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VTT has developed a control system for the industrial robots used for manufacturing of single-item products that substantially cuts the setting and programming time for the robot. Thanks to the new innovations, the time required for programming a robot can now be counted in minutes at best, when earlier, using traditional programming methods, it could take an hour or more. "The new solution significantly enhances the efficiency of productive operations and opens up new opportunities for utilising robots," says Tapio Heikkilä, Principal Scientist at VTT. The unique features of the new control system include, for instance, the use of two force/torque sensors, when traditionally robotic systems have one or none at all. The purpose of a force/torque sensor is to recognise the pressure on the tool. In the VTT solution, one sensor is attached to a wireless control stick by which the robot can be steered through the operation step by step. The control stick and the control system operating in real time make it possible for a human controller to work in the same working space with the robot and control the robot's movements directly using a control stick attached to the robot or the load. When the human steers the robot from a short distance, the interaction between the human and the robot becomes easier. "The interactive solution makes it possible to take advantage of the human observation capacity for carrying out the required task," Heikkilä says. Thanks to the interactive system, both the teaching of new tasks and continuous paths to the robot and direct control of the robot become much faster than before. This is particularly useful in the manufacturing of test pieces and single-item products, because heavy objects and even the entire assembly process can be moved in a flexible manner. In the traditional solution, the robot's work path is programmed slowly one point at a time, and the robot unvaryingly repeats the predefined task. Reprogramming and even minor variations in such factors as the locations of the items being handled cause immediate errors. Quick programming of robots and human-robot interaction will become even more important features in the industrial internet era, when flexible production and short runs are essential competitive assets for companies. Traditional hard automation meets such requirements quite poorly. "When the customer has a versatile range of single-item products to process, efficient partial automation may be a competitive solution," Heikkilä points out. The robot solution developed by VTT for its part boosts Finland's chances of succeeding as a manufacturing economy. The solution is suited to tasks requiring a high level of expertise, where the robot does the hard work and the people do the brainwork. The new solution also enables service models to become more common in the industrial internet era. The data measured from the sensors of the robot can be stored in a cloud service, which makes it possible to run different analyses as a remote service. The robot's performance can also be monitored in real time through the internet. The control solution developed can be applied to any robots with an open control interface. In practice, this means several major robot manufacturers. The solution was developed in the HEPHESTOS project within the 7th EU Framework Programme, and, in addition to robot manufacturers, VTT expects it also to interest the industry using robots and system suppliers. The three-year HEPHESTOS project that ended in October involved nine research organisations and companies from six countries: Fraunhofer IPK, Easy-Robot and ME Messsysteme from Germany; Universidad Politechnica de Madrid from Spain; G-Robots from Hungary; Universiteit I Agder from Norway; Comau Robotics from Italy; and Jot Automation and VTT from Finland. Explore further: Robot can assess its situation and call a human for help when it needs assistance


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Home > Press > New record in nanoelectronics at ultralow temperatures Abstract: The first ever measurement of the temperature of electrons in a nanoelectronic device a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero was demonstrated in a joint research project performed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Lancaster University, and Aivon Ltd. The team managed to make the electrons in a circuit on a silicon chip colder than had previously been achieved. Although it has long been possible to cool samples of bulk metals even below 1 millikelvin, it has proved very difficult to transfer this temperature to electrons in small electronic devices, mainly because the interaction between the conducting electrons and the crystal lattice becomes extremely weak at low temperatures. By combining state-of-the-art micro and nanofabrication and pioneering measurement approaches the research team realized ultralow electron temperatures reaching 3.7 millikelvin in a nanoelectronic electron tunnelling device. A scientific article on the subject was published in Nature Communications on Jan. 27, 2016. This breakthrough paves the way towards sub-millikelvin nanoelectronic circuits and is another step on the way to develop new quantum technologies including quantum computers and sensors. Quantum technologies use quantum mechanical effects to outperform any possible technology based only on classical physics. In general, many high sensitivity magnetic field sensors and radiation detectors require low temperatures simply to reduce detrimental thermal noise. This work marks the creation of a key enabling technology which will facilitate R&D in nanoscience, solid-state physics, materials science and quantum technologies. The demonstrated nanoelectronic device is a so-called primary thermometer, i.e., a thermometer which requires no calibration. This makes the technology very attractive for low temperature instrumentation applications and metrology. The breakthrough was made possible by bringing together internationally-leading groups and experts each of whom have their own track record of achievements in the fields of nanotechnologies and high performance sensors (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd), custom low-noise electronics (Aivon Ltd, Finland) and ultralow temperature refrigeration and device characterization (Ultra Low Temperature Physics group and Quantum Technology Centre at Lancaster). VTT is looking into possibilities together with BlueFors Cryogenics to commercialise the primary thermometer component. Dr Mika Prunnila, Nanoelectronics Research Team Leader at VTT, said: "Creating a new measurement tool for calibration-free thermometry is a big step forward. This is an important device for quantum machines which need the low temperature environment in order to work and the device is available right now for benchmarking different systems." Dr Rich Haley, Head of Ultra Low Temperature Physics at Lancaster, said: "This is a notable achievement in that the team has finally broken through the 4 millikelvin barrier, which has been the record in such structures for over 15 years." Dr Jon Prance of the Lancaster Quantum Technology Centre said: "Not only have we measured the coldest ever nanoelectronics temperature, but we have also demonstrated techniques which open the door to even lower temperatures." About VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd is the leading research and technology company in the Nordic countries. We use our research and knowledge to provide expert services for our domestic and international customers and partners, and for both private and public sectors. We use 4,000,000 hours of brainpower a year to develop new technological solutions. VTT in social media: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @VTTFinland. For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.


Illustration of single-electron tunnelling through an oxide tunnel barrier in the primary thermometer device. The measured tunnel current is used in determining the absolute electron temperature. Credit: VTT The first ever measurement of the temperature of electrons in a nanoelectronic device a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero was demonstrated in a joint research project performed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Lancaster University, and Aivon Ltd. The team managed to make the electrons in a circuit on a silicon chip colder than had previously been achieved. Although it has long been possible to cool samples of bulk metals even below 1 millikelvin, it has proved very difficult to transfer this temperature to electrons in small electronic devices, mainly because the interaction between the conducting electrons and the crystal lattice becomes extremely weak at low temperatures. By combining state-of-the-art micro and nanofabrication and pioneering measurement approaches the research team realized ultralow electron temperatures reaching 3.7 millikelvin in a nanoelectronic electron tunnelling device. A scientific article on the subject was published in Nature Communications on Jan. 27, 2016. This breakthrough paves the way towards sub-millikelvin nanoelectronic circuits and is another step on the way to develop new quantum technologies including quantum computers and sensors. Quantum technologies use quantum mechanical effects to outperform any possible technology based only on classical physics. In general, many high sensitivity magnetic field sensors and radiation detectors require low temperatures simply to reduce detrimental thermal noise. This work marks the creation of a key enabling technology which will facilitate R&D in nanoscience, solid-state physics, materials science and quantum technologies. The demonstrated nanoelectronic device is a so-called primary thermometer, i.e., a thermometer which requires no calibration. This makes the technology very attractive for low temperature instrumentation applications and metrology. The breakthrough was made possible by bringing together internationally-leading groups and experts each of whom have their own track record of achievements in the fields of nanotechnologies and high performance sensors (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd), custom low-noise electronics (Aivon Ltd, Finland) and ultralow temperature refrigeration and device characterization (Ultra Low Temperature Physics group and Quantum Technology Centre at Lancaster). VTT is looking into possibilities together with BlueFors Cryogenics to commercialise the primary thermometer component. Dr Mika Prunnila, Nanoelectronics Research Team Leader at VTT, said: "Creating a new measurement tool for calibration-free thermometry is a big step forward. This is an important device for quantum machines which need the low temperature environment in order to work and the device is available right now for benchmarking different systems." Dr Rich Haley, Head of Ultra Low Temperature Physics at Lancaster, said: "This is a notable achievement in that the team has finally broken through the 4 millikelvin barrier, which has been the record in such structures for over 15 years." Dr Jon Prance of the Lancaster Quantum Technology Centre said: "Not only have we measured the coldest ever nanoelectronics temperature, but we have also demonstrated techniques which open the door to even lower temperatures." More information: D. I. Bradley et al. Nanoelectronic primary thermometry below 4 mK, Nature Communications (2016). DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS10455


For example, when a pedestrian is approaching a dangerous crossing the reflector can be made to blink and alert car drivers. In the future, it could communicate directly with smart traffic lights or cars to warn e.g. a turning truck driver that a pedestrian is in the area of a crossing. The Internet of Things adds a touch of magic to everyday objects The new smart reflector is a concrete example of enhancing everyday objects with completely new functionalities by connecting them to the Internet of Things (IoT). For example, a group of kindergarten kids can be given a common indicator colour that makes it easier to keep the group together. If one child wanders too far from the others, his or her reflector can be made to blink in a bright warning colour. It is also possible to connect the reflector to other on-line activities such as mobile gaming, which could make it more attractive among teenagers. Reflectors could be set to shine in a common tribal colour or to react in real-time to gaming actions and to the track to which the user is listening. "We are actively seeking new concepts and ideas based on which IoT technology can be used to create new types of services and bring a little more magic into our everyday lives," explains Vesa Pentikäinen, Research Team Leader at VTT. The smart reflector prototype will be publicly presented for the first time at Coreplast Laitila's stand (Hall 4.2, stand B15) at the Paperworld 2016 Trade Show in Frankfurt, Germany, 1/30/2016 - 2/2/2016. Explore further: Smart technology makes its way into lighting


Final industrial evaluations of the platform were assessed just before completion of the project at the end of November 2015, and the project team believe that the finalised platform has the potential to contribute positively to supporting projected growth of data streams and stored data. Financial and web streaming case studies were used to provide industrial data and data volumes and to effectively evaluate the newly developed technologies. The results of the project could be of significant benefit to a number of sectors. The term 'big data' describes streams of information that are so large and complex that traditional data processing applications often cannot cope. By finding patterns through using advanced analytics however, new business opportunities and smarter applications could be opened up in numerous fields. For example, patterns in big data can be analysed to better understand customer behaviour and preferences by including social media data, browser logs and text analytics. Retailers can use big data analytics to optimise their stock based on social media-generated predictive models, while big data analytics can also help machines and devices become smarter and more autonomous (in operating self-driving cars, for example). There is therefore huge business potential in effectively handling big data. A key issue up to now however has been how to effectively manage such large and complex information streams, with online information outstripping network capacity. The internet now performs millions of tasks, from online banking to tsunami monitoring, and data traffic volumes are expected to grow twelve-fold by 2018. Typically big data has been processed by two main components. Firstly, a data generator to produce large streams of information that need to be filtered prior to storage in order to reduce volume and secondly an application that can reply to an end users request; a financial transaction seeking authorisation from a banking database for example. However, real time constraints are often placed on big data streams and on processing, i.e. the user needs an answer quickly. The JUNIPER project sought to address this challenge by developing a real time platform capable of supporting a wide range of high-performance big data applications. The ultimate goal has been to ensure that demands for information from end users can be met through the real time exploitation of streaming data sources and stored data. The project brought together a number of leading industrial organisations involved in the development of products and services that utilise big data systems, leading software developers and technology companies operating in the field of advanced computing systems. Explore further: Nortal and VTT start cooperation in the fast-growing big data market More information: For further information please visit the JUNIPER project website: www.juniper-project.org/

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