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An overview of the recent news about ETRO.

Latest - NEWS

Ocean plastic detection by satellite images? 11.04.2022

Professor Jonathan Chan, ETRO guest professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, noted that the ideal sensor to detect marine plastic should possess more spectral measurement capabilities at SWIR wavelengths.

Chan is working on the Muss2 project, which is using spectral and spatial enhancement methods to generate simulated Earth orbit hyperspectral shortwave infrared images and data from the Copernicus Sentinel 2 satellite using spectral response function modelling.

Hyperspectral images taken from Earth orbit are not always available and their coverage is not as large as conventional missions, such as Landsat and Sentinel. To overcome these limitations, Chan said the Muss2 team will apply a sparse theory-based method to enhance multispectral images from the Sentinel 2 satellite. The expected results are what he described as synthetic Sentinel 2 hyperspectral images at a spatial resolution of 10m, with the same coverage as Sentinel 2 multispectral images.

‘So far, we have been able to generate such images based on Hyperion and Prisma spectral configurations, [and] quantitative assessments are promising,’ he said. ‘In addition, we apply a deep learning-based method for the spatial enhancement of Prisma images to assist in the detection of smaller objects.’

Chan added: ‘All the data inputs for the project are from open sources, including Sentinel 2, Hyperion and Prisma. The launch of Prisma in 2019 was a major milestone, and soon EnMap will be launched. These are full stretch hyperspectral images at 400-2,500nm with hundreds of spectral bands and represent the most powerful Earth orbit data source for environmental monitoring. The potential is not yet fully understood nor exploited, and scientific communities are just beginning to understand all the pre-processing protocols and data quality issues.’

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INTOWALL: detection of leaks and isolation 25.03.2022

PROJECT: INTOWALL: detection of leaks and isolation in walls
Our buildings generate 35% of the CO2-emissions and 40% of the energy use. 75% of our buildings need to be energetically renovated. In order to do so, one needs to know what the status is of the current isolation, and if there are any water leaks. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel researches with a consortium of partners towards a unique, patented technique to look into the walls without breaking them. With a compact and mobile radar system you can "read" your walls. This project is part of the Smart Hub Cleantech, climate ambitions of the province and the communes.

Partners: Vrije Universiteit Brussel i.s.m. WTCB, Green Energy Park, BAM, ING, Flux50 en Alter Reim.

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Jeroen elected as a new member of the Young Academy! 10.03.2022

The Young Academy is an interdisciplinary and interuniversity group of Flemish young top researchers and artists with a personal look on science, society, art and policy. Via opinions and events about contemporary themes, it will contribute to the public imaging of science and to the debate on science policy.

Jeroen Van Schependom was elected, with 10 other members, for a period of 5 years (April 2022 - March 2027)

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Communications of the ACM – Holograms on the Horizon 22.12.2021

The department of Electronics and Informatics (ETRO) of VUB and imec built-up a reputation in the domain of computer-generated holography. This technology is key to providing high-end media content for holographic display and printing. Recently, ETRO presented a novel approach combining classical raytracing approaches in computer graphics and state-of-the-art computer-generated holography techniques. In an interview in Communications of the ACM, David Blinder discusses together with other experts from MIT and the universities of Stanford and Cambridge the challenges that are currently being faced.

Links to relevant literature:

• Signal processing challenges for digital holographic video display systems, Signal Processing: Image Communication 70 (2019) 114-130.
• "Photorealistic computer generated holography with global illumination and path tracing," Opt. Lett. 46, 2188-2191 (2021).

Picture taken in ETRO visual testing lab

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JPEG Pleno Holography: an international standard in 2024... 22.12.2021

At its 93rd meeting in October 2021, the JPEG committee – well-known for its omnipresent image compression standard – selected coding technology proposed by the department of Electronics and Informatics (ETRO) of VUB and imec as basis for the JPEG Pleno Holography standard. This will be the first international standard specifying a holographic coding solution. The standard is aspiring a versatile solution for efficient compression of holograms for a wide range of applications such as holographic microscopy, tomography, interferometry, printing and display. The final specification is planned to be published as an international standard in early 2024.

Green Energy Park officially opened! 26.11.2021

The Green Energy Park in Zellik was recently officially openend. ETRO will be part of this initiative in the context of Hospital of the Future, together with the UZ Brussels. This unique collaboration between technological and medical experts makes it possible to develop the sustainable care and technological infrastructure of the future.
In concrete: ETRO will apply a complex wireless net of sensors in an experimental area to view at all times how air streams and air quality evolves in the operation quarter. The OP-quarter will be CO2 neutral. Data will be collected about temperature, humidity, CO2 concentration with wireless sensors. During this process, permanent attention goes also to the wellbeing of the patient and hospital staff. A real trans disciplinary challenge where UZ Brussels and ETRO will play a pioneering role in the area.

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Gaurav Agrawal wins IEEE SSCS 2020-2021 International Student Circuit Contest 28.10.2021

Gaurav is one of the two winners of 2020-21 International Student Circuit Contest by IEEE Solid-state Circuits society. Gaurav solved the problem below:
Provide an example of an amplifier where, despite the presence of a positive feedback, the system cannot latch since the topology guarantees always a positive gain margin (regardless the components values or mismatches)? In your answer please clarify the expression of the loop gain and show that there is actually a positive feedback but the magnitude can never exceed one.

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Other News

2 ETRO candidates have managed to obtain the most wanted FWO scholarship for 4 years 08.10.2021

Today the results of Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen Mandaten aspirant strategisch basisonderzoek were announced. 196 Mandates were awarded, 13 for VUB and TWO for ETRO. Very well done, Cedric Baijot (prom. Maarten Kuijk) and Salar Tayebi (Prom. Johan Stiens)! Also Delphine Van Laethem, who is doing a PhD with Jeroen Van Schependom will get the scholarship.

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Milestone for very accurate weather prediction 05.10.2021

Prof. Lesley De Cruz, who joined ETRO recently, gave an interview on the Flemish radio about a new model that can very accurately predict rain fall up to two hours in advance. This is a milestone in the weather forecasting scene. You can listen to the interview via the link.

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Manneken Pisthagoras: a tribute to both maths and Brussels 24.09.2021

The Manneken Pis dressing ceremony Manneken Pisthagoras is an ode to Mathematics and Brussels. Quentin Bolsee helped to make the costume, and made the 3D printed part that demonstrates Pythagoras theorem by dispensing liquid from one square to another. It spins using custom electronics made at the fablab.

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Demo @ BRIEC session From AI to IA 23.09.2021

Quentin Bolsee participated to the BRIEC session that focused on Digital as a Cross-cutting Innovation Force, more specifically Artificial Intelligence for Industrial Applications (From AI to IA) with a nice scanning demo
As always, there were two goals: getting attendees to help each other move forward and formulating policy recommendations in case any policy gaps or obstacles are identified during the presentations and subsequent interactive Q&A sessions.

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A research team of ETRO was selected (under supervision of Prof. Johan Stiens and Dr. Bruno Da Silva) to participate to the I-LOVE-SCIENCE FESTIVAL (15-16-17/10/2021) in BRUSSELS with demos of wearable devices.

During the festival, the visitor will be introduced to various existing portable/wearable
medical measuring instruments and their operating principles by Angel, Joan, Salar, Vlad, Bruno and Johan. The visitor will be able to experiment with various technologies to detect different physiological signals of his/her body under different conditions of activity. The measurement systems are specially designed for educational purposes, such that the user will also be able to change settings themselves and check their influence (a little engineering experience).
In addition to the technical-medical aspects, the social relevance will also be explained
: how this measurement technology can contribute to preventive medicine, extremely
important for social cost reduction of the health care costs.

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Paper X. Tan selected for 2021 RFIC Symposium 21.04.2021

The RFIC paper title: A 140 GHz T/R Front-End Module in 22 nm FD-SOI CMOS by Xinyan Tang, Johan Nguyen, Giovanni Mangraviti, Zhiwei Zong, and Piet Wambacq was selected as Best Student Paper finalist to the 2021 RFIC Symposium. Therefore, it will be featured in the RFIC 2021 virtual program event Student Papers Showcase, with the opportunity to submit a three minute video to be hosted for all time on, and inclusion in consideration for the best student paper awards.

BRUFACE | Part 2: Excellence in research and teaching 13.04.2021

Passionate teachers and students from all over the globe

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BRUFACE International Masters in Engineering| Part 1: Who we are 13.04.2021

The Brussels Faculty of Engineering (in short, BRUFACE) is a joint initiative between Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), offering a broad spectrum of fully English-taught Master Programmes in the field of Engineering. ETRO is actively involved in this great programme

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FARI - a new Artificial intelligence institute in Brussels 18.03.2021

VUB, ULB and the Brussels Capital Region government announce the launch of a new Artificial Intelligence for the Common Good Institute during the Belgian AI Week of AI4Belgium.
Today, Annemie Schaus and Caroline Pauwels, respectively rectors of ULB and VUB, were proud to announce the launch of FARI the Artificial Intelligence institute for the Common Good. It was also endorsed by the Brussels Capital Region ministers Barbara Trachte and Bernard Clerfayt.

FARI is a unique structure that aims at gathering over 300 researchers in AI (amongst others the ETRO dept) and associated disciplines, around projects that could benefit the general interest. The institute will promote research on trustworthy, transparent and explainable artificial intelligence. It will also aim at helping the Brussels Region and its inhabitants address some of the challenges they face in various domains. FARI researchers will provide ideas and contribute to projects on transportation, sustainable development, healthcare services, civic consultations on AI and algorithms. Its projects will actively involve citizens and reinforce education on AI and its impacts in the region.

The institute aims at creating a bridge between AI experts, citizens, companies and local organizations. It will have three hubs: an Research & Innovation Hub, a Think Tank on AI, Data and Society, and an AI Test and Experience Hub.

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Jeroen Van Schependom joins VUB vice-rectorate Research policy team. 17.03.2021

Five young academics have been chosen to take on administrative tasks for a year in addition to their academic work to support the rector and vice-rectors. From ETRO, civil engineer Jeroen Van Schependom will take care of the vice-rectorate Research Policy.
These five academic staff members will have the opportunity, with the current management team, to develop their leadership potential and inspire the rectoral policy team. They will devote one day a week within their current tenure to this new role. Each will work closely with the rector or a vice-rector in a specific policy area to gain a tangible view of what leadership and policymaking means in practice.
“By giving young academics the opportunity to hone their policy competencies and weigh in on VUB policy, the university aims to increase its policy capability. The voice and views of our younger colleagues are absolutely essential. After all, they are also the leaders of the future,” says rector Caroline Pauwels.

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