La Salle-URL presents IOTICAT, the first European university I+D centre specializing in the Internet of the future

The morning the first stone of the new IOTICAT (Internet of Things Institute of Catalonia) facilities of the Salle-URL was laid. It is going to be the first European I+D laboratory to focus on the Internet of Things and its evolution towards the Internet of the future, and is expected to be operational by 2020. The act marked the beginning of the construction of the facilities and of the transformation of a 2.000 m ² space in the La Salle-URL Campus which has been named IOTICAT

ioticat 2xIOTICAT has been co-financed by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) under the framework of singular institutional projects in I+D infrastructures in the generation of excellent research, the attraction of talent and the development of knowledge transfer activities. The project was selected and granted to La Salle-URL by the Department of Business and Knowledge of the Government of Catalonia in April 2016. The total cost of the rehabilitation is 3 million euros over a period of 3 years.

The new space IOTICAT will foment the creation of an internal eco-system creating innovation, transfer and research in which joint collaboration projects with companies, entrepreneurs, students and campus staff can be undertaken.  All these agents will work together to develop ideas which will shape the future, in a space where talent and research come together with society and business, and where we will capitalize on the student talent from our different faculties.

IOTICAT is strongly committed to the Catalan innovation eco-system and is aligned with the RIS3CAT, the intelligent research and innovation strategy in Catalonia which aims to consolidate the region as one the European leaders in knowledge and connecting technological and creative capacities in new and emerging sectors and regions.

The laboratory of technological base IOTICAT will represent the commitment of La Salle to entrepreneurship and to innovation and will be the centre where projects will be developed on anything related to the interaction of people with social trends and surrounding technology, with a strong focus on the Internet of Things, as well as the Internet of the Future. IOTICAT is based on design, proto-typing and scaling the products and services of tomorrow to society and the business world, as well as taking students and professors to the new realities and needs of future society.

The 2.000 m ² space will be dedicated to research, innovation and the promotion of talent and entrepreneurship. The first phase of IOTICAT will house our internal researchers in specialized laboratories.

Over the past 20 years, La Salle-URL has adapted to, focused on, and strengthened its I+D+I and now has 6 research groups which together form La Salle R&R, acknowledged by the ACC10 as a Technology Centre which undertakes over 70 projects per year in which over 80 researchers participate.  These projects may be international, national or regional and be funded either publically or privately.

A unique space of 2.000 m ²

IOTICAT will be a completely unique area located on the ground floor of the Campus Residence. It has been designed by the Terradas Arquitectos studio, led by Robert Terradas, director of the La Salle-URL Architecture School. The design creates a rich creative atmosphere and is modelled on other internationally renowned research centres.

The laboratory will have 4 different areas:

– A common social meeting point where people can debate, show and even try out any idea which has been conceived during the innovation process. Ideas can later be tried out in the design and testing processes.

– Creativity Room: spaces designated to fomenting creativity and information exchanges and where challenges are born into a creative and imaginative environment. It can be used for structured activities, but also to facilitate an idea flow which can be used to set off new innovation and research processes.

– Maker Space: workspace designed to provide tools to develop projects for the group of researchers from the areas of Architecture, Management and Engineering, together with designers, inventors and entrepreneurs. The objective of this area is to promote the participative development, facilitate the interdisciplinary learning and optimize co-creation activities. In terms of design, the laboratories are completely open-plan and a space to think, try out and test ideas and prototypes.

– City Lab: Space for the assembly and testing of technologies which are developed. It is the showroom where the final products of projects are displayed. An open space where different types of projects will be displayed and rated by others.  An open space where different projects will be carried out and prototypes in a controlled setting.

A new methodology: Learning by Challenge

A multidisciplinary team with a great variety of diverse profiles will work together at IOTICAT: researchers, companies, entrepreneurs, students, professors, etc.

IOTICAT will strengthen the La Salle-URL learning style, which has advocated the Learning-by-Doing methodology for many years now, by developing a new methodology, Learning by Challenge, which promotes learning through overcoming challenges and which is now being used all over our campus. This new laboratory will enable students to go further than case-studies, using new research and transfer techniques, with systemized processes to face tomorrow’s challenges.

Transfer to the business network

La Salle-URL aims to take advantage of the fact that we have companies which are working in this area and involve them in the generation of projects and challenges at IOTICAT. One of the objectives is to facilitate the integration of the business network into our systemized process of innovation and technology transfer.  Anyone can participate, from entrepreneurs, SMBs, large companies to local, national or international research centre.

This project is the final link in the strategic process to align the I+D+i carried out by the University with the needs of the business network and aims to bridge the gap between the Company and the University, by creating the knowledge transfer flow needed to improve the quality of life of our society.

The Drawit project finalist for the Innovation by Design Awards 2016

The prestigious competition Innovation by Design Awards organized by the Fast Company selected from more than 1700 projects those proposing innovative and disruptive to current business problems. One of the finalists in the category for students is Drawit, by Marc Expósito and Professor David Miralles, developed in the research Group in Media Technologies La Salle Campus Barcelona-URL within the area Seamless Interaction.

With Drawit, starting from a blank sheet in a tablet, the user is able to draw the objects which wants to interact with, and adapt them to his needs. For example, you can draw a lamp and a switch and move the action to the real world, ie with pictures of objects you can operate them in reality. Drawit aims to create a seamless interaction and has the will to transcend the screen to reinterpret the relationship between objects and people in order to achieve a more human and direct through visual language, leaving aside the usual interfaces and interaction functionalities.

Drawit, a Drawable User Interface from Marc Exposito on Vimeo.

Drawit has positioned itself among the finalists in an edition with more participants and categories than ever, and has earned a place in the next edition of the company magazine. The emphasis will be placed in the features and benefits of Drawit, giving an impact internationally. Drawit was also awarded in May in the 3rd edition of the international competition “Dream it. Code it. Win it” by the MIT Enterprise Forum of New York.

In addition, two former students of La Salle-URL, Judith Amores from Multimedia and Xavier Benavides from Electronic Engineering, along with other members of his teamwho are currently at MIT in Boston have also achieved a position of finalists in the same category with the project PsychicVR. His work allows to control the virtual environment through the power of concentration. That translates into a telekinetic, levitating or X-ray for the user, which through its concentration can interact with the virtual world that surrounds him and interact with him breaking the barriers of reality experience. With this project, the alumni will also see their work published in the magazine Fast Company and share experience with Drawit and the other finalists.


Students from La Salle-URL collaborate on a survey among Euroleague fans

Fans appreciate the Turkish Airlines Euroleague as one of the most prestigious competitions in all sports, and interact with it very often across different platforms, as appears from a survey with a large sample of nearly 20,000 respondents. This study was conducted by students from La Salle Campus Barcelona-URL Degree in Business Administration as both entities have a four-year partnership which also includes the revitalization of some social networks like Instagram during the celebration of the Final Four.

Euroleague fans respondents chose Euroleague as the second most prestigious competition, just behind the UEFA Champions League. Respondents also said they attend almost one in four home games of the Euroleague, while 85% of them also watch their teams on TV. Whether watching the games on TV or live, 91% rated the gaming experience as good or very good.  Euroleague fans respondents also followed Euroleague through social media increasingly, and 24% does it using the official application of the competition or Twitter account to stay tuned and related topics. In addition, 32% follows the Euroleague through Facebook.

Followers stand out as the main reason to follow the Euroleague is the game itself (37%), followed by their own teams (34%). Respondents identified the Euroleague with its sponsor, Turkish Airlines in the 91% of cases; 67% believe that competition is better thanks to its sponsors; and 46% said they were likely or very likely to use the products or services of those sponsors. The survey was conducted in nine languages ​​to meet the Euroleague basketball goal of directly get the views of their fans about the competition and how to improve it.

Three projects from La Salle-URL selected for the professional fair in audiovisual technology BIT 2016

bit_broadcast_2016The Professional Fair in Audiovisual Technology BIT 2016 organized by Ifema has selected three projects from La Salle Campus Barcelona-URL, EUNISON, DRAWIT and VOIXER within the first call R & D + BIT. In this initiative 25 research works will be presented, carried out both at the university and at entrepreneur level from May 24-26 May at IFEMA.
EUNISON (Extensive UNIfied-domain simulatiON of the Human Voice), is one of the research projects of the European Union on Future and Emerging Technologies (FET).Its main objective is to numerically simulate the production of the human voice and reach the dream of reproducing the performance of our vocal apparatus.  EUNISON will also allow working on diseases of the vocal cords or retooling speech therapists, among other applications.
This project of the Media Technologies Group (GTM) of La Salle-URL, conducted with researchers from KTH, Gipsa-Lab, CIMNE (UPC) and FAU-Erlange, involves such a novel and provocative goal that it has been funded by FET program of the European Commission with a budget of 2.96 million euros. The long-term prospects include the development of natural voice synthesis applicable to the generation of audiovisual content, such as film dubbing or complete simulation of virtual characters (including the actual process of generating voice).
DRAWIT is another project of GTM   La Salle-URL, which allows the relationship between people and objects through drawing on a blank page on a Tablet. Their researchers have designed a system that reinterprets existing interfaces for a mores visual and direct language. The user is able to draw the objects he or she wants to interact with and adapt them to his or her needs. The aim is to achieve a fluent interaction that has the will to transcend the screen through a visual language, putting aside the usual interfaces and functionalities. Likewise, DRAWIT   lets you program actions, allowing the remote control of almost all the appliances from the couch at home and other household objects. This project has recently won an award in the international competition “Dream it.Code it. Win it “, organized by the MIT Enterprise Forum of New York and the MIT Club of New York in the category” TradingScreen Global Technology Award “.
VOIXER is the third project of La Salle-URL selected for the first call for R & D + BIT. VOIXER integrates technologies of converting text into speech and voice transformation with the aim of developing a unique voice generation custom synthetic through an intuitive user interface. The development of this technology allows you to convert a text message in the type of desired voice (child, robot, man, woman …) from a single neutral voice in the desired language. In fields like video game production, VOIXER allow to have a synthetic voice in the production phase, reducing costs and delays leaving broadcaster intervention for the final stage of production. Even as the synthetic quality of the technology allows more natural and expressive voices, it would be possible to replace a professional broadcaster.
For the selection of projects, the Selection Committee of the fair BIT 2016 has taken into account the timing of the research carried out, the ability to influence the future development of the audiovisual industry, application potential, originality in its approach, method or object and the ability to gather and generate collaboration between different stakeholders.
The initiative R & D-BIT wants to recognize the work of professionals in the audiovisual research, showing society the most innovative projects. Those attending the fair can see first-hand the development of these projects through a series of informative posters and presentation sessions.

Marc Expósito, La Salle-URL student, winner of the 3rd edition of the international competition “Dream it. Code it. Win it of the MIT Enterprise Forum

Marc-ExpósitoMarc Expósito, a student of La Salle-URL and currently at MIT in Boston, was one of the eight winners of the international competition for students Dream it.Code it. Win it  in the category of “TradingScreen Global Technology Award”. Organized by the MIT Enterprise Forum of New York and the MIT Club of New York , the competition celebrates and rewards creativity in the field of computing. Expósito has already won awards in different areas: in 2014 he was selected by Apple to attend the  Apple World Wide Developers Conference achieving one of the 200 scholarships worldwide and in 2015 he was winner of Imagine Express in the category of social innovation, among others.
The theme of the 3rd edition of the competition was Engineering Solutions for a social good in entertainment and Exposito’s project Drawit, has been the only one outside the United States to receive this award, with an amount of $ 10,000.Expósito attended the ceremony held in New York (streaming
The Drawit project has been developed in the Research Group in Media Technologies of La Salle Campus Barcelona-URL within the group Seamless Interaction directed by David Miralles, co – author of the project. With Drawit, starting from a blank sheet in a Tablet, the user is able to draw the objects he or she wants to interact with and adapt it to his or her needs. Drawit   aims to create a seamless interaction and has the will to transcend the screen in order to reinterpret the relationship between objects and people. Thus, it is possible to achieve a more human and direct interaction through a visual language, putting aside the common interfaces and functionalities. Additionally, a research paper about the project, written by David Miralles and Marc Expósito will be presented in California next week at CHI Congress, the most important at world level on the relationship between Man-Machine.
From the Research Group in Media Technologies of La Salle Campus Barcelona-URL they have emphasized, “We are very proud to receive this award, which recognizes the efforts and good work of our research group full of students. It is an honour to be the only university outside the US, and we hope that this would set a precedent and inspire people around the world. This award validates how being able to think beyond what is established, imagining new tools that have an impact on the lives of users, is essential for progress in the world “, commented Marc Expósito and David Miralles.

6th meeting between Dynamap team members at La Salle-URL

DynamapLast February 26th Salle Campus Barcelona-URL hosted the Dynamap project participants. Throughout the morning, presentations and meetings were held, and in the afternoon, the foreign participants were invited to tour the facilities of the Campus with special attention to the acoustic laboratory of La Salle. Participants included Paola Coppi of AMAT (Agenzia Mobilità Ambiente Comune di Milano); Patrizia Bellucci and Riccardo Oliveri of the experimental center ANAS; Alessandro Bisceglie of the Milano- Bicocca University; Morena Borgonovo from the City of Milan; and Michael Gillé of the German company SoundPLAN GmbH.  DYNAMAP is a European project focusing on the development of sensors networks of low – cost to create noise maps in real time, which will provide that information to the general public. Within the project, the researchers at the Research Group on Media Technologies (GTM) of La Salle-URL work in the Anomalous Event Detection Algorithm (ANED) software. Seniors group researchers are Dr. Xavier Sevillano, Dr. Joan Claudi Socoró and Dr. Francesc Alías, with the collaboration of students as Gerard Ribera and Xavier Albiol. They have developed an algorithm to detect abnormal noises and discard those that come from different sound sources from traffic. Thus prevent that these noises alter the levels detected by sensors and cause an erroneous representation of the dynamic noise map. It’s the fourth European research project related to acoustics and signal processing in this group of La Salle-URL, which has positioned itself as one of the most active and a leader in acoustic part, and processing of audio and voice in Catalonia. The project, of 5 years (2014-2019), is already underway since the beginning of the project meeting in Rome on September 12th, 2014.In the first phase low-cost sensors and tools to manage, process and generate noise maps in real time were developed. In addition, it is also planned to monitor systems for a minimum period of one year to check the operation in critical situations.

Researchers at La Salle-URL develop a system that geolocates videos based on their audiovisual content

geolocalitzacióMembers of the Research Group in Media Technology of La Salle Campus Barcelona URL have developed a system to facilitate geolocation videos, which allow us to know where they have been recorded. This opens the door to many applications that validate the actual location of a large number of videos that are posted on the network and can be especially useful for companies.  The new system could be used in cases of missing people and situations of crisis, as well as to improve audiovisual searches on Internet. It can also be useful for recreational and leisure purposes.
The research group formed by Xavier Sevillano, Xavier Valero and Francesc Alías has designed a system that improves geolocation by incorporating audio, a parameter that had not been taken into account in studies of this type.  To do this, videos that had no text reference that would help the geographical location worldwide were used.
The system designed uses visual sets of video frames and also their audio. These parameters are merged and grouped, and through a computer algorithm designed by the researchers, are compared with videos previously captured and geolocalized all around the world, in order to get their location on the map (the study has used a base of about 10,000 geolocated sequences). The results are the geographical coordinates where it is more likely that the video was recorded. Researchers almost quadruple the accuracy of geolocation over existing systems based on the same database: 1% of cases at 1km; 3% approached within 10km; and 7.4% at 100km.These results represent a great breakthrough in studies of this specific area and in the future it may be possible to continue testing the system with a broader base of data. The study was published in the Information Sciences journal.