Robots inspired by human behavior

When we are talking about smart manufacturing, robots cannot be missed. Industrial robots have considerably increased productivity and relieve humans of heavy tasks since they were first incorporated into manufacturing lines. As the use of robots raises many ethical issues regarding the employability of humans, it is important to mention the words of the professor Robert Radwin: “We envision a workplace where workers won’t be replaced by robots, but rather where robots will assist workers in their jobs. That’s our goal” [1].

Robot learning combines several machine learning techniques with robotics-related content i.e., in robot learning and behavior. Robot learning places more focus on producing actions as the output than traditional machine learning does on monitoring the environment as the input. For instance, whereas reinforcement learning offers formalizations for machine behavior, deep learning assists the robot in handling unstructured settings. Animal behavior is similar to this type of scenario.


Figure 1: Human behaviour and machine behaviour [2]

Humans use their sense organs, such as their eyes, nose and hands, which are connected to the brain through the neurological system, to perceive their surroundings. For instance, light-sensitive cells on the retina detect environmental light before sending bio-electricity signals to the cerebral cortex. To create motion, however, the cerebral cortex also communicates with the relevant muscles. Close-loop formation is created by this pipeline, same as in automatic control. For instance, a human will use his eyes to detect the glass of milk and watch his hand as it to reach it, take it to his lips, drink from it, and then put the glass back. Similarly, behaviors are shared by robotic devices in the closed-loop, as seen in the Figure 1. Cameras are used by the robot to examine its surroundings, while computers are used to analyze perceptual data. The robotic manipulator is then driven by algorithms sending commands to the robot controller [2].

Lastly, some of the benefits of operating robots in industry include, reducing programming time and automation costs, making it easier for workers in the industry. Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist, believed that humans would be replaced by robots, and robotic technology has advanced more quickly than expected [3]. Thus, this robot-human matter needs more research and development so that worker’s jobs are not threatened.


[1] L. Liu et al., “Human Robot Collaboration for Enhancing Work Activities,” Hum. Factors, 2022, doi: 10.1177/00187208221077722.

[2] Z. Liu, Q. Liu, W. Xu, L. Wang, and Z. Zhou, “Robot learning towards smart robotic manufacturing: A review,” Robot. Comput. Integr. Manuf., vol. 77, p. 102360, Oct. 2022, doi: 10.1016/J.RCIM.2022.102360.

[3] How robots are stealing human jobs and threatening our future.” (accessed Jan. 04, 2023).

Featured image: Freepik/macrovector

Are you taking advantage of the Digital transformation?

Nowadays, the exponential growth of technological advances is causing disruptions and continuous changes at a global level. The impact these changes are having on industry is also affecting on the strategies of managers, those responsible for R&D&I departments, etc.

The digital transformation we are undergoing is having an impact on the processes, strategy and culture of companies. In this regard, some conclusions drawn from a survey conducted by KPMG in 2017 stated that:

  • Companies do not know how to implement and deploy digital transformation in their own processes.
  • Digitalisation is seen as a phenomenon that generates tactical benefits, such as cost reduction, etc., but they are not aware of its actual benefits.
  • There is a lack of knowledge about what kind of technology a company can use to cope with digital transformation.
  • Organisations are showing increased interest in cognitive automation (also known under the phenomenon of Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence).
  • The main barriers to these changes are often related to a lack of strategic vision, uncertainty about where to start the process towards digitalisation, lack of technology profiles or digital skills among the workforce.

In the absence of organisational capacity and/or culture to understand the impact these technologies are having on businesses, it becomes even more important to understand some of the wide range of existing disruptive technologies out there. For instance, the Internet of Things and Data Analytics are already being exploited to bridge the gap needed to achieve productivity goals and improve customer experience. The use of Artificial Intelligence and robotic automation software to manage transactions is making it possible to predict customer needs.

In this sense, we understand the relevance of preparing companies for the digital transformation and how to face the challenges posed by the technological disruption we are experiencing. Therefore, it is necessary to educate and train new generations of students in these areas, hence the importance of the DTAM project, which aims to do exactly that. 

Our training course on Digital Transformation Technologies is on its way to being pilot tested. Stay in the loop as we are going to be sharing more exciting news very soon.

Featured image credit: Freepik/vectorjuice

Collaboration between Industry and the Academic world in the Cybersecurity Field

Within the digitalization strategy of Politeknika Txorierri, Jokin Goioaga, the Electricity and Electronics department coordinator, accompanied the cluster formed by Cybasque (group Gaia) and Basque Cybersecurity Center in a trip to Cardiff (Wales), alongside a group of professors and ICT managers of several Hetel centers.

The aim of the trip was to get to know the cybersecurity ecosystem formed by the education centers, institutions and specialized companies. During the visit they met with the regional government representatives, the University of Cardiff representatives and the managers of the companies Thales and Purecyber. Moreover, he had the opportunity to attend the launching of a partnership event between Airbus and the University of Cardiff about excellence in socio-technical cybersecurity.

Currently, Wales is considered one of the most important innovation poles in cybersecurity. In this aspect, it is worth mentioning the collaboration between the public and private sectors, and the proximity between the companies of the sector and the academic institutions, as this assures outstanding professionals, according to the necessities of the industry, that help develop this sector in Wales.

Overcoming the Manufacturing Skills Gap

If you have indeed being following our project development for a while, you already know we are very dedicated on addressing the Manufacturing Skills Gap. DTAM is meant to attend to this problem, by designing and delivering a strategic integral online methodology, offering a flexible multidisciplinary modular training with access for learners to a network of remote IoT labs linked to various industrial sectoral processes (thanks to differing regional industrial focus offered within the partnership).

Yes, it’s a complicated issue as there are many reasons creating and enlarging this Manufacturing Skills Gap. Sectoral associations, companies, regional and EU policymakers and educational institutions are aware of the need for initial and adaptive training for both operational and ICT technicians to face the emerging technological and digital transformation inherent in evolved manufacturing processes.

There are many reasons contributing to the Manufacturing Skills Gap and while we can easily blame the technological advancements we are witnessing like AI and Robot based automation, there are also clear mismatch in the perceptions of both businesses and their employees like false job expectations and even “simple” things like retiring professionals. According to industry leading product value management company Propel, the skills gap issue “revolves around the labor market being unable to find workers who have the manual, operational, and highly technical skills, knowledge, or expertise to take the open positions”. The article also specifically stresses out the importance of upskilling current workers as one of the ways of fixing the skills gap (read the whole article here) and that is indeed very true.

According to CEDEFOP 2 in 5 EU workers find their skills not fully used at work. The European skills and jobs survey (ESJ) also discovered a more troubling trend where “around 26% of EU adult employees have significant skill deficits (their  skills are much lower compared to those an average worker needs to be fully proficient in their job) leaving much scope to improve skills and  productivity. According to the same ESJ survey, “more than one in five adult employees in the EU have not developed their skills since starting their job”.

Manufacturing companies, which make up 8,9% of the EU economy (EUROSTAT May 2019), recognize that the emerging reality not only requires specialized engineers but also a trained pool of skilled operative technicians capable of understanding, installing, configuring, transferring data and securely maintaining the high end digital technology which connects and controls manufacturing – now called Advanced Manufacturing.

The above is especially true when it comes to SMEs, as 99% of EU companies are SMEs and are key to ensuring economic growth, innovation, job creation, and social integration in the EU (Source – NACE Sectoral Analysis of Manufacturing 2016).

Source: Unleashing the full potential of European SMEs

Manufacturing SMEs are forecast to increasingly need adequately trained OT technicians with digital competence. New initial VET training is required, as well as reskilling and charted self-learning pathways.

Industry and VET providers need to meet this clearly identified skills gap for which the design of a quality curricular solution based on, and validated according to EU standard accreditation guidelines, is pressing. VET/HVET providers require a flexible, well-designed curriculum in digital competence at the right skills level that will reinforce regional industrial competitiveness in the global market and their own educational offer, enabling both sectors to generate knowledge and employment and to contribute to the welfare and prosperity of regions, in line with territorial, European and international agendas.

The Digital Transformation in Advanced Manufacturing – DTAM project aims to create and provide innovative curricular training (reskilling and upskilling opportunities) in digital transformation competences for the advanced manufacturing sector (AM), for mid-high level IT and OT technicians at EQF Levels 4-5 +. The DTAM partnership will design and deliver an innovative curriculum in key enabling technologies and transversal competences for AM. The integral DTAM curriculum will prepare:

  • ICT technicians to approach and understand digital technology in relation to AM processes and machinery (how to install, configure and monitor cyber physical intelligence and tools in AM environments)
  • Robotics and Automation (or other OT) technicians with the ability to understand and manage digitalisation tools and the most advanced AM technologies for secure deployment and maintenance.

It’s now been two years since we’ve launched our project and we are almost done with our key milestone i.e. the DTAM training course. Interested in the checking it out? Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t skip on this or the rest of good stuff coming up in the next months.

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Boosting the technical and non-technical skills and competences of Smart Cities technicians and engineers

According to estimations, till 2050, two thirds of the world population will live in towns, consuming more than 70% of energy and emitting just as much greenhouse gases. As the population of cities grows, the demand for services but also pressure on resources will grow. This demand puts a strain on energy, water, waste, and any other services that are major for the prosperity and sustainability of a city.

A Smart City is an innovative city that uses ICTs and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness, while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social, environmental as well as cultural aspects. The global market of Smart Cities is expected to grow from $410,8 billion in 2020 to $820,7 billion by 2025 with 14,8% compound annual growth rate. This growth is driven by the increasing demand for public safety, rising urban population, and growing government initiatives. Smart Cities contribute to the EU objectives towards social fairness and prosperity, empowerment of people through digital technologies, as well as the objectives of the “European Green Deal”.

Smart cities utilize data and deploy services using advanced technologies, such as Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, and Internet of Things to offer new and enhance existing services, as well as, to provide context-aware views on city operations. Their development is highly complex and challenging and requires technicians and engineers from the public sector and industry equipped with skills and competences that are currently in short supply. Thus, given the dynamic nature of Smart Cities, their workforce need to be reskilled/upskilled by acquiring new and transferable skills and knowledge.

The SMACITE project aims to address the Smart Cities skills gap by designing and testing a vocational education and training program. The program will use a novel and multi-disciplinary curriculum combining digital skills on Smart Cities enabling technologies with soft, entrepreneurial, and green skills.

The expected project results are:

  • A Smart Cities competences map and ESCO-compliant Smart Cities job profiles.
  • A Smart Cities curriculum combining both technical and non-technical skills and competences and promoting personalized learning pathways.
  • Learning resources for Smart Cities enabling technologies and for building the soft, entrepreneurship and green skills of Smart Cities technicians and Engineers.
  • A diagnostic tool to identify personalized learning pathways.
  • A MOOC for Smart Cities enabling technologies.
  • Virtual Worlds for building the soft, green and entrepreneurship skills of Smart Cities technicians and engineers.

The main project beneficiaries are Smart Cities technicians and engineers, either from the public sector (i.e. municipalities) or enterprises providing Smart Cities solutions, as well as HEI and VET students interested in Smart Cities.

The SMACITE consortium brings together 12 organizations from Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, and Belgium that represent different stakeholders that share a common vision: Higher Education Institutions, Vocational Education and Training providers, Associations of IT and Technology Enterprises, Public Sector Organizations, and a Certification Body.

SMACITE is a 3-years project (01/06/2022 – 31/05/2025) coordinated by the University of Patras (Greece) and co-funded by the European Union (Project Number: 101052513).

Do you want to learn more about the project? Visit and follow the project on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter!

Don’t Trip Over Your Digital Footprint

Do you think that when you delete your internet browsing history, your searches are not saved? Unfortunately, the news is bad for you and for all of us. Every time you use the internet, a trail of data known as your digital footprint is left behind. The footprint is also known as a digital shadow or an electronic footprint. Information such as the websites you visit, email communications, and general information you submit and circulate online constitutes your digital footprint. There is always the danger that one can track a person’s actions and gadgets on the Internet using their digital footprint [1]. According to studies [2], computers are better at assessing your personality qualities than your friends, family, and even your partner when they have a sufficient number of Facebook likes. Researchers have determined the typical amount of likes artificial intelligence (AI) requires to make psychological assumptions about you as correctly as your partner or parents using a new algorithm. According to the researchers, as this technology advances, these findings may cause privacy issues.

At this point, let’s look at the dangers of digital footprint. Keep in mind that whatever you post online can be screenshotted and distributed. It’s challenging to know what information social media and comment boards retain about you and who may access your digital trail, even if you erase anything on your end. Bullying and harassment are common problems affecting many members in any group (school, work, etc.). Anything published on the internet can be saved and shared, with the intention of harming the person to whom the information relates. Thus, those who seek to harass or threaten others might do so by obtaining information from a digital footprint. Another serious issue that users face on the Internet is scamming. It becomes simpler for predators to gather the information they may use, to try to con you or others through identity theft and other scams the more personal information you provide online. Moreover, the damage to the reputation is an even more significant problem that none of us can afford to ignore. Your name may be looked up online, and your digital footprint can be accessed by potential employers, educational institutions, and others. Your prospects of getting a job or getting admitted into schools and universities may decrease if what they discover paints you in a bad light [3].

It is crucial to have information on this specific issue so that people are able to know the dangers and also to protect themselves from online threats. The European Digital Learning Network (Dlearn) has conducted great research on the importance of awareness in this matter [4]. The findings demonstrate that there is still confusion over concerns linked to digital footprints. What is clear at this point is that there are still gaps that need to be addressed, particularly in describing simple precautions that can be taken and emphasizing the significance of an online behavior code that can reduce the risk to our personal reputation and activities.

Here are some helpful tips to keep you safe while surfing the web [5]:

  • You should not forget that the internet is a public space, the information you share may be visible to a wide audience and may be permanently recorded.
  • Always make sure you filter in your mind before posting anything online.
  • Also, your personal details (passwords, name, bank accounts, date of birth, address etc.) should not be shared publicly.
  • You can take a simple test to check what information has been shared on the internet about you. Just google your name and examine the results. If you find something you don’t like, remove it if you can.

Consequently, we should always be mindful of what information we share on the internet, to avoid unpleasant situations and falling victim to hackers.

Finally, it is never too insignificant or too late to stay up to date with your privacy!


[1] “What is a Digital Footprint?” (accessed Jul. 27, 2022).

[2] W. Youyou, M. Kosinski, and D. Stillwell, “Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., vol. 112, no. 4, pp. 1036–1040, Jan. 2015, doi: 10.1073/PNAS.1418680112.

[3] “Your Digital Footprint and Privacy: What You Need to Know – Troomi Wireless.” (accessed Jul. 27, 2022).

[4] “Digital Footprint Awareness A European survey to analyse EU citizens’ understanding of digital footprint”, Accessed: Jul. 27, 2022. [Online]. Available:

[5] “Digital Footprint – BulliesOut.” (accessed Jul. 27, 2022).

Featured image: Freepik/storyset

Digitalization in the textile and apparel manufacturing industry

The textile industry plays a crucial role in the global industry. The global textile market size was valued at USD 993.6 billion in 2021 and is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.0% from 2022 to 2030 [1]. Increasing demand for textile supply chain over years turned this industry to implement a vertically organized, sustainable value chain which was being aided by trends such as sustainability and digitalization. The textile industry works on many major principles and processes which require digitalization implementation in their sector.
Prior to high demand and fast fashion trends in the textile industry, the adoption of digitalization is one of the greatest opportunities that help the retail sector. According to findings by van et al (2022) [2], IoT-based WMS can be used to manage a complex and integrated supply chain network by modeling it into simpler structures that are equally understandable by the developers, as well as the business owner. The prototype system integrated with the IoT was successfully deployed within a textile factory’s warehouse which helps in the enhancement of system efficiency by the installation of the scanner to efficiently track the goods status hence reducing in time taken in storing goods in the inventory and easy the updating process for a good recording. The smart warehouse system can keep track of their orders and shipments at any time during the order booking till the checking out of the product from the inventory. This gives it an edge over traditional warehouses with no IoT integrated.
On other hand, digitalization also has been incorporated into the newest smart technology in the textile industry. Smart textiles consist of discrete devices fabricated from—or incorporated onto—fibers. One of the applications of smart textile is a fully operational 46-inch smart textile lighting/display system consisting of RGB fibrous LEDs coupled with multifunctional fiber devices that are capable of wireless power transmission, touch sensing, photodetection, environmental/bio signal monitoring, and energy storage [3]. The systematic design and integration strategies are transformational and provide the foundation for realizing highly functional smart lighting/display textiles over large area for revolutionary applications on smart homes and internet of things (IoT).
Smart textile-integrated microelectronic systems (STIMES), which combine microelectronics and technology such as artificial intelligence and augmented or virtual reality, have been intensively explored [4]. Several main aspects are covered: functional materials, major fabrication processes of smart textile components, functional devices, system architectures and heterogeneous integration, wearable applications in human and nonhuman-related areas, and the safety and security of STIMES. The major types of textile-integrated nonconventional functional devices are sensors, actuators, displays, antennas, energy harvesters and their hybrids, batteries and supercapacitors, circuit boards, and memory device. Through sensory application, NADI X, a pair of yoga trousers with built-in sensors that vibrate to bring users into alignment as they move through various yoga positions, include digital capabilities that facilitate communication between retailer and client [5]. As we enter step the new industrial revolution, global retail decision makers are willing to use the Internet of Things to enhance consumer experiences. Digitalization helps textile industry in many aspects of things.

DTAM projects will help many other industries aiming to implement digitalization in their organizations and more professional people will be trained to cater the demand. 
[1] Pandey, D., Retail Marketing: A Critical Analysis.
[2] van Geest, M., B. Tekinerdogan, and C. Catal, Smart Warehouses: Rationale, Challenges and Solution Directions. Applied Sciences, 2022. 12(1): p. 219.
[3] Choi, H.W., et al., Smart textile lighting/display system with multifunctional fibre devices for large scale smart home and IoT applications. Nature Communications, 2022. 13(1): p. 814.
[4] Shi, J., et al., Smart Textile-Integrated Microelectronic
Systems for Wearable Applications.
Advanced Materials, 2020. 32(5): p. 1901958.


Featured image: Freepik/macrovector

City of Talents

To teach young students about the nature of today’s professions and those of the future, this is one of the objectives of the ‘City of Talents‘ orientation project promoted by Apro Formazione and its guidance counsellors.

The project was born with the idea of improving middle school students’ and teachers’ perceptions of the professions, and Apro Formazione decided to propose an industrial computer lab to raise awareness of what an IoT systems technician does, a profession that will increasingly require specialised personnel in the years to come. The aim of the project was not only to present the opportunities offered by the VET world, but also to provide information on high schools and universities that allow access to these professions at different levels.

The activities, divided into several mornings of intervention on different classes of the local middle school, involved the teacher, Stefano Antona, who impersonated an IoT systems technician, presenting the peculiarities of this professional figure.

He started by answering some of the students’ questions – “Do you have to know English?”, “What are the working hours?”, “Do you have to be extrovert?”, “Do you have to relate to other people?” – which made it possible to outline some of the key characteristics of the profile and the transversal competences needed to carry out this profession.

The meaning of IoT was then illustrated, with many practical examples of the application of these technologies that the students may have already encountered: smart home appliances, smart cities, home automation control systems….

A number of exercises were then proposed to be carried out within the DTAM-IoT laboratory, using the Raspberry-pi and the sensor and actuator kits provided by the DTAM sector alliance. Programming was carried out using Scratch software, so as to be able to work on a visual interface that is easy to interpret. The focus was on methodologies that can enable a desired function description to be conveyed in a code composed of functions. The motto of the exercise? ‘If there is a big problem that is difficult to solve, break it down into many small problems that are easy to solve’.

The proposed exercises were completed using a playful Play and Code approach, also using the cute kitten that Scratch provides for coding. The aim was to help the kitten cross the road. To do this, the work was divided into two phases: firstly, it started by managing three actuators (red, yellow and green LEDs) to simulate the lights of a traffic light and manage the timed sequence that alternates the three colours. In the second phase, the programme had to manage the kitten’s movements so that it would stop at red light, go at a normal pace at green light and start running to reach the opposite side of the road at yellow light.


The children were enthusiastic and took an active part in the proposed activities, showing great attention and seriousness, good analytical skills and a lot of curiosity. An auspicious experience for the future of IoT!