs, is also on board. Asked for comment, a spokesperson confirmed, “This evolution makes the position of Smart Cities Vlaanderen more powerful and stable and allows them to support companies even better in the smart cities domain. It will enable the cluster to actively contribute to developing Flanders into a smart region.”

 The integration between Citylab and DSP Valley “enables us to accelerate our role as a matchmaker between companies and local authorities, building business consortia and creating a digital platform in the quadruple helix,” says Peter Vandeurzen, Cluster Manager for Smart Cities Vlaanderen. DSP Valley will further expand and strengthen the cluster from its office at the Corda Campus in Hasselt.

A bundled structure can also be the starting point for jumping from Flanders to Europe in the context of digitization. By coordinating smart cities initiatives, the desired critical mass and strength can be achieved to make Flanders a leading smart region in Europe.

All information about the Smart Cities Vlaanderen community and how to participate can be found on their website.

Contact
info@smartcities.vlaanderen
www.smartcities.vlaanderen

Smart Cities Vlaanderen Cluster
The cluster was founded by a number of steering group members and co-financed by VLAIO. The founding steering committee members are: Living Tomorrow with Joachim De Vos, chairman of the steering group, Nokia, Cronos Group, MyCsN, Tractebel Engie, Mediahuis, Hydroscan, Niko, and AllThingsTalk.

Together for strong, ambitious innovation
More starters, more stayers, more growers: that’s what we aim for! The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Agency and the Innovative Business Networks want to facilitate cooperation between companies, knowledge institutions and governments. Smart Cities Vlaanderen is one of these innovative business networks. Discover the others at the website. #growingstrong #sterkgroeien   

AI-based platform Hai brings COVID-related safety awareness to the public

To help face COVID-19 and ensure both health and well-being, the European service provider in product innovation Verhaert Masters in Innovation developed ‘Hai’: a digital demonstrator platform, based on user-centered Artificial Intelligence.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/J_vc4eMLoMacZn_7gu_ur_kW2I9_OEkEzcfzfxUCB-JdV6_GAogLB10MguQRkHhs9FtZjEQD7iwkhwJGugESBZF4vpSN15-KG9kTUrfXVCok-hOR0hSKxQotVXHNUzdeyvomX-29
New platform Hai for safer behavior

After 3 months of lockdown, strong regulations, and economic struggle, we’re carefully going back to our “normal” life. It’s a challenge to find the right balance between the well-being and health of the population, and a steady recovery after this critical period. 

To provide an answer to this challenging situation, Verhaert developed a demonstrator of a digital platform that uses AI-based Computer Vision to extract essential metrics from any room or area. The ‘Hai’ platform can bring COVID-related safety awareness to the public, allowing them to make informed decisions. It’s not a surveillance system, but a tool to empower people with relevant data about a specific space and to nudge them in a positive way towards a safer behavior. 

Components of the AI system

The digital platform consists of 3 components:

  1. Cameras to record a live feed of the people present in a particular area, the people entering and leaving the place.
  2. An edge AI system to process the footage on-the-fly. The system extracts the number of people, how many of them wear face masks, and measures the physical distance between individuals.
  3. Online dashboard to display this information in a friendly and educational way. 

Let’s say you work at your desk and you want to get something from the cafeteria. On the dashboard, you can see whether or not you should wait a while until fewer people are present at that place.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/HKdRn9P1SJ-HqE00Ow8y1MhqhjMBGZE45eMTYr_CbbrDXiG9_nXgG-A69xKQJlHMo9UBztFmxnvi8Wujzuczi3uSHXmOzPA7WolEFDlkMMEWYSP2yI5005V9StiR0flAtSjLgA44
Artificial Intelligence algorithms

Verhaert’s AILab trained the AI algorithms to calculate the number of people present in any space and detect how many of them are wearing face masks. What about the security and protection of private data? The cameras’ live feed never leaves the AI system. The edge AI device treats the information locally and only transfers processed and anonymous data to the dashboard. No human being sees, stores or transfers any images, safeguarding everyone’s identity and privacy.

Hai is about our health

The online platform is a tool to organize ourselves and our spaces, it doesn’t judge individuals. It allows us to access real-time information from anywhere to make informed consent whether or not to enter a room. Hai will display the total number of people in an area versus the maximum quantity allowed. Additionally, it creates a heat map of “close-encounters” (distance less than 1.5 meters) giving valuable information for cleaning, disinfecting, optimizing walking flows, and detecting bottlenecks.

Hai is about you

Hai will recognize in the near future  your gestures, so if you wave hello to the camera or raise a thumb, Hai will respond interactively. The digital platform has been created to demonstrate how AI technology can help us in managing our presence and common spaces better during COVID. Ensuring we all stay safe, not only at home.

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About VERHAERT

Since 1969, Verhaert Masters in Innovation has pioneered the field of product innovation. As a leading innovation group in integrated product development, Verhaert assists companies and entrepreneurs in the development and implementation of successful innovation processes. The group now has more than 200 employees with offices in Kruibeke, Gentbrugge, Kortrijk, Nivelles, Noordwijk, Utrecht and Aveiro.

For more information, please visit our website.

Contact
Nicky Sterck, Communicatie Verhaert Masters in Innovation
T +32 3 250 19 00 – M +32 491 24 98 64 – nicky.sterck@verhaert.com Jochem Grietens, Coordinator AILab at Verhaert Masters in Innovation
T +32 3 250 19 00 – jochem.grietens@verhaert.com

You can visit Verhaert at their website and follow them via their social media channels

This is a press release from the Verhaert Team