Cooperation with Cracow University of Technology
25 May 2021
- Good morning dean. Could you briefly introduce what does the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering do? What is the scope of its research and educational work?
There are 3 main areas of work being realized and developed:
- The first one is electrical engineering, which includes things connected with electrotechnical aspects as well as electro energetics – generally, everything connected with higher values of current or voltage
- Another one is connected with the research work and education of our students with regards to automation and IT, which can be used in the aforementioned electrotechnical or electro energetic systems and automation
- The third one which is being strongly developed since last year is infotronics – the area that connects aspects of electronics, automation, IT, and mechatronics. We see high business demand regarding educating students in that direction.
What is important for us is to cooperate with companies that have a complete educational offer. The role of any university is to build up and develop students' skills and knowledge even by cooperation with external companies. We had a positive experience regarding that working in the past with Cisco Academy or NI LabVIEW Academy. In the case of IQRF Smart School, what is important for us is that we can always adjust the level of cooperation depending on current human or time resources. Within the program range, we try to realize both educational and commercial projects, with much help from your R&D team as well.
Very good. Obviously, there are always areas for improvement, but we managed to take several big steps together. Our lab is well equipped with IQRF products, thanks to which our students during the workshops can be well educated as regards wireless communication. Moreover, during science clubs, they can realize different projects as a part of different contests or simply coming from their interests. Several master and engineer thesis were realized thanks to that equipment as well. Every year there are series of workshops carried out by the IQRF team – we want to give our students a chance to meet industry employees. We are starting a new project at present that will benefit both students and employees. So, I think we have managed to do much, so the overall cooperation is very positive.
Obviously, purchasing the ready system would be the easiest way but at present that would not be an optimal solution. As I said – our goal is to create possibilities for our students to raise their skills and knowledge. Since March last year (2020), we have been all living in a new reality which is an online education, which in turn results in students' having less contact with our professional equipment in our labs. That is why we decided to enable the possibility to realize practical projects remotely at least to some of the students. In the case of the wireless voting system, students learn the aspects of collecting and sending data over wireless networks, managing them in the cloud, and later using it to visualize the results, using 3D printing technology when creating the chassis. This project also gives them a chance to have contact with more down-to-earth aspects such as using different measuring equipment or even soldering. On top of that, they learn how to manage all the aspects of the project – budget, time, or risk. We decided that the educational benefits coming from realizing that projects by students within a previously carefully prepared budget frame are a much better solution than purchasing a ready system.
The aim of our faculty is to educate highly skilled people ready for any business requirements. One of the important skills of a modern engineer is the ability to evaluate existing technologies and tools to be potentially used in a project. That is why students evaluated several radio modules and selected IQRF. As far as I remember there were four main reasons to so:
- Easy module set up and programing using your software for network management
- The range between modules and the ability to use mesh topology. The target is to create a solution that will give much range excess. We are still experiencing pandemic times, so in case there is a need to vote in several rooms in smaller groups we want to be sure that is possible.
- Stability of radio connection. An important factor here was that IQRF radio modules have been present in our labs for several years. We realized several projects using IQRF technology and have a positive experience using it.
- Good cooperation with the company and the availability of the components
Absolutely yes. Starter Kits supplied by IQRF allow fast proof of concept, which is very important when realizing the project. The same kits are perfect for students' labs to be used for simple practical exercises. The kits also enable the exercises to be altered or modified according to the needs of a person preparing the lab work. We value very much as well the openness of IQRF staff to take part in different workshops or their engagement in different educational projects. We can only hope for more cooperation between the university and the members of IQRF Alliance, but I do hope that this stage is still ahead.
It is always worth cooperating not only with our faculty but also with others at our university. Since I became a dean, we have started the process of intensifying the cooperation with business and efficient realization of projects. We have a dedicated person to take care of all the aspects of university-business cooperation at our faculty for both research and educational projects such as the one we realize with IQRF. In case of the commercial projects, we always try to find the best formula and cooperation program connected with our possibilities and know-how. We have much experience realizing that kind of project and have knowledge and access to different programs which enable financing of the research projects for companies. As always in life there are many ways to reach the goal. It is important to find the optimal way.
We are open to anyone that is interested in such cooperation and sees its potential. Our offer is connected with the areas of our educational and research work that we already described. The companies which are looking for support regarding electromobility, robotics, industrial or building automation, energetics, electro energetics, systems of energy conversion including its monitoring and diagnostics are some of the fields where we can support our partners. But all these are just general areas which do not give a full scope of what we can offer. We follow the current business trends and will be happy to be a part of any IoT or Smart City project, which are the areas where our employees have high skills and knowledge. For sure the limitation for us is not the size of the company – we are glad to be cooperating with big and smaller entities as well as huge global corporations. Always when there is will coming from the company to cooperate on commercial as well as educational areas with us, we will find a way to cooperate.
The plans are ambitious and are connected with several areas. We are for sure going to focus our efforts to develop the aforementioned infotronics. For sure we are going to develop our faculty Lab infrastructure – both the one used by students during workshops but also more sophisticated which is used for research work. We are for sure also going to focus our efforts on green energy. It is planned to build pro-ecological technologies building. It is a huge project realized with other faculties which is going to be challenging for sure. As said before we want to develop our cooperation with the industry on an educational level realizing different research projects but also realizing PhD thesis. Much work ahead for sure.
D.Sc. Ph.D. Eng. Maciej SUŁOWICZ, Assoc. Prof. CUT is a researcher at the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering since 2002. Currently is honored to serves as the Dean of the Faculty.