Promising solutions to the solar panels, virtual learning and electronic skin

This autumn three new Business Finland funded Research to business (R2B, previously TUTLI)-projects started at the University of Oulu.  The aim is to create new business from research results. The projects produce promising solutions related to nanopatterned functional foil, virtual learning environment and sensing components for skin. 

Dr. Wei Cao and co-workers from Nano and Molecular Systems research unit have researched properties of nanostructures in nature. They have developed a synthetic nanopatterned functional foil by mimicking beneficial properties from the leaves of plants. One potential application of the foil is in solar cells. The foil improves the anti-reflectivity and hydrophobicity of solar panel increasing competitiveness and revenue of solar energy production. In addition, the project will explore further possible applications for the technology.

Key developments in university education are digitalization and gamification, which aim to improve student's learning experience and the quality of teaching. The project will pilot the platform and tools that can be used to flexibly develop, implement and share learning solutions related to the teaching of project-based activities. The solution will utilize the over 15 years long research work made by Prof. Jaakko Kujala and a research team from Industrial Engineering and Management research unit. It will help students to learn how to manage projects in a virtual environment that mimics the real-life situation.

Electronic skin (e-skin) is a thin, flexible and adaptable electronic material that mimics the functions and properties of human skin and can be widely used in healthcare, industry, robotics and a new generation of prostheses. In the coming decades, e-skin will be one of the key technologies in the societal shift towards intelligent automation and human and machine evolution. The aim of project is to develop the technical implementation of a new type of sensor component used in e-skins and to prepare for its commercialization. The sensor component, abbreviated KNBNNO, is based on a material developed by Assistant Professor Yang Bai from Microelectronics research unit. It can recognize mechanical, thermal and optical signals simultaneously. This will provide a novel solution to e-skin sensing components that allow machines to mimic the human skin feelings.                     

Since 2012 University of Oulu has got R2B (previously TUTLI) funding to 40 different projects. From them currently 11 new startup-companies have been established.

Last updated: 1.9.2020