easics provides free tool to evaluate the performance of your AI application on its nearbAITM semiconductor IP

embedded AI close to your sensors

nearbAI is easics’ trademarked product for embedded neural network inference using digital hardware, applied close to your sensors. Its prime application is pattern matching in the supervised learning paradigm. nearbAI consists of two parts: a configurable semiconductor IP core that gets instantiated on your custom ASIC or on an FPGA, and software tools to configure your IP core. It is offered in a licensing model. You can contact us for a free nearbAI Estimator tool license to evaluate the performance of your AI application on the nearbAI IP.

high performance, low power, low cost – your choice

nearbAI targets embedded pattern matching applications close to the sensors, where at least one of the following plays a pivotal role: ultra-low and non-variable inference latency for real-time reaction speeds, ultra-low power consumption for battery-powered operation, lowest hardware component cost for high-volume applications. These applications include novel ultra-low latency AR and VR glasses, battery-powered healthcare wearables, human-in-the-loop medical diagnosis equipment, smart product scanners for retail applications, self-navigating drones, collision-avoidance in vehicles, sophisticated in-line quality inspection in industry 4.0 and earth observation in satellites. Targeted sensors include various types of image sensors, MEMS-microphones, and any novel sensors.

nearbAI Estimator view

evaluate and finetune your application using nearbAI software

The starting point in the nearbAI design flow is a trained neural network model. You can create that using your preferred machine learning framework such as PyTorch, TensorFlow or Keras. The nearbAI Estimator tool reads in your trained model as an ONNX file. Besides that trained model, you input your desired hardware configuration and constraints in the Estimator tool. The latter reflects aspects of your use case such as targeted hardware cost (silicon area), inference speed and latency, and power consumption. The nearbAI Estimator tool shows the latency for each layer of the neural network and highlights any hardware bottlenecks. This allows you to interactively finetune the constraints, evaluate the resulting performance, and arrive at the optimal configuration for your use case, without having to build hardware or run endless simulations. 

nearbAI design flow overview

generate your proprietary nearbAI core

Next, you use the nearbAI Core Generator tool to generate your proprietary nearbAI semiconductor IP core. You further use the nearbAI Network Compiler to generate the microsequence that will sit in memory next to the IP core to run your neural network. Doing ASIC and FPGA design services as well, easics is ready to assist you in integrating nearbAI on your chip.

optimize your return-on-investment.  from any FPGA implementation to your ASIC instantiation.

nearbAI supports efficient hardware mapping on your custom ASIC as well as on Xilinx and Intel FPGAs. Evaluation boards using FPGA or FPGA System-on-Module (SoM) are available, and support plug-in of your ASIC test-chip. The same nearbAI core can run several neural networks using different microsequences. This way, a nearbAI-based product supports field upgrades as well as on-the-fly hot switching between neural networks in a running application. The fine-grained configuration options further allow you to generate several flavors of a nearbAI IP core, such as a low performance and a high performance version. This enables the efficient roll out of a product family. All in all, nearbAI future proofs and optimizes the ROI of your embedded AI developments.

we’ll be back

From 5 till 7 October, easics participated in VISION, the world’s leading trade fair for machine vision in Stuttgart. easics gave live nearbAI demos, and presented it in a talk at the Industrial VISION days, organized by VDMA Machine Vision. On 14 October, easics presented nearbAI at the Bits&Chips Event at the Evoluon in Eindhoven. Upcoming opportunities to meet up and see live demos are the IP-SoC conference in Grenoble on 1 and 2 December 2021, and Embedded World in Nuremberg from 15 till 17 March 2022.

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Contact

Contact easics for more information and for a free nearbAI evaluation license to try it out yourself: info@easics.be

https://www.easics.com/deep-learning-fpga/
https://www.easics.com/deep-learning-asic/

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

Ground-breaking rapid Covid test as a result of strong partnership between imec & Verhaert

The leading micro-electronics research center imec and the pioneering product development group Verhaert Masters in Innovation entered a strong partnership to ultrafast develop a ground-breaking rapid Covid test based on breath sampling and accelerated PCR technology. A functional prototype will now be commercialized by MiDiagnostics.

Imec announces collaboration with MiDiagnostics for commercialization

Imec and the Flemish government have announced the collaboration between imec and its spinoff MiDiagnostics to further commercialize imec’s breath sampling and ultrafast PCR technology. Together with the Verhaert group they realized a functional prototype through an intense high-risk/high-gain process. 

This ground-breaking innovation creates an almost holy grail of testing for the Covid-19 pandemic. The device is able to collect sample material from people through breathing rather than the widely-used nasal pharyngal sampling. On top of that, ultrafast PCR can be performed directly, allowing for extremely fast time-to-results. This provides a far more comfortable sample collection, as well as more efficient processing.

Collaboration imec & Verhaert

At the end of 2019, Verhaert and imec entered a strategic collaboration to co-develop a breakthrough solution based on imec technology platforms. In this context Verhaert also invested in the imec.istart fund to provide seed capital to new technology start-ups.

In January 2020, Verhaert and imec partnered up for this breakthrough rapid Covid PCR test development. In no time, they built a breath sampling consumable containing imec’s innovative chip solution and a high-end PCR processing instrument. These developments will be used as an assay and technology development platform to assess aspects beyond clinical performance. This is a significant step towards a real-life solution and allowing for future expansion into domains other than Sars-Cov-like cancers.

This collaboration required constant interaction between very different disciplines, for example biochemistry and chip development on imec’s part, and product development skills such as optical & thermal design, software development, mechatronics, electronics and mechanics from Verhaert.

To accomplish this strict timeframe, a distinctive and agile project management approach was needed for fast decision-making and pursuing a parallel-path approach.

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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:

ICsense and Sapiens join forces around deep brain stimulation

THE STORY OF SAPIENS AND DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION

Sapiens Steering Brain Stimulation (Eindhoven, NL) is founded in 2011 as a spin-out of Philips Research and got integrated into Medtronic in 2014. Their mission: to revolutionize personalized brain stimulation and treat neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Sapiens selected ICsense (www.icsense.com) for the development of the core component in its product, the stimulation ASIC (Application Specific IC).

DBS is used to treat neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, the right picture shows the custom 40-channel ASIC developed for Sapiens

DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) is an effective and well-established treatment; an implanted device sends electrical impulses to carefully selected parts of the brain to treat neurological diseases. By personalizing these impulses using advanced implanted leads with 40 individual stimulation points, Sapiens aims to improve the therapeutic effect of deep brain stimulation, shorten the clinical procedure, and improve patient comfort by reducing stimulation-induced side effects as shown in the picture below. 

The left picture shows a conventional DBS, while the right picture shows Sapiens steering brain stimulation with 40 configurable electrodes leading to improved directional stimulation

FIRST OF A KIND

From day one, it was clear that a custom neuromodulation chip (or ASIC) was essential since a DBS device with 40 stimulation points was never done before. Standard deep brain implants have 3-5 electrodes and are driven by an IPG (Implanted Pulse generator) in the chest. Sapiens’ solution used an adapted chest based IPG design that supplies the stimulation pulses through the lead to the ASIC which is on the patient’s skull. The ASIC distributes the pulses through a high-voltage matrix and is able to sense all electrodes with artefact reduction and to measure impedances. Powering of the ASIC is done over the lead through DC-AC-DC conversion. 

THE PATH TO THE BEST ASIC FOR SAPIENS

Sapiens selected ICsense based on its impressive track record in medical implantable ASICs. The team at Sapiens appreciated the transparent and honest communication of ICsense and chose the Leuven company to be their preferred custom ASIC design partner. ICsense’s ASIC expertise but also its system level thinking was an added value for Sapiens in order to take this next step.

At the start of the cooperation, both teams from Sapiens and ICsense worked very close together on the feasibility of the target architecture and balancing the trade-offs of the full system. Given the leapfrog in the state-of-the-art and many challenges, ICsense’s flexibility and open way of working, proved to be key to the success. By advancing at the pace of the customer and taking the time to explore, the best solution for Sapiens’ system was found. 

Hubert Martens, VP Product Development and co-founder of Sapiens

Hubert Martens, Vice President of Product Development and co-Founder at Sapiens, confirms: “ICsense developed this first-of-a-kind and innovative ASIC for stimulation and measurement in our 40-electrode deep brain implant. Next to the high technical and quality standards that ICsense employs, we strongly appreciate their open, honest and flexible way of working, which was key to the success of this development.

By combining ICsense’s ASIC design expertise with Sapiens in-depth system know-how, both companies managed together to define the right set of ASIC specifications and system requirements (lead integration, packaging, …). An important factor for this cooperation was having a person at Sapiens who has in-depth knowledge of electronics and the system. 

We selected ICsense, because they have all the right profiles in-house, unlike aggregation partners that just bring together different companies to do the work without creating additional value. In every step of the development, we could rely on ICsense’s support and have in-depth and open discussions without any unpleasant surprises. ICsense does not work as a consultant but as a true partner we can trust,“ concludes Martens.

BEYOND THE DESIGN

Based on the specifications, ICsense designed, manufactured and tested this IC for full functionality in its lab facilities in Leuven, Belgium. In parallel, ICsense coordinated the test development with the selected OSAT (Outsourced Semiconductor and Test) partner, to test the custom chip in production with high test coverage (medical grade) and at the agreed price. 

Also, in this last phase of the project, a close and open cooperation was key, with regular status meetings, in-depth reviews and even changes in specifications along the way to further optimize the system. ICsense proved to be flexible throughout the whole development process, which led to a successful ASIC that could steer the 40 electrodes from a conventional IPG, measure the brain signals and brain impedance with high-accuracy and low power and fit into a small cannister for implantation.  

NOT A ONE-SHOT COOPERATION

As a follow-up of this fruitful cooperation, ICsense designed two more ICs targeting Sapiens’ next-generation product requirements. Part of this work was financed via public funding (ECSEL InForMED, BRAINS Eurostars). 

Bram De Muer, CEO of ICsense

Bram De Muer, CEO of ICsense, comments: “ICsense also loves working with startup companies. They bring projects that go beyond the state-of-the-art and require an ASIC partner that can adapt to their changing ideas, is flexible and open and works closely with them to co-optimize the entire system. That’s a perfect fit with the ICsense way of working and culture: open, honest and a strong partner for its customers.” 

“Thanks to our company culture”, continues De Muer, “we have a strong and stable growing turnover and one of the highest employee retention figures in industry. This is important, also for startups. It proves the successful execution of projects, and all know-how stays in the company. When customers return years later, they will see the same people who build their first ASIC. And happy customers always come back….”

In 2014, Medtronic (NASDAQ: MDT) acquired Sapiens for an all-cash upfront consideration of approximately $200M. Medtronic established a global research and development center for its Neuromodulation business at Sapiens’ facility based in Eindhoven (The Netherlands).

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About ICsense

ICsense -an independent subsidiary of the TDK group- is Europe’s premier IC design company. ICsense’s core business is ASIC development and supply and custom IC designservices. ICsense has the largest fab-independent European design group with world-class expertise in analog, digital, mixed-signal and high-voltage IC design. The company develops and supplies customer exclusive ASIC solutions for the automotive, medical, industrial and consumer market compliant with ISO9001, ISO13485, IEC61508-ISO26262.

Website: www.icsense.com
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Contact
Press contact
Jeroen Van Ham
vanham@icsense.com
+32(0)589721

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

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

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