Smart technologies created at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) Centre of Real Time Computer Systems remind broadcasts from future – smart home system Snapas, smart kitchen Fėja digital TV Gala and smart refrigerators that can order the products themselves are only a few successful projects implemented by the Centre.
Imagine coming home in freezing late autumn night: you step in to find your house warm and cozy and your hallway filled with soft light dimmed to your preferred level. The kitchen plays a video message on how to make dinner. Refrigerator beeps to announce that it has ordered the necessary products from the supermarket and the courier will deliver them promptly. Sounds like science fiction? Not necessarily.
‘I can honestly say that we had ideas on developing smart things when no one in the world dared to think of them’, says professor Egidijus Kazanavičius, head of KTU Real Time Computer Systems Centre.
Ahead of Google
‘In 2000, when we started to develop smart home system, everyone said that it would be too expensive for an average consumer, that the system would cost more than a house. Today, our technology is being successfully implemented in private homes and hotels, and there is a huge need for individual elements of the system, such as a heating app’, Kazanavičius says.
The researcher distinguishes “smart” things from “intelligent”, as the latter can take decisions by themselves.
‘Intelligent things can learn – they register our behaviour, body position, temperature, and combining it with the environmental information such as outside temperature and weather forecasts decide on the temperature and lighting of the room’, Kazanavičius says.
‘Recently I’ve found out that Google intends to release the temperature regulator into the market, which can adjust the needed room temperature without human intervention. We have created one ages ago’, Kazanavičius smiles.
One of the successful implementations of the KTU Real Time Computer Systems Centre research team projects is a smart refrigerator.
‘We started to develop the first prototype of the smart refrigerator about 10 years ago. During that time we solved a lot of technical problems, such as how to install the door so as the built-in computer heating would not damage the products, or how to integrate the computer of the refrigerator with the company’s accounting system’, Kazanavičius explains.
Today, smart refrigerators created at KTU are being installed at the leading research company Thermo Fisher Scientific laboratories around the world. The researchers no longer have to track research materials or to send orders, as everything is done by smart refrigerators.
Kazanavičius’ team of researchers have applied the same idea to create a self-service parcel terminals with cooling function, where customers can pick up pre-ordered food products. The idea is being implemented with the business partners LL Optic.
Welfare Technologies Are Necessity not Luxury
Sceptics often say that smart technologies are luxury products. However, this attitude does not apply to welfare technologies developed at KTU Real Time Computer Systems Centre, such as health real-time monitoring system Gudris, which registers human physiological parameters during workout, and warns about the risk of overexertion.
‘We are taking part in a European project of creating a recreational area model. Our partner is a resort town Birštonas municipality. In one of the sanatoriums we have installed a prototype which monitors patient parameters (their position, behaviour, etc.) in real time. The system provides data to identify potential risks and enables to react quickly’, Kazanavičius says.
KTU researchers are already working at another crucial application of smart systems – their transfer into cars.
‘Smart car would take decisions in emergency situations and would also discipline drivers. Lithuania is still behind in implementing European security requirements, as all cars should have an emergency button installed which allows to call for help in the case of an accident with a single click’, says Kazanavičius.
KTU Santaka Valley: for The Cooperation Between Research and Business
KTU Real Time Computer Systems Centre has recently moved into new premises of KTU Science and Technology Centre and Technological Business Incubator.
‘Now, when all the research potential is concentrated in one building I expect a huge qualitative breakthrough in research. The fact that we will be physically close to each other, will enable closer cooperation – joint projects, optimum utilization of equipment. This is an implementation of cluster ideology – we are encouraged to think about a project as a whole, consisting of different parts which can be implemented by different research institutes, but at the same University’, Kazanavičius says.
Kazanavičius believes that such centre is crucial for creating synergies of science and business. Education and business representatives will meet in a joint exhibition spaces, will participate in events together.
The researcher is convinced that KTU Santaka Valley is similar to research and business centres in Denmark and Sweden, and other countries. In the future, the professor envisions an experimental production department established near the Valley.
‘We are interested in practical applications of research. If we wish to live a respectful and wealthy life here, in Lithuania, technology is the main driving force. We are certainly able to do so – I know a number of successful high-tech companies, which all produce for other countries’, says Kazanavičius.