Embedded Systems and Cyber-Physical Systems
This is the largest relevance-based research field at UAS Technikum Wien and it covers every conceivable aspect of embedded systems and cyber-physical systems. This key research area is located within the Department of Embedded Systems and currently encompasses two areas of fundamental technology – the testing and verification of distributed embedded computer systems and embedded computer system design – as well as the application area of smart homes and assistive technologies.
A fourth area, which builds on our existing competencies in distributed embedded systems for real-time applications (reactive systems, cyber-physical systems), is being expanded all the time. This is the Internet of Things (IoT), which is primarily of relevance as a fundamental technology. For instance, IoT is the enabling technology for applications associated with smart homes, assistive technologies, eHealth systems, and intelligent production systems (Industry 4.0).
In addition to these, navigation & control (another fundamental technology) is being developed as a fifth area, primarily in view of the requirements of smart homes/domotics applications. Within this area, for example, distributed embedded vision systems are used for location finding, mapping, and obstacle recognition.
Thus, the key R&D area of embedded systems and cyber-physical systems encompasses the following fields and competencies:
- Testing and verification of distributed embedded computer systems Deductive verification, model checking, static code analysis, simulation, testing & diagnostics, checkpointing, runtime verification, post-silicon verification, debugging, HW/SW co-verification, fault injection, tools for the verification & testing of embedded systems
- Embedded computer system design Design space exploration, ESL design and system modeling, high-level synthesis, HW/SW co-design, SoC design, FPGA and ASIC design, embedded systems software design, multicore/task programming, OS for embedded systems, electronic design automation & tools
- Smart homes and assistive technologies Wireless/wired smart home & building automation systems, active assisted living (AAL), service robotics, barrier-free human-machine interfaces, Design for All
- Internet of Things Wireless & ad hoc networks, automotive networks, automation networks, smart sensors & actuators, distributed systems, real-time systems, clock synchronization in computer networks, interoperability aspects
- Navigation & control Computer vision, digital signal processing, embedded control, machine learning, autonomous & cyber-physical systems
The safety, security, real-time, reliability, and low-power aspects are highly relevant to all five of the areas listed above (as well as being characteristic of embedded and cyber-physical systems in general).
Renewable Urban Energy Systems
Until now, global energy supply has been dominated by fossil fuels (around 90% of energy sources) and, to a lesser extent, by nuclear power. Currently, renewable energy technologies account for just 10% of supply, although in Austria the figure is around a third. Climate change, the increasing scarcity of fossil resources, and dependency on regions that are in political crisis are the driving forces that are likely to culminate in an almost complete transformation of the global energy supply system.
From the point of view of technology, systems, the economy, and society, huge issues are posed by the expansion of renewable energies and their integration into urban energy systems, by smart grids for efficient energy distribution, and by the need to match demand to production from renewable sources. Densely populated urban areas with high energy densities represent a major challenge in this regard.
By working closely with university-based and non-university-based research bodies, the energy industry, and other Austrian companies, and by acting in an advisory capacity to politicians and public bodies, UAS Technikum Wien is constantly striving to expand R&D activities in this key area in accordance with the strategic direction set by the national and European innovations.
Competencies and fields of activity in the key research area of renewable urban energy systems:
- Systemic behavior of energy production components: Photovoltaics, small-scale wind power, electrical energy storage
- Renewable thermal and electrical energy systems and distribution grids (smart grids)
- Building technologies, urban technologies (smart city)
- New urban energy technologies (infrastructure for eMobility, etc.)
- Holistic ecological studies in the area of energy
- Sustainability performance measurement (technology assessment)
- Theoretical (modeling and simulation) plus experimental and metrological expertise (testing and monitoring)
- The university's ENERGYbase site as a living lab: Passive house with photovoltaic façade, small wind turbine, heat pumps, buffer tank, and e-fueling station
- Operation of a small-scale wind power plant in Lichtenegg (Lower Austria)
- Photovoltaic/storage/smart grid lab for training purposes
- Various small labs for renewable technologies (solar/heat pumps, etc.)
In addition, representatives from the department are involved in various national and international networks of experts, e.g. as deputy director of the photovoltaic research program of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and by helping to coordinate the Austrian Photovoltaics Technology Platform.
Secure Services, eHealth & Mobility
Health and mobility are some of the most basic needs of humanity, but they are also a major driver of innovation within the Austrian economy. In our information society, one of the key tasks is to ensure that people, organizations, and companies enjoy efficient and effective support through ICT-based, networked services.
This key area of interdisciplinary research is responsible for developing forward-looking concepts, technologies, and services in the area of eHealth and mobility, and making them available so that they can be embedded into organizational and societal ecosystems.
One of the core challenges here is to integrate the systems – which are currently heterogeneous – by means of interoperable interfaces and on the basis of international standards. In the same vein, innovative measuring instruments and sensors are increasingly having to be integrated as we move toward the “Internet of Things”. Mobile devices and applications have a key role to play because they serve as interfaces with users and, for this reason, human factors and usability make a substantial contribution. By combining wide-ranging sources of information (e.g. concerning environmental factors) with the use of existing databases (e.g. open data), holistic concepts can be produced (e.g. smart cities). In turn, this leads to the creation of additional knowledge and intelligent systems through the integration and analysis of data as part of these concepts.
When dealing with critical and sensitive data, security and safety are absolutely essential. This does not only apply to the core areas of eHealth and Mobility but also to the safeguarding of critical information infrastructures in general.
Competencies and fields of activity in the key research area of Secure Services, eHealth & Mobility:
- eHealth + mHealth technologies
- Interoperability & standards
- Security & privacy, analytics, and big data
- Medical, health, and sport applications
Competencies and research fields in the area of mobility
- Design and implementation of mobile and traffic services
- Finding solutions to urban challenges with a clear focus on mobility and by using integrative ICT systems
- Human factors in intelligent transportation systems
- Participative smart city concepts
- Data analysis, data integration, big data for smart cities
Competencies and research fields in the area of security & privacy
- Security & privacy frameworks for protecting sensitive data
- Concepts and technologies for protecting critical information infrastructures
An overview about the projects of the research focus is available here: http://healthy-interoperability.at
Tissue Engineering and Molecular Life Science Technologies
The hazards faced by the environment are as complex and diverse as those that pose a threat to human health. The only way to develop sustainable solution strategies is to acquire an understanding of the underlying molecular processes. The key R&D area of Molecular Life Science Technologies relies on the science of biochemistry to devise approaches that are based on molecular and cell biology techniques.
Tissue engineering makes it possible to replace damaged or destroyed tissue in patients by growing new functional tissue from healthy cells in the laboratory. In the field of regenerative medicine, it is primarily the stem cells that are stimulated to achieve regeneration. Cells can also be used as biosensors and detection systems for detecting hormonally active substances in the environment. With its reliance on cells and simple organisms such as bacteria or algae, ecotoxicology makes it possible to estimate the level of risk posed by chemicals in the environment. Within this context, molecular biology techniques are used to ascertain the effect of undesirable substances on people and the environment.
Competencies in the area of Tissue Engineering & Molecular Life Science Technologies:
1. Tissue engineering
- Biomaterials as bioactive 3D scaffolds with modifications for improved cell adhesion
- Bioreactors for the mechanical stimulation of muscle, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage
- Signal transduction/mechanotransduction models in 3D cell culture for optimized control of functional tissue regrowth
- Cellular disease models for reducing animal experimentation
2. Regenerative therapies
- Ascertaining how extracorporeal shockwave therapy works on skeletomuscular diseases and chronic wounds
- Using adult stem cells in cell therapies
3. Cell culture methods and molecular biology methods
- Methods for isolating primary cells from tissue
- Differentiation of adult stem cells in 2D and 3D cell culture systems
- Isolation and quantitation of proteins and nucleic acids
- Genome editing using the CRISPR/Cas system
4. Ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry
- Cell culture assays for quantitating hormonally active substances in environmental samples
- Ecotoxicological test methods
- Design and development of cell-based microsystems and biochips
Automation & Robotics
Automation and robotics are important core areas for developing efficient and versatile production systems that are designed to save resources. This calls for intelligent mechatronic systems that are not only user- and environmentally friendly but also powerful and adaptive. The driving force here is the digitization of plant, machinery, tools, workpieces, products, and product components. Innovative automation and robotics solutions combine mechanical engineering expertise with advanced sensor concepts and increasingly powerful algorithms. Networking and communication over the Internet and the ability to exploit the data obtained are facilitating all kinds of new technical concepts and business models. This “fourth industrial revolution” continues to generate a large number of research questions in the areas of system architecture, security, and direct collaboration between humans and machines.
- Competencies and fields of activity in the area of automation and robotics:
- Digital factory, Industry 4.0, smart manufacturing
- Intelligent automation of complex processes
- Production system integration and optimization
- New production methods (e.g. generative production)
- Industrial robotics, mobile and service robotics
- Mechatronic systems in automation and new mechatronic concepts for sensors and actuators
The development area of automation and robotics concentrates on application-oriented research projects that are aimed at addressing the following issues:
- Advanced automation: smart manufacturing in the digital factory, open- and closed-loop control of mechatronic systems
- Innovative sensor concepts: imaging sensor technology, intelligent sensors, multimodal sensor networks, and sensor fusion
- Robotics: specific issues from the fields of industrial/mobile/service robotics, collaborative robotics, intelligent industrial work assistants, cognitive robotics, and human-machine interfaces
- Generative production methods
- Materials engineering
- Industrial operations management: Business models, ontologies, and architectural models for the digital factory; integrated process simulation, control, and optimization
Through sponsored projects and with the support of its Austrian industrial partners, the university has managed to build a highly effective infrastructure for teaching and research. The university operates its own digital factory, which contains robot systems and hardware components from corporate partners, and software components for control and simulation. Having deliberately chosen a heterogeneous system landscape for the digital factory, the researchers are able to undertake highly realistic studies (geared particularly toward SMEs) and are making advances in the fields of automation solutions and robot systems.