Aalto University Magazine 13 English edition

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13 ISSN 1799-9324 / ISSN 2323-4571 ISSN-L 1799-9324 JUNE 2015

Visions and milestones

from the past ďŹ ve years Good debate, better policies

Dream job direct

Design Factory showing the way

More than the sum of its parts Aalto University turned five last January. This is a young age for a university, but the past half decade has included numerous achievements, acts and encounters on which this issue will focus. Wärtsilä is an example of a Finnish company that cooperates with many universities around Europe. They are one of the partner companies of our multidisciplinary product design course, which culminated in May with a gala, where students exhibited their product innovations. Ilari Kallio, Wärtsilä’s Vice President for R&D, notes that joint projects with universities often have interesting results, such as new prototypes, for example. Even more important, however, is the cooperation with different actors. This generates encounters, ideas and insights that are much more significant than individual course assignments. Kati Hagros, the Senior Vice President in charge of the digitalisation of KONE Corporation’s service business, is also a believer in cooperation. She says the creation of new business absolutely demands networking and cooperation between different types of organisations. Corporations can no longer solely rely on their in-house product development and IT competence to create desirable new products and properties. We, too, encourage cooperation and the sharing of its results. We look for achievements by present and former Aalto students and staff, and share them with a wider audience. Share your story on social media with the hashtag #madeinaalto.


Illustrator Ida Wikström envisions the campus of the future. PAGES 8, 21 AND 35

We showcase the results of the Department of Architecture’s Wood Program. The study programme emphasises internationality and teaches future-oriented wood architecture practically and concretely – the students really get to use their own hands. Students from 43 countries and five continents have created more than 30 innovative wood buildings or structures during the programme’s twenty-year history. The most recent student creation can be seen this summer at the Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki.

Roop e

Perm a


Eveliina Olsson Editor-in-chief


On the job Photos Terhi Korhonen

IDA WIKSTRÖM illustrated this issue’s

TERHI KORHONEN shot the majority

covers and the two main articles. She recalls the start of her studies, which were difficult for a Swedish-speaker: “Five years ago, I was holding back tears at my first lecture at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. I couldn’t understand a thing. For some inexplicable reason, I’d managed to block the thought of how problematic the Finnish language could be for someone like me, raised in a 100% Swedish-speaking Ostrobothnian environment.” I still stumble with Finnish words and am not always certain about the meaning of some figures of speech. The way I see it now is that everyone is entitled to be a child in the beginning. And having taken my first clumsy steps in tandem with a new, justestablished university gives me a strong understanding of the initial stages of any process. It took five years, but I reckon that any misunderstandings are now smaller and my insights deeper. In fact, I gradually found out that even the Finnish-speaking students had been clueless about what our esteemed professor had been trying to tell us at that first lecture.”

of this issue’s portraits and talks about some important moments in her life: “I was five years old in 1985. We moved into a single-family home, I quit fairytale ballet (no great loss for dance as an art form) and I was anxious about whether I’d make any friends in our new neighbourhood. I did not think about what my life would be like five years later. This isn’t important for a young child. I began my studies in 2010. The University of Art and Design Helsinki had just been absorbed into Aalto University and I thought I had a pretty good idea of where I’d be five years later. This was not to be, however – and perhaps it’s all for the best. It’s good to have goals and plans, but you should also remember to live in the moment.”

PUBLISHER: Aalto University, Communications EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Eveliina Olsson MANAGING EDITOR: Paula Haikarainen GRAPHIC DESIGN IN THIS ISSUE: Anne Pasanen TUTORING AD/PHOTO EDITOR: Liisa Seppo, Alma 360 CONTRIBUTORS IN THIS ISSUE: Maija Astikainen,

Aila Blomberg, Wiebke Bosse, Helena Hagberg, Heidi Hammarsten, Anni Hanén, Timo Hämäläinen, Minna Hölttä, Matti Immonen, Heidi-Hanna Karhu, Anne Kinnunen, Terhi Korhonen, Sami Kulju, Janne Lehtinen, Niina Nevamäki, Roope Permanto, Tiiu Pohjolainen, Marjukka Puolakka, Anna Tärnhuvud, Tuomas Uusheimo, Adolfo Vera, Montserrat Zamorano Gañán, Ida Wikström, Leena Ylä-Lyly COVER ILLUSTARATION: Ida Wikström TRANSLATION: Ned Kelly Coogan ADDRESS: PO Box 17800, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland TELEPHONE: +358 9 470 01 ONLINE: aalto.fi, aalto.fi/magazine E-MAIL: magazine@aalto.fi CHANGE OF ADDRESS: alumni@aalto.fi PRINTING COMMISSIONED BY: Unigrafia Oy PRINTING: Libris Oy, 2015 PAPER: Amber Graphic 240 g/m2 (cover) & 120 g/m2 (pages) PRINT RUN: 5,000 (English edition of the issue 13) PUBLISHED THREE TIMES A YEAR


Theme This issue celebrates the five-year journey of Aalto University.

03 Editorial 04 On the job 06 President Tuula Teeri Openings

rejoices in the University’s achievements.


Key figures

thesis 09 Doctoral The sound of the piano enchanted Doctor of Technology Heidi-Maria Lehtonen.






The media wants comments from economics professors – should politicians ask as well?

The digitalisation of industry requires cooperation, say Kone Senior Vice President Kati Hagros and Professor Martti Mäntylä.

Who Head of Nokia Labs Hannu Kauppinen has faith in the ability of physics to explain the world.

22 Cooperation Wärtsilä got Aalto students on board its power plant product development project.


Building the future Miki Kuusi, Satu Maaranen and Sonja Heikkilä are steaming ahead in their dream occupations.

30 In-house Aalto Festival showcases the abilities of our students, recent graduates and academic staff.

topic 32 On Academy Professor Olli Ikkala explores biomimetics with funding from the European Research Council.

and design 36 Art • Professor Susanna Helke’s documentary films examine social transition. • Professor Tuuli Mattelmäki wants to promote service design in the public sector.

40 InAaltothere Design Factory provides inspiration around the world.

min 46 10 We meet with Italian Santo Fortunato and five other international professors, whose career paths have led them to Aalto.

choices 50 Everyday Professor Ville Kyrki would let a robot do his cleaning.

topic 24 On Professors Risto Ilmoniemi, Riitta Hari and Riitta Salmelin are pioneers of brain imaging.

Ida Wikström


Words from the university’s leaders.

Pioneering to go on

Janne Lehtinen


Our teaching was also thoroughly modernised: we reduced the number of Bachelor’s programmes, the goals set for 2020. but broadened their contents and improved opportuOur university was established to create a new, broadnities for multidisciplinary studies. The multifaceted er foundation for Finnish export industries, which are learning concept of our Design Factory is now spreadstruggling with the major changes affecting the econing across the globe. Mechatronics, 3D printing and omy. We were given a special national task to support entrepreneurship are also taught by fresh means at the success of Finland in constantly intensifying inter- Aalto’s schools. A prestigious international survey national competition through high-standard research named Aalto University as one of the world’s five rising and education. Our mission is to solve society’s major stars in the promotion of student-driven entrepreneurchallenges by combining art and science with technolo- ship. The start-up event Slush is organised by Aalto gy and business. We educate the professionals of future students and last year attracted more than 14 000 working life and serve as a valuable innovation partner participants. for business and industry. Aalto researchers, artists and students have received Nobel laureate Edmond H. Fischer visited Aalto many distinguished prizes and are successful in compein November and advised young researchers to choose tition for international research grants. Our researchers a research topic that was personally inspiring. have published more and more scientific articles that Follow your passion, he urged, because it will help are of the highest standard, and they often do so you face and solve even difficult challenges. These in cooperation with business and industry. Aalto words encapsulated something that is, in my opinion, students and graduates have established numerous quintessential Aalto: the courage to pursue a passion new companies and they engage in cooperation to and transgress boundaries for the sake of a better world. overcome the challenges of the business community. Where do we go next, what will the coming five years The achievements of our first five years are testament offer? This question will be considered next autumn, to this courage and willingness to break boundaries. Spurred by the reform of the Universities Act, we estab- when we’ll focus on our vision for the future and update our strategy for the period 2016–2020. lished a tenure track programme for the recruitment The world has changed enormously in five years and of new professors that helps attract top experts from the pace keeps on intensifying. Digitalisation affects Finland and abroad. almost everything in our society, influencing communications, teaching, industry, health care and services, among others. For Aalto University, this is both a challenge and an opportunity: ICT and digitalisation are the focal areas of expertise that consists of more than a hundred professors at our university, providing us with a strong potential to affect change in this field. Our other fields of strength are materials research and processing Finnish natural resources into new products, art and the creative economy as well as business operations in a changing international environment. Combining the strengths of our various fields of expertise enables us to develop diverse energy technologies, health tech and human-centered living environments. An opportunity to peek into the ideas and deeds of the makers of the future arose in May at the Aalto Festival. This multifaceted event showcased the abilities of Aalto’s students and researchers with seminars and exhibitions. The just-launched fundraising campaign is also based on a powerful vision. We are collecting donations for the creation of a strong innovation community in Otaniemi. The campus revamp will focus our strengths in one location and open our facilities to external partners as well. Joining forces can help change the world into a better place for us all and donations will ensure that Aalto University remains a pioneer also in the future. ALTO UNIVERSITY HAS OPERATED FOR FIVE YEARS. We are now halfway along our path to

— Tuula Teeri President 6 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13

Key figures

Aalto University in numbers

2010–2014 +27% 46,3 49,2 47,6 37,5 41,5








Competitive research funding (M€)







229 219



Doctoral degrees

2 888 2 970 2 498 2 718 2 701






Number of refereed articles in scientific publications

The number includes external competitive research funding from the Academy of Finland, Tekes FiDiPro and EU research funding programmes.


25 18




2 312



1 228



Share of international faculty (%)




1 519 1 614 1 663



The number of Master’s degrees was exceptionally large in 2010 and small in 2011 due to the degree reform in the field of science and technology. The normal level is approx. 1 600 degrees per annum.


Master’s degrees

Aalto University was founded in 2010 and it was given the national mission of boosting Finnish success, making a positive contribution to the building of Finnish society, its internationality and competitiveness, and promoting the wellbeing of humans and the environment by means of high-standard research and teaching. Determined progress towards our strategic targets has produced good results during the first five years. University researchers have received a significant amount of Finnish and international research funding, the focus of scientific publications has shifted more towards higher quality publication forums, and the international visibility of research results has simultaneously increased.

Degree programmes have undergone a major reform, and studies are now progressing at a faster pace than five years ago. New types of learning environments provide the Aalto community and its partners with inspiring ways of working. The university’s active support for the creation of entrepreneurship and new companies has paid off. An estimated 70–100 new companies are established each year as a result of work done by the university.

Source: Aalto University Annual Report 2014, aalto.fi/annualreport AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13 \ 7

Wood Program

WDC Pavilion, 2012. Helsinki served as the World Design Capital in 2012. Aalto’s architecture students designed this pavilion to serve as a venue for events and meetings in the city centre during the lively special year. Photo: Tuomas Uusheimo.

Doctoral thesis

Sound enchantment Heidi-Maria Lehtonen discovered that a cherished hobby can morph into a thesis subject – and launch a professional career. Text Marjukka Puolakka Photo Anna Tärnhuvud

Doctor of Technology Heidi-Maria Lehtonen considers herself privileged. She had the opportunity to focus her doctoral thesis on a favourite subject, which she had pursued from the age of six. She is now an expert in audio signal processing. Her doctoral thesis examined modelling that is based on the analysis, perception and physics of the signal sound of the piano. When at musical high school, she had plans for a career in medicine. “Just before the matriculation examination, I realised that I would be unable to naturally connect music to my profession should I go to medical school. That is when I happened to get my hands on a Helsinki University of Technology application guide, which introduced me to acoustics research.” Lehtonen started her studies in autumn 2001. Her training programme focused on telecommunications technology and her main subject was acoustics and audio processing technology. A summer job at the acoustics and audio processing technology laboratory in 2004 led to a Master’s thesis in which she studied the acoustics of string instruments. “After my Master’s, I started a doctoral thesis at the lab and won a place at the GETA Graduate School. A research

visit to Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology came with the job. While there, I had the chance to perform research alongside Professor Anders Askenfelt, one of the world’s bestknown acoustics researchers. We made extensive recordings related to the partial acoustics of a grand piano’s sustain pedal.” Lehtonen made her next research visit to the University of Verona, where the foundation for her study of the synthesis of piano sustain pedals was created. The principal findings of her thesis are related to analysing piano sustain pedals and associated modelling.

From grand piano to bulletriddled speakeasy instrument “The sustain pedal is one of the most challenging components of synthesising piano sound. Pressing it down allows all of the instrument’s almost 250 strings to vibrate simultaneously. There’s lots to model in that. We were the first anywhere to publish a comprehensive analysis of how a piano’s sound and especially its dampening behaviour change when a sustain pedal and partial sustain pedal are used.” As part of her thesis work, Lehtonen developed algorithms for next-generation digital pianos that are based on models of the instrument’s audio production mechanism. Among other things, the technology considers how different playing techniques affect sound.

Adjusting the parameters also makes it possible to transform the instrument from a grand piano to an out-of-tune inn upright. The results are also useful for home pianists. “Digital pianos are smaller and cheaper than acoustic instruments and are very common these days. They are also suitable for apartment block living, as they do not cause structure-borne noise that passes from apartment to apartment. I hope my work will help develop even better digital pianos.”

Dream job with Dolby She now works for Dolby Laboratories in Stockholm. Working as a research engineer has proved ideal for her. “I’ve learned a huge amount of new things at Dolby while also having the opportunity to make full use of what I gained from my Master’s and postgraduate studies. My Aalto education has served as valuable capital.” The piano remains a dear hobby for her, although she now more often approaches it from the perspective of the audience. Lehtonen is also an active fitness enthusiast and naturally prefers to exercise to the rhythm of good music. — Heidi-Maria Lehtonen’s dissertation Analysis, perception, and synthesis of the piano sound for the School of Electrical Engineering received the highest grade in December 2010. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13 \ 9

Good debate, better policies Text Heidi Hammarsten Illustration Ida Wikstrรถm



Better policies emerge when debate gives more weight to reasoned arguments than the views of special interests, say a trio of economics professors from Aalto University. Economic policy cannot be based solely on theory, however, as values and the situation at hand always play a part, too. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13 \ 11


Sixten Korkman


Pertti Haaparanta

Matti Pohjola


along the same corridor at the Economicum building in Helsinki’s Etu-Töölö neighbourhood. Their names, Sixten Korkman, Pertti Haaparanta and Matti Pohjola, are familiar to most who follow the Finnish media. Are their views on economic policy as close to each other as their offices? “The different schools of economics do not conflict to the extent that the media or various blogs would have you believe. Economists concur with each other much more than the specialists of other fields. They only disagree about the details, for example about whether Finland should now stimulate demand or promote supply,” says Professor Matti Pohjola. Pohjola has a good grasp of the various schools of economic thought. He wrote the textbook that is required reading for the economics entrance exam and teaches a number of introductory courses. His own specialist field is productivity. Pohjola would like everyone to understand that productivity measures what is achieved with a specific labour input. In other words, enhancing productivity does not require people to work more. “The greater the value of an activity, the higher the productivity – and this value is measured by the customer. Productivity is ideas about what could be valuable activities or innovations.” Globalisation and international trade expert Pertti Haaparanta likewise sees the issues as nuanced. He considers himself “just a regular economist” whose point of departure is that the liberalisation of trade is a good thing. “But it is no panacea, it’s effects are limited and sometimes it needs to be curtailed because of major income distribution effects. Furthermore, researchers are divided about whether the arguments for the liberalisation of trade can be used for increasing the freedom of capital movements as well. I belong to a school, which thinks that this should not be done, the risks are too great”. 12 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13

Weeds amidst the flowers Sixten Korkman is a Professor of Practice, who joined the Aalto ranks after a long and distinguished civil service career in economics and finance. He points out that it is difficult to prove one economic theory more valid than another because controlled experiments are not possible in economics. “Claims are not all equal, however, some a pure garbage. It can be hard to say which flower is most beautiful, but us scholars must point out any weeds in the bouquet.” Korkman thinks purely theory-based economic policy does not exist. Values and historical context are always involved as well. Among other things, he lectures about economic doctrines. “A doctrine is not the same as an economic theory. A theory aims to describe reality, while a doctrine is normative and says how things should be: what is the role of economic policy, what are its goals, means and methods.” He stresses that we should not even be looking for a single, right truth. “It’s good to have a shared view of the situation and common values. But when everyone is of the same mind, they likely agree out of stupidity. And voicing strong opinions is good for debate: the truth is revealed when various opinions shed light on the matter from different perspectives. But this requires structured opinions that make some reference to evidence, too.”

Decision-making has gone astray The professors agree strongly that Finland’s economic situation is worrying and lacks direction. There is much room for improvement in economic and fiscal decisionmaking and the drafting of related policies. “The last government failed in its drafting of economic policies. They were unable to systematically organise drafting and provide support for it in relation to social welfare and health care reform, municipal reform and other projects. It is quite grotesque that the tripar-

tite system, in spite of all the criticism levelled at it, has been the only approach to yield results,” Korkman says in reference to the pension task force and the Stability and Growth Pact. Korkman says he has made “cast-iron” observations of how people’s thinking follows their wallets: their views reflect either their own interests or those of some background group. “But they themselves believe these ideas in good faith. Corporate executives, for example, can voice concerns that are, in their minds, societal and representative of the common good.” Haaparanta notes disapprovingly that independent committee work has all but disappeared and reports drafted by lobby groups are given an unreasonable amount of attention in public debate. “The tax policy working group recently headed by Martti Hetemäki is an example of how the quality of preparation work has eroded. From the very start, the best experts were excluded from the group because it was recognised that they would not agree with the conclusions, which were wanted from the working group,” Haaparanta says. Matti Pohjola, on the other hand, thinks the Hetemäki working group is an example of good practice, as is the tripartite committee that prepared the pension reform. “I find it uncomfortable that, in addition to researchers, expert committees include lobby group representatives and even some politicians. And then they expect a unanimous outcome – and another shortcoming is that everyone’s opinion is of equal value. Expert work and lobbying should not be mixed,” Pohjola advises. There are signs of positive developments as well – all three professors mention the establishment of

the Economic Policy Council, which commenced its work last autumn, as such a sign. “The Council is one way to produce a pure expert opinion on policy developments,” Pohjola says.

Many ways to influence The professors have somewhat differing attitudes towards public debate regarding economic policy. For Professor of Practice Korkman, publicity is a natural way to wield influence and share his expertise. He has, however, started to worry about being labelled just another talking head after becoming the most popular commentator on the eurozone crisis in the Finnish media. “I’m reluctant to disparage public debate because I myself enjoy such excellent opportunities for participating in it. But if we compare the situation to, say, Sweden, I think we should have a greater tendency to air weighty opinions instead of mere murmur.” Haaparanta has several examples of how economic debate can get sidetracked in the media. The most recent was provided by the Greek debt crisis. “The world has witnessed many debt crises and debt restructuring deals, but there has been no effort in the media to compare them to the situation in Greece. Instead, derogatory names are used publicly for the Greeks. Yet earlier debt restructuring and relief efforts happened in countries with similar levels of debt to the Greeks,” Haaparanta points out. Pohjola thinks that teaching is a more effective way to influence and educate than media debate. “Teaching is the most important channel of influence and it is belittled without good cause. We are training the finest Finnish youths here. The better they succeed AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13 \ 13

Theme in working life, the more fresh ideas and productivity is created.”

No easy instructions on offer But how can the Finnish economy be steered onto a growth track? The professors are cautious in their counsel. “Economic policy is politics. It’s easy to say what should be done on the basis of theoretical or empirical research. But things just get so bloody difficult if the people don’t accept them. In any case, fixing Finland’s structural problems will take years, perhaps even a decade,” Pohjola reckons. Productivity is a tricky target for economic policy because it is not subject to centralised decisions and is instead created wherever people work. It is likewise not possible to tell in advance which innovations will turn out good and which bad. “Nokia’s story shows that no-one was able to predict the company’s success or, for that matter, its collapse. The effects of innovation cannot be foretold,” Pohjola says. And what of the dispute Pohjola mentioned earlier – whether to stimulate demand or boost supply? Korkman refers to Juhana Vartiainen’s opinion that Finland needs to take measures to increase the supply of labour. Many citizens are protesting that unemployment is already bad enough without any such measures.

Rapid cuts can be destructive “Juhana talks about the economy over the long term and is right to do so. In the here and now, additional labour supply will not help,” Korkman says. Pohjola agrees in part. “The economy resembles classical theory over the long term, i.e. supply is decisive, and is more Keynesian in the short term. At present, Finland’s problems derive to a large extent from the supply side,” Pohjola analyses.

Haaparanta, in turn, is • Classical economics is a strong proponent of based on enlightenment Keynesian stimulation poli- philosopher Adam cies. He thinks the economic Smith’s ideas about free entrepreneurship and cycle has never been taken seriously enough in Finland. the market’s tendency to seek out equilibrium. “Finland is full of suggestions for structural reform, • Keynesian economics emerged during the even though we have an depression of the 1930s abundance of theory on and it emphasises the why such reforms can be state’s role in countering harmful in precisely the the ups and downs of kinds of crisis conditions the economic cycle. that Europe now finds herself in. The timing and conditions in which reforms should be implemented need to be considered more extensively. It may well be that the modernisations now being introduced are dangerous,” Haaparanta says. This view is supported by Korkman. “I’m ready to scold anyone who thinks the right solution is to straight away slash public spending by €5 billion next year. This would ruin the welfare state and is a poor policy for the prevailing stage of the economic cycle. More nuance is required. This is not an either-or issue, but a matter of measure; what, for example, is the appropriate schedule for cuts,” Korkman stresses. • Professor of Practice Sixten Korkman, 67, has observed the EU’s fiscal policies in particular as a civil servant in Finland, as Director General of Ecofin and as the Managing Director of ETLA, the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy. • Matti Pohjola, 64. The productivity specialist earned his doctorate at Cambridge and has worked as a professor since 1992. • Pertti Haaparanta, 60. The Professor of International Economics is an active blogger and proponent of stimulation and development aid.

Live broadcasts are an adrenaline rush Professor of Finance Vesa Puttonen from the School of Business is an active and willing participant in public debate. He identifies both official and human reasons for taking part. “It is in the interests of the School of Business for its people to engage in social discourse. A university representative is, in principle, a neutral party while others, such as banks and research institutions, may well have their own axe to grind,” he says. But Puttonen also acknowledges that it is easy for journalists to call someone they already know. And being asked is flattering for the object of interest. “A live TV broadcast like the nine o’clock news – the situation gives you an adrenaline rush and makes you very alert.” Puttonen holds the view that it is appropriate for researchers to comment publicly

also on matters, which do not fall into their own narrow specialist field. “Researchers are trained in opponency and argumentation, to call things into question. This is what we do for a living when we try to discover new ways to see things. Your world view would become very narrow if you only talked about your own research.” Puttonen emphasises that, in the final analysis, economics deals with human behaviour and not mathematical models: “This is a social science, not an exact discipline. There is no absolute truth, only argumentation, and this is why we should participate in debate.” It is thus worthwhile to talk publicly about topics that are popular at that moment, even if such matters can be a bit superficial at times. He does, however, draw the line at giving investment advice, which he

considers best left to the professionals of that field. “I don’t have a personal agenda as such, but my philosophy is certainly market-positive. I believe that entrepreneurship will push us forward and that the state should make itself as unnecessary as possible in the corporate sector.” • Professor of Finance Vesa Puttonen, 48, received his doctorate at the University of Vaasa in 1993. His interests include investing and he is a member of several corporate boards.


The creation of Internet-based business operations for industry demands networking from companies, universities and research institutions. No-one can manage the totality alone.

Industrial renewal requires cooperation Text Timo Hämäläinen Illustration Ida Wikström


HERE IS an enormous need

for industrial renewal. But, on the other hand, renewal offers an immeasurable amount of possibilities for business,” says Kati Hagros, the executive in charge of digitising KONE Corporation’s service business activities. Hagros envisions industrial digitalisation having revolutionary effects. Upheavals of the same magnitude were brought about by automation in the 1970s as well as the advent of the Internet era towards the end of the 1980s. Professor of Information Technology Martti Mäntylä of Aalto University is largely in agreement with Hagros. “Industrial digitalisation will apply information technology and the Internet to production and products as well as to the activities built up around them. Digitalisation offers options that


Finnish companies absolutely must avail of,” Mäntylä says.

Product evolution KONE has been making and servicing lifts for more than a century. The company utilises digitalisation in its service operations for, among other things, distance monitoring, communicating the data required in maintenance as well as for optimising and managing the work of personnel deployed in the field. KONE is now ready to take a leap forward. The company wants to realise its vision of helping mobility and optimising the flow of people in buildings and the built environment. “Our People Flow Intelligence line of products is already providing digital solutions that aim to optimise mobility,” Hagros notes.

Kati Hagros

Martti Mäntylä


Hagros says digitalisation will affect all sectors of industry. It has been utilised the most in commerce, the media and services. Now, intelligence is about to enter the physical world as well. “The concept of a product is evolving. Physical products are being coupled with information, which may be of greater value than the product itself. A company cannot exploit this value unless it has the ability to change its business logic.” In addition to the buyer of the product, such information is often of value to other parties as well. This makes it possible to increase the product’s value and achieve business growth. Hagros is convinced that the creation of new kinds of business activities inevitably demands networking. “The in-house product development and IT competencies of companies are no longer capable of producing desirable new products and product features on their own. Experts of various fields like cloud services, data security and applications must be engaged to assist with this.” Hagros believes that the agility necessary for developing the industrial Internet largely resides in small startups. This is why she hopes that encounters between large and small companies would become more common. Hagros also hopes that startups and major corporations are allowed to jointly design new ways to arrange services, which are now provided by public-sector bodies like cities and municipalities. Cooperation could help create solutions to domestic needs and for sale internationally.

“Application is not, as such, quite rocket science. There is an expanding number of suppliers for solutions that assist application and enable digitalisation. Companies of many sizes that are able to build services, products and prototypes faster and cheaper than before are already present on the markets.” The forest cluster and the engineering industry provide a foundation for new digital applications that can generate added value. Possibilities can also be identified in many other sectors.


firms are already involved in the community, whose members also include research institutions, universities and government ministries. For its part, Tekes promotes the creating of new kinds of business through its programmes 5thGear, Industrial Internet and Bits of health. “We are drafting a paper advocating inclusion of the industrial Internet in the next Programme for Government together with the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The authorities are aware of this and the industrial sector is keen to hear fresh ideas,” Mäntylä says.

More experts

The need for experts will increase in tandem with growth in business related to the industrial Internet. Data analysts and data security experts, for example, are already in short supply. Hagros thinks IT teaching should “We and the world face many challeng- be increased in the various degree proes associated with, for example, the envi- grammes of universities. All graduates should have a better understanding of, ronment, energy and democracy. for example, software architecture than Technology alone cannot solve them, but it often plays an integral part in solu- now. “Students need to grasp the fundamentions,” Mäntylä points out. tals of information and telecommunicaA further challenge comes from the tion technology in the same way that they millions of products already installed are required to understand the basics of around the world that now need to be languages and maths. This would enable coupled with new technology and fresh features. The service books of KONE, for people working in different tasks and at different levels of an organisation to example, contain more than one million better understand each other, recognise lifts. The oldest of these were delivered the potential of the industrial Internet in the early 20th century and are still in and develop business activities that are use. based on it.” Numerous application areas To the crest of the wave Hagros notes that, in addition to The technology needed for digitisHagros and Mäntylä think that Finnish basic training, more profound teaching ing industrial products and production industry has an excellent chance to climb is also needed to produce experts in, already largely exists, Professor Martti to and surf on the crest of the wave of for example, sensor monitoring, data Mäntylä notes. the industrial Internet. analytics and information security. “Sensor technology can already moni“Our expertise in digital, sensor and And even though the technology is tor almost any activity. Data transfer telecommunications technology is firstalready advanced, ample amounts of capacity has grown enormously and our rate. Following the creative destruction questions remain to be researched. ability to exploit even very large volumes of Nokia, we have lots of professionals The end of the information highway is of information with the tools of data with the necessary abilities for applying not yet in sight. analysis and machine learning has imtechnology. The situation is better than “People are engaging in interaction proved substantially.” is often thought,” Mäntylä estimates. with machines and devices that are Mäntylä reckons that digitalisation The industrial sector has also connected to control and information will continue to spread into new areas acknowledged the opportunities present- technology. This creates many challengwhen the usability of the necessary ed by digitalisation. An indication of this ing questions, the answers or improvetechnologies improves. Technological de- is the Finnish Industrial Internet Foments to which are being explored on velopment will make it easier for indusrum, fiif.fi, which was launched towards many levels, all the way down to basic try to apply digitalisation to its products. the end of last year. More than a hundred research,” Mäntylä says. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13 \ 17



Professional betting man Hannu Kauppinen has been a researcher at Nokia for more than 17 years. His present job involves deciding how much to invest in things like the development of nanotechnology or data analytics.

Text Heidi Hammarsten Photos Heidi-Hanna Karhu



ed as a research engineer with Nokia in 1997, the ascendant mobile phone company was an obvious choice for the fresh Doctor of Technology. That he’d still be working for the same employer nearly two decades later, although the company today looks entirely different, was much less apparent. For the last year, he has been Head of Nokia Labs at the Nokia Technologies business area. “Not a single day has been dull,” he remarks and explains: “We are always at the forefront: we never do anything easy, we focus on difficult problems. And we can hire talented people from around the world to help solve them because our research is done in places like Silicon Valley and in connection with top universities like Cambridge and Berkeley. In Finland, we operate in Espoo and Tampere in close cooperation with our key university partners.” His motivation is also buoyed by the diversity of projects. Kauppinen got his start in the measuring and modelling of radio waves. Later, he took part in launching research on 4G and then 5G. Examples of current research subjects include nanotechnology, audio and video standards, wearable electronics and utilising the methods of machine learning in data analytics.

The young Hannu, a high school graduate from Jyväskylä, was interested in many things, such as history, literature and languages. In 1986, however, he headed for Otaniemi to study physics because it was interesting and because it was his strongest subject.

The physics of a scientist and a businessman “The scientist in me has confidence in the ability of physics to explain the world – perhaps not all of it today, but at least we’ll be a little wiser come tomorrow. The industrialist, engineer and businessman in me rely on physics because it tells you what can be done now and what is possible in the future.” After getting his master’s, Kauppinen completed a licentiate degree in one year. The direction of his studies was influenced especially by Professor Pekka Hautojärvi and his applied physics research group. Hautojärvi also opened the door to a three-year PhD project in the field of semiconductor materials at the Atomic Energy Commission in Paris. He started working for Nokia shortly before completing his doctoral dissertation in December 1997. Around the mid-2000s, Kauppinen also developed an interest in innovations and the commercialisation of research findings. This led him to complete an

EMBA degree at the Helsinki School of Economics in 2007. “My doctoral training helped me get into research and scientific work, while the EMBA has spurred my progress in the commercialisation of ideas,” he says. His career at Nokia has progressed straightforwardly, even though the same cannot be said of the company itself. “Ups and downs are a part of life, they can be equally educational and having a fair mix of both brings variety. Nokia’s time in the doldrums was, for sure, challenging and stressful for everyone. The slump lasted for a long time with just the occasional glimmer of light and, finally, a bold decision was taken to change course, and it turned out to be the right choice,” Kauppinen says of the crisis years and the divestiture of the mobile phone business.

New Nokia, new opportunities For the research function, the new Nokia has brought a wealth of fresh opportunities for introducing new kinds of business models. “The Technologies business area no longer needs to protect any existing business activity. We are free to license our ten thousand patent families as we see fit. We can also license the realisation of our technologies to other companies, and we can participate in the development of AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13 \ 19


— Hannu Kauppinen graduated with a master’s in applied physics in 1993. He completed a licentiate degree the next year and was awarded a doctorate in technology in 1997. His doctoral dissertation dealt with imperfections in semiconductor materials and their measurement. Kauppinen completed an EMBA at the Helsinki School of Economics in 2007. Kauppinen was an intern at Nokia in 1990–91 and has been involved with the company’s research since 1997 in the capacity of, for example, Head of Nokia Research Centre in 2011–14. He is now at the helm of Nokia Labs. Kauppinen is married and has a school-aged daughter. His hobbies are building, running, skiing and golf.

products like the Android tablet Nokia N1. We supply its brand name and design, while our cooperation partner Foxconn handles production and marketing.” Kauppinen reckons that about 10% of the research unit’s projects give rise to business activities of real value. Around 30–40% can be commercially exploited to some degree, and at least half should just be buried. One of Kauppinen’s responsibilities is identifying and proposing new subjects for research, in addition to which he has a say in what projects are kept going and which are shut down. The entire executive group of the business area takes part in these important decisions. Kauppinen likens this work to betting. “You need to realise quickly which bets you should double down on. Another necessary ability is to know how to fail fast, to leave the table in a timely fashion.” Current examples of research topics with substantial potential include the industrial Internet and nanomaterials like needed to see business growth in order graphene, which can be used to make for the building of a new network to flexible displays. make sense.” And have they ever been too quick to The technology worked, cancel a project that should have been but business didn’t continued? As an example, Kauppinen Kauppinen recalls some past wagers. mentions Bluetooth 4.0, a radio technoloThe digital mobile video technology gy developed in the early 2000s that conDVB-H is an example of failure. It sumes very little energy. It can be used to never came into use and videos started connect the smallest of gadgets, like a key to be streamed over the normal mobile ring or a contact lens, to the Internet. phone network instead. “At the time, the view was that our job “The technology worked well, but is to sell mobile phones, not technology. the business didn’t. We underestimated So we released it, practically for free, to the performance capacity of the 3G netbe included in the Bluetooth standard. work. We also failed to understand that But I’ve no regrets about this, we’re proud a TV or mobile operator would have that everyone is using it now.” 20 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13

Wood Program

Liina – a transitional shelter, 2011. Designed by Aalto University architecture students, this building is meant to provide temporary housing in crisis situations. Its prefabricated plywoodpanel components are joined together using nylon straps (liina in Finnish). Photo: Anne Kinnunen.


Inspiring cooperation Aalto University cooperates closely with business and industry. One of the most praised forms of cooperation is the PDP product development project course, which industrial giant Wärtsilä has partnered with for years. Text Tiiu Pohjolainen Photos Wärtsilä


T THE START of the course,

I always tell the students that I don’t want to see a single technological solution during the first two months,” says Ilari Parkkinen. He wants to yank the group, which consists mostly of engineering students, out of their comfort zone straight away. A member of Wärtsilä’s industrial design team, Parkkinen is serving as the company’s liaison with PDP students for the third time. His task is to act as a link between the students and Wärtsilä’s enormous, globe-spanning network, support the students and ensure that the project is appropriately resourced by the company. Ilari Parkkinen has a workstation at the Open Innovation House in Otaniemi. “The students can come and chat with me on the fly, without making an appointment.” In addition to providing an approachable contact person, Wärtsilä opens a lot of doors for PDP students: during the project, they are allowed to access Wärtsilä’s data, make internal interviews and meet with customers and subcontractors quite freely. “For the duration of the project, these students are our employees who have the same opportunities as everyone else. For example, we give them training in user research.”

Study trip to Cape Verde This year’s cooperation project is named Driven11. It examines how virtual, augmented reality can be exploited in the construction of a power plant. Industrial design student Saga Santala is serving as the project manager on the student side: “Our multicultural team consists of eleven 22 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13

students, seven men and four women. Seven are studying engineering sciences, in addition to which we’ve got a few business and industrial design specialists.” The majority of the Driven11 team are in Finland, but two team members are distance students based in India. “Last autumn was spent on background research and conceptualising. Now, we’re focusing on further development of our concept and the manufacture of a prototype. Our group has been split into design and technology teams.” An essential part of this year’s project was the opportunity to observe the actual completion of the power plant on site. A field trip headed by Ilari Parkkinen took four students to see how the twinengine power station was built in Cape Verde. The students engaged in user surveys, interviewed local employees and recorded what they saw. After returning home, the team begun to examine the observed challenges and brainstorm possible solutions. “A wonderful aspect of PDP is getting to see how young people work, what kind of team members they are,” Parkkinen says. “Of course, these projects are rewarding for myself as well – they inspire my own work. Each PDP has yielded results for Wärtsilä that have in some manner been utilised in practice.” The students also have time to become familiar with the people of the partner corporation and there’s room for humour, too. “There’s no hierarchical thinking whatsoever because everyone is equally eager for a good end result. Wärtsilä’s people have inspired and encouraged us. It is in everyone’s interests for the project

to succeed, and us students get to learn so much from it,” says Saga Santala.

Course work of interest to corporate management Ilari Kallio, Wärtsilä’s VP for Research & Development, has also been a part of the PDP cooperation for a long time. “PDP’s results are of interest to Wärtsilä. Each year, our representatives, including senior executives, take the time to check out the works the students present,” he says. Wärtsilä engages in product development around Europe. Finnish meetings and the development of cooperation with various actors have, for a few years, been made easier by its physical presence at the Open Innovation House in Otaniemi. “Students know how to challenge the company’s existing structures. We can learn new ways to work or discover fresh

PDP students observing the completion of a power plant during a field trip to Cape Verde.

issues through them. Getting to know today’s students is also important from the perspective of future recruitment. We can show what Wärtsilä is like now and what kind of expertise we have to offer.” Wärtsilä cooperates with numerous universities around Europe. Energy technology connects the company closely with the University of Vaasa, in addition to which it engages in domestic cooperation with the universities of Tampere and Lappeenranta. “No university can offer everything that Wärtsilä needs,” Kallio says. “The better a university knows a company and its needs, and the better the company knows that university, the higher the quality of the proactive forms of cooperation that emerge. The PDP projects of recent years have yielded high-standard results and per-

haps its approach could, in future, be applied to other cooperation projects with different actors as well.” Ilari Kallio tells me about substantial EU- or Tekes-funded ventures that involve Wärtsilä and various institutions of higher learning, revealing that such cooperation can result in the creation of dozens of Master’s theses during the course of a single programme. “PDP is not an unreasonably costly investment for a company, but it can produce real results, such as prototypes.” The time and expertise invested into training is, according to Kallio, more significant. “I urge companies to really involve themselves with the training. Cooperating with students creates things that, in the final analysis, matter much more than just the end result of a team’s efforts.”

PDP what? • The Product Development Project (pdp.fi) is a course arranged by the Aalto Design Factory. It lasts a full academic year and has students design and realise a large, budgeted product development project in cooperation with a partner corporation. • Some 15–19 projects are realised with different companies each year. • Organised since 1997. • In total, 220 projects have been finished by spring 2015. • By spring 2015, the course has been completed by 2,149 students. • PDP culminates with the annual Product Design Gala, where the teams showcase their works. This year’s gala took place on 22 May.


On topic

Neurotechnology can benefit millions Brain stimulation technology with its roots in Otaniemi is used as an aid in neurosurgery all over the world. Great things are also expected in the treatment of serious brain disorders.

Text Minna Hölttä Photos Terhi Korhonen



and epilepsy involves millimetre precision – a misplaced cut could result in loss of mobility or speech. In the past, neurosurgeons had to penetrate the skull before they could locate the cortical centres that control key functions and to plan the operation in a way that would not damage them. With the aid of the navigated brain stimulation (NBS) technique, surgeons can now perform this charting noninvasively from outside the skull using magnetic pulses. “Competing devices that utilise magnetic stimulation emit pulses either with no navigation or they do it less accurately. Our equipment makes it possible to focus the stimulation very precisely using three-dimensional structural images while an EEG cap provides data on changes in the brain’s electrical activity and the other sensors on speech ability or muscle movements,” Academy Professor Risto Ilmoniemi, one of the original developers of NBS, explains.

Risto Ilmoniemi is one of the developers of NBS brain imaging instruments. These devices utilise navigated magnetic stimulation and are used by the HUS BioMag Laboratory, among others.

Small steps, major achievements The roots of NBS and the brain research being conducted at Aalto University extend to the early 1980s, when Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) Professor Olli V. Lounasmaa started to explore the secrets of the human mind alongside his work on low-temperature quantum physics. Part of his research group started to develop multichannel MEG devices for measuring brain activity. “It was difficult in the beginning, and it took years before we started to realise that this would actually be useful,” recalls Ilmoniemi, who joined the group in 1978 while still an undergraduate. “Individual steps forward can often feel very minor to researchers, but may very well build up to major achievements over the years.” The O.V. Lounasmaa Laboratory’s expertise in MEG gradually made it world-famous and physicians and psychologists like Riitta Hari and Risto Näätänen with their students began to use the equipment and develop applications. Ilmoniemi thinks that one of the strengths of Aalto’s and its predecessor HUT’s brain research is the close relationship maintained with medical science experts. An example of this cooperation is the BioMag Laboratory which is a joint venture between Aalto,

the University of Helsinki and the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa. Numerous other hospitals in Finland and abroad are also engaged. One of the key persons developing the collaboration with the hospital and establishing the BioMag Laboratory was professor Toivo Katila, the founder of the Laboratory of Biomedical Engineering of HUT. After moving to the BioMag Laboratory and supported by Katila, Ilmoniemi started to develop technology for NBS and the combination of NBS and EEG. “Finnish universities cannot compete with, say, their US counterparts when it comes to buying the most expensive items of equipment. Nevertheless, we’ve had access to the world’s best devices before anyone else because we build them ourselves,” Ilmoniemi sums up.

Aiming for a wonder cap This hardware expertise has also generated growing and international business activities. One successful venture is Nexstim Plc, which Ilmoniemi established, together with Pekka Puolakka and Markku Lahdenpää, in 2000 to commercialise NBS. Its devices are now used by all of Finland’s university hospitals as well as in some twenty other countries ranging from Russia to Canada and Japan. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13 \ 25

On topic

Interactions and the secrets of language Aalto Brain Centre (ABC) is a thematic centre for neuroscience and neurotechnology at the School of Science. It leans on the specialist competencies of some 20 professors and senior researchers as well as on the strengths of their respective laboratories and the versatile research infrastructure of Otaniemi. The ABC spurs cooperation in the fields of system-level neuroscience, brain imaging and neurotechnology. The aim is to increase understanding of how the human brain functions, develop clinical applications, design and build novel measuring instruments as well as develop sophisticated signal analysis methods for processing complex brain imaging data. The ABC is where people like Aalto Distinguished Professor Riitta Hari as well as Academy Professor Riitta Salmelin work. Riitta Hari, MD-PhD, started her research career in Otaniemi in the 1980s and has made a decisive contribution to the development of brain imaging methods and their applications. Right now, Hari and her group are focusing on two-person neuroscience, i.e. examining the brain basis of social interaction between humans. Riitta Salmelin, D.Sc. (Tech.), is an expert in systemlevel and cognitive neuroscience. She employs brain imaging to study what happens in our brains when, for example, we are reading or learning new words. The results of her very inter-disciplinary research could be of major benefit to understanding and treating language impairments.

Nexstim was listed on the stock exchange last year to attract capital for commercialising a stroke therapy it has developed on the basis of NBS. The NBS method itself has already received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, the world’s most significant oversight authority for medical use and sales permits. Therapy use would multiply the company’s growth potential: each year, about 800,000 people suffer a stroke in the USA alone – and about a third of them could benefit from Nexstim’s therapy. Ilmoniemi notes that there have been promising trials of using magnetic stimulation to treat depression, chronic pain, various addictions and tinnitus in 26 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13

Academy Professor Riitta Salmelin and Academician Riitta Hari are internationally distinguished neuroscience specialists. Their respective research groups work under the auspices of the Aalto Brain Centre, which stimulates synergies and collaboration in the fields of system-level neuroscience, brain imaging and neurotechnology.

Finland. The number of people who might benefit from this is enormous: serious depression afflicts 150 million people around the world, while 40 million suffer from epilepsy and 25 million from schizophrenia. Presently, there are plans for a major European research project that would further enhance the functionality of magnetic stimulation by substituting human control with a computer algorithm. “This will enable us to stimulate simultaneously several locations, thus providing effective access to neuronal networks, which connect different parts of the brain. The device will also measure brain’s reactions and the program will adjust the stimulation accordingly.

The aim is to develop self-guiding diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for our “wonder cap” that connects wirelessly to the brain,” Ilmoniemi says with a smile. Many top research groups, hospitals and businesses from around Europe are participating in the Aalto-coordinated venture to develop the next-generation, feedback-controlled TMS. Ilmoniemi says that a simple test device may be finished within a year, but hospitals will have to wait longer for their wonder caps. “Ten years is a realistic schedule for a clinical breakthrough,” he concedes. “Results don’t come about instantly in this line of work, but they can have absolutely enormous significance.”

Building the future

Dream job direct A passion for their work and a burning desire to succeed have spurred Miki Kuusi, Sonja Heikkilä and Satu Maaranen to achieve global recognition in their respective ďŹ elds. Text Marjukka Puolakka Photos Heidi-Hanna Karhu and Wiebke Bosse

Miki Kuusi, 25, has drafted one CV in his life. The resume was written as course work at the School of Business and probably still contains a few formal errors. Nevertheless, the list of this young man’s achievements is breathtaking: he launched a business at 20, held lead responsibility for the Slush event for four years, co-founded a foundation for funding startups, worked as a business analyst at Supercell and is now the co-founder and CEO of Wolt. At the beginning of his studies in 2009, he considered a career at a major corporation like Nokia, working as a McKinsey consultant or becoming an investment banker. But it was not to be. His studies were put on hold when work and other opportunities carried him away. “When I met some of the people behind the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, Aaltoes, I realised how seriously driven they were. Their aim at university was to found a new Google instead of getting a job at Google.” Aaltoes had been established six months earlier to support entrepreneurship and industrial cooperation at the new Aalto University. Kuusi soon set up

From Slush to a startup of his own

Miki Kuusi started studying finance at the Helsinki School of Economics in 2009. In 2010, he established a company to mobilise a fund-raising effort targeting Aalto University alumni. He was elected chairman of the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society in 2011 and took part in the founding of the startup company foundation in this capacity. Kuusi and his team arranged Slush in 2011–14. He and six other entrepreneurs established Wolt, a business that produces ordering and payment applications, in autumn 2014.

his first company, which attracted millions of euro from alumni in an Aaltoorganised funding campaign. The Finland post welfare event was produced with Kuusi as chairman of Aaltoes. This was also the beginning of the successful Slush startup event, which attracted some 14,000 participants last autumn. Now, it’s time to run Wolt, his own startup. In autumn 2014, the firm received €400,000 as seed capital from Finnish investors. “Our first product is a smart phone app that allows you to place and pay for a restaurant order in advance and then pick it up when going to work, for example.” Kuusi intends to complete his studies whenever the time is right – he’s not the type to leave loose ends.

Satu Maaranen, 30, started making clothes for her dolls with a sewing machine when she was six. Today, she designs collections for Marimekko, Petit Bateau of France and a Chinese lifestyle brand whose customers include the first lady of China. In between, she graduated as a Master of Arts from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture with her thesis work earning the highest grade. As part of her degree, Maaranen studied and trained in Belgium, Holland and Italy. The Italian family company she worked for allowed her to also conduct research and design patterns for the likes of Max Mara and Prada. Maaranen has participated in many international design contests in a determined effort to further her career. She was named best newcomer at the Elle Style Awards in 2012 and Princess Mary of Denmark handed her first prize at the Designers’ Nest contest in 2010. Winning at the Festival d’Hyères, considered by many to be the number-one event in the world of fashion, elevated her to the very pinnacle of her field.

To the pinnacle of the fashion world

Satu Maaranen is a freelance fashion designer who works for Marimekko and Petit Bateau, among others. She graduated as a Master of Arts from the fashion and collection design degree programme in 2012. Her collection of women’s clothes won first prize at the Festival d’Hyères in 2013. Her works have been shown at the Berlin, Paris and New York fashion weeks, in addition to which they have featured in many fashion and design magazines ranging from Vogue to Monocle.

“For a Finnish designer, international contests are a vital springboard to the global scene. The win at Hyères has spawned an enormous amount of work and contacts.” Last summer, her collection of maritime clothing was launched at more than 300 French outlets of Petit Bateau. The amount of publicity this garnered ensured that her face is now recognised on the streets of Paris. She believes that one of the keys to her success has been her willingness to stand out and be original. “I create slow fashion, which is both timeless and handmade. You have to be aware of what others are doing and have the daring to do what pleases you.”

Building the future

As a child, Sonja Heikkilä crafted gaming machines out of cardboard, developed coded languages and dreamed of becoming an inventor. After graduating from high school, she decided that Otaniemi would be her school of invention and enrolled there in 2008. Today, the 25-year-old transport engineer is bombarded with enquiries from companies and major world cities that need to develop their transport solutions. Heikkilä is a sought-after conference speaker and hundreds of articles on her have appeared in the international media. All the commotion is about the Mobility as a service concept, which Heikkilä developed in her Master’s thesis. It wraps various modes of transport into a single package for the user, with private mobility operators coordinating the participating services. In addition to boosting the efficiency of transport, the aim is to generate private business activity in the form of competing operators. “I take two buses as part of my commute. The new service would enable me to get to work in a shared car or, say, cover some of the distance on a city bike. And if I want to go exercise after work, the operator can have my workout bag delivered directly to the gym in the morning. When I’m loaded with

Shaping an export brand

shopping, I can get a cab or an ondemand Kutsuplus bus.” Random chance, her initiative and the annual Guild of Civil Engineers ball all combined to deliver Heikkilä to complete her Master’s thesis at Helsinki’s City Planning Department. She started to talk with Sampo Hietanen, CEO of ITS Finland and the originator of the mobility service idea, at the ball. “We were taken by bus to an after party and I heard more about this idea during the trip. The next Monday, I attended a City Planning Department seminar at Sampo’s invitation. While there, I realised that this was what I wanted to work on.” Now, she is organising a funding application round for mobility operators at Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, and marketing Finland as a pilot platform for the new service. International attention began to focus on her after the US magazine Foreign Policy named her as one of the world’s 100 most important thinkers. “Last autumn, I was the keynote speaker at the American Public Transportation Association’s annual meeting and heard that this was what they had been trying to do for more than five years. At Tekes, we want Finland to be the first to produce this service – it could be a major image-enhancing factor and an export brand for us. This is my dream job.”

Sonja Heikkilä majored in road and transportation technology, graduating from the School of Engineering in 2014. Six months of her studies were spent as an exchange student at the Vienna University of Technology. The Mobility as a service Master’s thesis made Heikkilä an internationally recognised name. She now works as a specialist at Tekes, promoting the creation of new business activities and touring the world talking about her mobility service concept.


In-house This section gives you a picture of what’s happening at Aalto University. Paper tessellation by Chrystal Bennes, Taina Hyppölä, Lauri Laatu, Linda Lazarov, Mona Taponen and Janne Rinta-Mänty.

Math meets art and architecture Text Paula Haikarainen Photos Adolfo Vera, Aila Blomberg Crystal Flowers in Halls of Mirrors is a multidisciplinary course, which examines the confluences of mathematics, art and architecture. The collaborative efforts of this spring’s students resulted in works of art, which were exhibited at the Otakaari 1 building on the Otaniemi campus. Pictured are some of the works displayed at the exhibition. The exhibition was part of the new Aalto Festival. The two-week festival was arranged for the first time this May and it consisted of more than 30 events, exhibitions and seminars that showcased the competence of Aalto University’s students, recent graduates and academic staff.

Rhombic dodecacube by Elias Axelsson, Hilla Fred, Henri Judin, Viivi Livio and Meri Tuomela.


Mรถb&ius by Robin Landsdorff, Rasmus Ruohola, Sara Saukkonen and Riikka Schroderus.

Clock by Liisi Huotari, Satu Kruus, Marloes Van Son and Siyan Zhuang. 4D Himmeli by Sebastian Bjรถrkman, Tristan Hamel, Zsuzsanna Horvath, Kaisa Kangas and Saara Louhensalo.


Learning from nature

On topic

In his lab, Academy Professor Olli Ikkala is catching up with evolution’s lead in the manufacture of materials. The results of his work may be of crucial significance to an energy-scarce society.

Text Minna Hölttä Photo Terhi Korhonen


the construction and regulation of natural materials is astronomical, making iar research subjects for physicists. it impossible to understand them comThe desire to understand them has pletely. But what if we could cherry-pick, given birth to an enormous amount of choose and grasp only the key mechascientific insights and technological nisms and use them to develop improved breakthroughs. The materials of living materials?” beings are less familiar to them. Interdisciplinary, naturally “Simplifying just a little, it can be said The field of science that tries to copy that they are complicated for physicists: the way in which nature forms materials they have lots of parts that interact with Olli Ikkala is describing is called biomione another, they react to stimuli and they have many functions, some of which metics. One of its most important tools is self-assembly, a typical characteriscan even be contradictory. However, tic of biological materials, where a codan understanding of what a treasure trove our living environment is for physi- ed interaction existing between structural components makes them form nacists and materials scientists has begun nostructures of a specific kind. This is to emerge in recent times,” Olli Ikkala how nature creates, for example, mollusc says. nacre, the shell of a crab and the amyWith a distinguished career in industry and science behind him, the Academy loid plaques that develop in the brain of an Alzheimer’s sufferer. All of them have Professor knows what he’s talking mechanical properties that match those about: he heads the Academy of Finland of metals. Centre of Excellence in Molecular “We want to make biomimetic materiEngineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid als, which combine strength, resilience Materials and, with multimillion euro and lightness, but also create materials funding from the European Research that have properties of an entirely new Council, is developing new functional kind,” Ikkala says and underlines that materials. The treasure trove contains the inter-disciplinary approach in vogue inspiring examples for them that have in academia comes naturally for biomicome about as the result of millions or metics – drawing the line between biobillions of years of evolution. chemistry, chemistry and physics is “Nature produces material like silk, unnecessary, even impossible. which is strong, resilient and light at Unnecessary boundaries should be the same time. It has developed dirt-resistant surfaces, self-repairing materials, avoided elsewhere, too. “I don’t believe in a strict separation joints with minimal friction, excellent colour-creating mechanisms and organ- of basic and applied research. Good basic isms that move around in many different research requires a profound understanding of the laws of nature, and basic ways. The number of factors involved in LEMENTS LIKE HYDROGEN, CARBON AND SILICON are famil-

research and commercial aims are not mutually exclusive. Theoretical physicist Alan Heeger, winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry, commercialises solar cells, while another theoretical physicist, Ludvik Leibler, is modernising the methods of surgery. I’ve had the pleasure to deal with both of these men. We, too, want to both publish our research in the finest journals and launch new business activities,” Ikkala stresses. We’ll have to wait for biomimetic materials for industrial production to emerge, but promising candidates already exist. One such is a nacre-like material developed by Ikkala’s research group. Its manufacturing process is largely based on self-assembly. It consists of nanometre-thick clay sheets that are covered by a nanometre-thick polymer layer that form an extremely strong layered structure.


On topic

“We’re exploring new application possibilities for this material in cooperation with the School of Arts, Design and Architecture.”

“If, however, I splice it into smaller and smaller parts, I’ll eventually get cellulose fibres that are five nanometres thick and have absolutely phenomenal properties, and can start to compile a new kind of material from them. But a profound unLight and renewable derstanding of self-assembly and the inSo what are new materials needed for? teractions between molecules is needed At least for the development of a more energy-efficient society: lightness would for the creation of entirely new types of properties.” be very beneficial for transport, for exIt is believed that nanocellulose will ample. Making an ordinary passenger air have a wealth of applications in, for explane that flies 3,000 hours per year just ample, the forest, furniture, construction 100 kg lighter would save 9 tonnes of and pharmaceuticals industries. It’s no kerosene and cut carbon dioxide emissurprise that nanocellulose and its applisions by almost 29 tonnes per year. cations are being studied actively by The need to replace non-renewable natural resources with renewables is also Ikkala’s group and elsewhere at Aalto spurring development. Finland has plen- University. “We have to discover alternatives to ty of forests, but your basic pine tree canthe paper industry. Our forests contain not serve as the high tech material of lots of renewable natural materials – why the future as is. not develop them into something entirely • Ikkala’s ERC funding is for the period “This, for example, isn’t very strong,” 2012–2016 and totals €2.3 million. new and fantastic?” Ikkala says and knocks on the table.

ERC what? The European Research Council (ERC) supports ground-breaking research across all fields of science by funding the work of top scientists. Nineteen Aalto University people have received ERC funding, twelve of whom are working with a fiveyear ERC Starting Grant, which is given to talented young researchers to set up their own research group. There are two recipients of an ERC Consolidator Grant, which funds distinguished group leaders who have at least seven and no more than twelve years as a researcher behind them. Five scientists have been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant, which is earmarked for advanced top researchers.

Examples of funded projects Solving mysterious energy loss • Electrical engines suffer from 5–10 percent energy loss. The cause of about one percentage point of this is unknown and cannot be modelled. This may sound like a small share, but on the level of the European Union alone, it has a price tag of some €3 billion each year. • Professor of Electrical Engineering and ERC Advanced Grant recipient Antero Arkkio and his research group want to find out where this mystery percent of engine power goes. After this, the goal is to develop numerical models for the loss that can help designers optimise the structure of engines and minimise the amount of lost energy. • Arkkio’s ERC funding is for the period 2014–18 and totals almost €2.5 million.

Expert in quantum phenomena • Achievements in quantum mechanics have enabled both today’s optical fibre technology and the Internet. In her project, which has received ERC Advanced Grant funding, Professor 34 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13

Päivi Törmä focuses on studying macroscopic quantum coherence, physical phenomena in ultra-cold gasses and nanoscale optical phenomena. Her research may result in applications such as new nanoscale light sources, for example. • Törmä’s ERC funding is for the period 2013–17 and totals €1.6 million.

Improving user interfaces • More and more of us spend a large part of our working and leisure time with various terminal devices. • ERC Starting Grant recipient Professor Antti Oulasvirta uses, among other things, mathematical optimisation algorithms to identify better user interfaces for these devices. His findings can help optimise the functioning of, for example, keyboards, menu systems, gestural interfaces and information networks, and make their use as effortless, efficient and pleasant as possible. • Oulasvirta’s ERC funding is for the period 2015–20 and totals €1.5 million.

Wood Program

Luukku House, 2010. More than 75% of the materials used to build this wood-structured zero-energy house are renewable and all of its energy needs are covered with solar power. The interior decoration of the house, which was designed by Wood Program students and undergraduates from various engineering programmes, was the work of Aalto’s spatial and furniture design students. Luukku House received the Finnish Wood Award in 2010. Photo: Montserrat Zamorano Gañán.

Director-professor Susanna Helke wants her ďŹ lm project to show professionals of care work, among others.

Art & design

Can you film debt? Text Tiiu Pohjolainen Photo Heidi-Hanna Karhu

A research project in the cinematic arts examines the transition of the welfare society and challenges the technical traditions of documentary film.


TARTLED. That’s what Documentary Film Professor, director Susanna Helke, was at the end of last year when news about a Kone Foundation grant was confirmed. The sum, €280,630, was more than what her team had applied for. When seeking funding for the Images of harmony and rupture research project, the team was well aware that the Foundation’s new Is Finland becoming polarised? programme had drawn the interest of big-name applicants, including investigative journalists, social scientists and economists. Or, like she jokingly says, real researchers. Susanna Helke applauds the Kone Foundation for their boldness and vision. Their programme hit fertile social ground. In a way, the Foundation encouraged exploration of uncharted territories, digging fresh ground to find out what it contains. Helke’s team will use the means of documentary film to dig out and showcase the ongoing transition of the welfare state.

From emotions to economics Images of harmony and rupture is a multi-year project and the intention is to get several documentary films started during it. An equally significant goal is to challenge the traditions of social documentaries. “Models, formats that film-makers unconsciously follow, emerge from the traditions of documentary film,” Helke notes. “Poverty has always been a solid subject when you wanted a documentary film to react to social transition. Go to a slum or the breadline. Such subjects are an avenue through which the viewer can be supplied with compassionate emotions that make them feel good.” But, as society and societal rhetoric have changed, so must traditions also be challenged. “An impulse that gets a new kind of thinking in motion is needed. It is important to consider how and why things are done and how they are perceived.” Helke has noticed how the themes of the film-makers of her own generation distinctly hover around emotions and relationships. Documentaries about personal relationships, family ties and individual experiences have been created. But how to make visible the juxtaposition of material and immaterial values? Money defines everything, starting from how many substitute teachers a day care centre is allowed to hire during flu season. How to make a film about productivity?

Big money €280,630 is a lot of cash. What does it get you? “We are, of course, only getting started. We’re now going to start exploring our subjects in earnest.” At least four synopsis-stage documentary films are included in the project. Two of these are thesis works being made by Master’s degree students. Post-doc researcher, director Jouko Aaltonen is working on a film of his own and Helke is also doing background research for a film. “In the best case scenario, Images of harmony and rupture will initiate 4-7 films over a period of four years,” the professor outlines. “The grant is, however, not enough to make all these movies. A lot depends on external funding.” “We also engage in art-practice-led or artistic research. It creates an involvement with the traditions of societal documentary film and how it has reflected the various phases in the welfare state’s history. Thus, tradition is challenged through making and writing.” Articles and essays that will shed light on the subject within their own field and beyond the world of film-making will be published. One way to reach outside the field of film, beyond the familiar, could come via a think-tank being planned by the team. It would connect film-makers with economics and social science experts. Helke reckons this think-tank would produce research in addition to synergy benefits and exchanges of ideas. Even though the Images of harmony and rupture project is aimed at postgraduate film students, the think-tank should be beneficial to other students as well. But where can the actual Images of harmony and rupture be seen? “A film called Hoivatyöläisen nauru (The care worker’s laugh) is in the preparatory stage. I’m trying to grasp the paradoxes associated with the madness of trying to turn the immaterial into something that can be counted. I want to parade a large group of the heroic women who work in care in front of the camera.” We’ll have to wait for the finished documentary films on harmony and rupture. After meeting with this director-professor, I nevertheless dare suspect that we’ll be seeing images of debt, regeneration, care, economics and productivity.


Art & design

Better bureaucracy through design Text Tiiu Pohjolainen Photo Terhi Korhonen

Service design can ease the stress of red tape and provide assistance via a single service point.


HERE IT IS AGAIN, sneakily demanding attention. A pile of unrequested letters received by a family providing informal care for a loved one at home. Several hospital departments, Kela as well as the city’s social services and education departments have approached the family. Each letter demands action. Not a single one brings relief to everyday life. Sorting through the pile makes you think why none of the senders has considered what it feels like to constantly have to verify that your loved one’s disability has not been cured, or that they are still ill or elderly. Why go through the painful process many times, for many sectors of administration and on paper no less? Couldn’t the rigmarole be made more efficient? Could, say, service design, be of help?

From matter to the unsteady This is the first academic year in which Professor Tuuli Mattelmäki has taught service design to undergraduate students. The course has been around for years, but only on the Master’s level. Introducing user-centred service design to the early stages of studies makes the concept of service – something other than a tangible and unchanging end product – more familiar and understandable to students. “There’s plenty of designed matter in this world,” says Professor Mattelmäki, who specialises in product and service systems. “Service design is an umbrella term that covers a lot of different activities. Many professionals who are not trained as designers engage in service design,” she says. Often a service has just been formulated out of necessity – the data the form requires must be conveyed from the customer to the system – and not a single design professional has participated in its design. “Being user-oriented, thinking about what has value and meaning for the user of the service, is of essential importance.” Whether a service is produced by a business or a public agency, its meaning is not the same as the interface the user encounters. Nor is meaning created by a company’s reception premises or mobile application, and certainly not by that paper letter filled with bureaucratic jargon.

Secure at home Aalto University and the City of Helsinki have realised numerous joint projects, which have intro38 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13

duced the operating practices of service design to the public sector. The City has defined user-oriented innovation as one of its strategic goals and wants to shift the emphasis of services from organisation-driven to user-oriented. The most recent cooperation venture developed a customer-oriented service network in the Lauttasaari district that gathers the services required by senior citizens and families providing informal care at home according to the needs of the customers instead of the organisations. Customers get help for matters like dental health issues and advice on how to manage everyday chores, among other things. Information about their needs was compiled by studying the daily routines of customers and the social services they use. Having an understanding of the necessary support measures and expectations of each family that engages in informal care makes it possible to provide more individualised help, almost matching the one-stop principle. The customer is not asked to consider if help and the budget for it is provided by a health centre, dental care unit, the emergency services or the elder services unit.

Smooth public relations It is not always easy to work as a designer in the labyrinthine public sector. Permit application processes, intra-organisation jargon, slow decisionmaking and the strict boundaries between different administrative departments add a special flavour to the work. Still, Tuuli Mattelmäki sounds confident when emphasising how design expertise is in many way comprehensive, especially when it is combined with other competencies. Service design is, in her eyes, very much a public relations activity. Relationships and networks must extend to the service user and also to the service providers, decision-makers, administrators, personnel – the list goes on. The entire process chain of each service is examined. The links of the chain include many different actors, all of which have an impact on what the end user, that very ordinary person, winds up experiencing. Designers can expect to keep getting plenty of work that does not involve product design. Let’s hope that at least a few designers decide to tackle those stacks of mail that still haunt families providing informal care at home.

Service design specialist, Professor Tuuli Mattelm채ki has steered several cooperation ventures realised jointly with the City of Helsinki.

International Design Factory Week 2014 © Aalto Design Factory

Swinburne Design Factory Swinburne Design Factory © Kit Haselden Photography

International Design Factory Week 2014. © Aalto Design Factory

Swinburne Design Factory

In there

Aalto Design Factory showing the way Aalto University’s Design Factory is a centre for multidisciplinary teamwork where participants learn by doing. It has already inspired and served as an example for four other design factories around the world. Similar operations have gotten off to a strong start in Shanghai, Melbourne, Santiago and Geneva. Four new members will join the Design Factory Global Network this year.

Text Marjukka Puolakka AALTO DESIGN FACTORY supports the establishment of new Design Factories around the world. Even though each of them sets up its activities to match the needs of its own parent university, they all share a common starting point. This includes a desire to create a culture of learning and doing that promotes innovation. “In many cases, these operations have emerged out of a desire to change the university’s internal culture, and the Design Factory operating model has been the key for this. We are confident that every person has potential and give them the freedom to do, support for which results in new kinds of solutions. The point of departure is to gather students of different fields together to ponder and solve the problems of working life,” says Päivi Oinonen, who coordinates the Design Factory Global Network. Design Factories also give room for ideas that are discovered through chance. At Otaniemi, one opportunity to do so is provided by an open breakfast that is served each Tuesday by the students. “The idea has been received with enthusiasm around the world, although the Chinese replaced breakfast with dinner, as it was more appropriate for their culture,” says Viljami Lyytikäinen, who is responsible for Aalto Design Factory’s international functions.

Bootcamp inspiration Design Factory Bootcamp is a week-long paid training event for universities that are interested in establishing a Design Factory of their own. It is arranged at the Otaniemi campus once a year. “The Bootcamp shows folks what this is all about in practice. It is a week of intensive learning, for which everyone tries to find a personally appropriate perspective. Among other things, the programme includes a joint workshop for students and corporations,” Lyytikäinen says. Another annual event is Design Factory Week, which gathers people from the different factories together for one week. Responsibility for arranging the event is passed around, and this year it takes place in Chile. “It is an incredibly inspiring week, during which new cooperation projects are planned. Last year in Australia, everyone got to experience the context of the local operation. The organiser’s parent university also gets to see what this international network is really about,” Oinonen notes. The Design Factory Global Network continues to grow. A Bootcamp once again encouraged newcomers this May.


Sino-Finnish Centre

Existing Design Factories

Swinburne Design Factory. © Kit Haselden Photography

• Shanghai’s Sino-Finnish Centre (SFC – previously known as AaltoTongji Design Factory) was created in 2010 as a pilot venture for cooperation between the just-established Aalto University and Tongji University. The operation emphasises teaching and design, which is a rising field at Tongji. Its courses combine theory and practice, familiarising students from different countries and various fields with the problems and working practices of professional life. One of SFC’s tasks is to introduce the Finnish model of cooperation between universities and businesses to China as well as to break the boundaries and language barriers that exist between


• Australia’s Swinburne Design Factory (SDF) wants to serve as a bridge connecting students with working life. Its project-based teaching examines the problems of cooperation partners that cannot be solved from the perspective of a single scientific discipline. Student teams and corporate participants are offered an inspiring work culture that encourages experimentation and is promoted through, for example, design jams, baking sessions and shared breakfasts. Projects involve major corporations, SMEs and start-ups alike. Inspired by the Aalto Design Factory, SDF was founded to support multidisciplinary teaching at suitably encouraging premises. Every course includes a research component and the teams are supported by researcher and business mentors in addition to their teachers. On offer are both an Australian product development course as well as international courses, one of which is a joint venture with Aalto. In one project, a team of students developed a loudspeaker concept based on a participating company’s technology that utilised design, branding and marketing. The company took the concept into further development, released a product on the market and decided to refresh its corporate image on the basis of the team’s efforts.

Chinese and Western cultures. SFC is creating a culture of action that tests the boundaries of tradition and is not afraid to make mistakes. SFC is part of Shanghai’s Team Finland and cooperates with public organisations and private companies. One example of this is the Radical Design Week, which got started from the cooperation between Aalto and Tongji. Finnish design expertise has received extensive visibility in Shanghai through this event. SFC also serves as the sitting room for Shanghai’s Finns and its wooden sauna provides a relaxed venue in which new cooperation ventures can be planned.


Its projects aim to tackle social ailments in addition to problems related to particle physics. Projects range from two-day hackathons to courses lasting several months as well as 3–4-year research and development ventures. Among other things, the Challenge Based Innovation project had 45 students from all over the world consider how sensor technology could be used to help the elderly or improve food safety. Over six months, participants worked both face-to-face and at distance to develop prototypes with teachers and inspiration coaches.

• During its two-year history, Duoc Design Factory has established a presence at Duoc UC’s four campuses around Chile. It was founded so that the university’s students of various fields could have unifying learning experiences at courses, which combine theory and practice. Teaching emphasises the ability to work in a team and the students learn how to internalise soft skills and entrepreneurial thinking. Over the past year, Duoc Design Factory has experimented with course

formats aimed at different types of target groups that included an intensive course for night-time students as well as workshops for teachers and university personnel. One example of success is a cooperation project between students and a support organisation for handicapped children in which a student team, steered by the organisation, developed a prototype aid, which children can use when participating in physical rehab in a swimming pool.

RTU Design Factory

Duoc Design Factory

• CERN’s IdeaSquare in Switzerland is proud of it’s just-opened building at the core of the European particle research campus. IdeaSquare develops new, experimental ways to highlight the social value of basic research. In addition to CERN’s physicists and its Knowledge Transfer Group, mechanical, electronics and IT engineers as well as various organisations from the Geneva area are involved. Cooperation also engages universities and companies from different countries. The students represent a variety of fields like architecture, industrial design, media, marketing, business and the engineering sciences.

The new Design Factories

International Design Factory Week 2014. © Aalto Design Factory

• Riga Technical University’s RTU Design Factory aims to serve as a neutral operating platform for cooperation between the university’s different faculties. Students are encouraged to join research projects, where they get to know the possibilities of design and product development. The working principle is to provide direction instead of absolute truths. One of its first offerings is an English-language course that combines design thinking and methods with product development and the manufacture of prototypes. University students and staff can make free use of its laboratory. The motto of its activities is We make things happen in a fun way – and we make fun things happen!

International Design Factory Week 2014 © Aalto Design Factory


• The most recent addition to the globe-spanning network is Seoul’s just-opened Design Factory Korea. Its home base is Yonsei University’s Underwood International College (UIC), which provides multidisciplinary teaching to students from different corners of the world. Its activities stem from UIC’s Techno-Art department, which merges design, technology, culture and management in an open-minded way. DF Korea wants to create an environment that encourages creative learning and the discovery of practical solutions. It also wants to make space for the unexpected.

Politécnico do Porto / GCI

• One of the worldwide network’s • Portugal’s Porto Design Factory new partners is the Frisian Design (PDF) will celebrate its launch in Factory, being established in May. It connects Politécnico do Porto connection with the Dutch NHL students, teachers and researchers University of Applied Sciences. with recent start-ups. Its boss Rui The university’s goal to increase Coutinho says the doors are open to cooperation between different scientific anyone who wants to change the world. fields provided the motivation for its The PDF wants to be a catalyst for establishment. The Dutch were inspired a culture of experimental and solutionat last year’s Design Factory Bootcamp oriented teaching that supports and have since then been looking to entrepreneurial thinking. The aim is Finland as an example. The Frisian to topple hierarchical, professional Design Factory will become fully and inter-disciplinary walls. operational by the end of this year.

In there

Design Factory Bootcamp © Aalto Design Factory

We make waves! Experience artificial surf waves by Artwave Surf™ at Kalasatama Surf-N’-Art City, an urban surf park combining art, city life, design and surfing. Open to 31 August. artwavesurf.com The event is part of the Aalto Festival programme. aaltofestival.fi

Fresh winds in teaching Aalto Design Factory (ADF) introduced a new kind of teaching culture to Aalto University that emphasises connecting different fields, teamwork and problem-based learning. Since 2013, ADF has been responsible for the interdisciplinary and practice-oriented Aaltonaut minor subject for Bachelor’s students that emerged from a teaching development project. A university-wide modernisation of teaching commenced with Aalto’s Bachelor’s programmes in autumn 2013. Now, all schools of technology and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture each have only a single Bachelor’s degree programme. The School of Business has two: a Finnishlanguage one in Helsinki and an English-language programme in Mikkeli. Students now apply for more comprehensive study totalities and can make choices within them. The idea is to support multidisciplinary studies. The students are given intensive personal guidance and encouraged to devote their time primarily to studying during the first year. The progress of their studies is also monitored actively. All teaching on the Bachelor’s level will gradually relocate to recently renovated premises at Otakaari 1. The structure of the Master’s degree programmes in engineering is also set to change. Studies under the new curricula will commence in August 2015.

All About Me competition challenges students to design a digital Finland. Create new ways of presenting the public administration register data of Finnish citizens and win 15.000 euros! kaikkiminusta.suomi.fi/en/

Nominate your candidate for the 2016 Millennium Technology Prize by July 31, 2015 at Ǥ ǤƤȀ AWARDED BY


Career path to Aalto

10 min

A tenure track programme for professors attracts new experts to Aalto University. About a third of our new professors are international recruits. Italian Santo Fortunato and five other professors talk about their work and research.

Edited Ned Kelly Coogan, Paula Haikarainen Photo Maija Astikainen

Who are you? I am Santo Fortunato (PhD), Professor of Complex Systems at the Aalto University School of Science. What does your research group do? We investigate complexity in various types of systems, with a focus on social and information systems. A system is complex if its behavior cannot be simply inferred from the behavior of its constituents. This happens because of nonlinear feedback effects in the interactions of the constituents. The spreading of epidemics in a population and the collective motion of pedestrians are examples of complex phenomena. In the last few years, I have also been active in the so-called science of science, i.e., studying the activity of scientists based on their citation and collaboration patterns. This also involves the problem of how to evaluate the impact of a work or a scientist, so it is very relevant to policy-making. How did you end up in this field? I have wanted to study physics since as long as I can remember. My original dream was to study the fundamental laws of nature, which is why I chose theoretical particle physics as the topic of my PhD. Later, I was gripped by the new emerging field of complex system science, which I joined with enthusiasm for two reasons: 1) it offers the opportunity to study problems involving multiple disciplines and compare views with scholars from very different backgrounds; 2) being an emerging field, there was a realistic (albeit small) chance to make pioneering contributions. What’s best about your work? The most intriguing thing, in my view, is the possibility to invent new types of problems. There are, of course, some well-defined paths in this field and people are becoming increasingly specialized, but there is still room to strike out in new directions and open fresh fields of

investigation. Also, in contrast to the more theoretical work I used to engage in as a particle physicist, a lot of what I now do has potential practical applications, both in the business world and in science policy-making. What is the most difficult aspect of your work? Working in a fairly new field has some drawbacks, too. The competition for jobs is tougher because, while we wait for new departments of complex systems to emerge, scholars like me must seek employment in traditional divisions, which often consist of scholars that do not appreciate this kind of research. Likewise, it is more difficult to receive funds due to the lack of dedicated calls in our topics. Fortunately, things are improving, both because the field is growing and becoming more visible, and because several scientific communities are starting to realize the potential applications that our concepts and methodologies could have in their own lines of work. What part of your career are you proud of? I was lucky enough to make my first steps in the world of complex systems working on a problem that was just starting to become popular, i.e., the detection of communities in networks. Communities are groups of entities that are strongly related to each other and not so much to the rest of the system they belong to. As an example, one could think of groups of friends in a social network. Methods to detect such groups by knowing only the network structure are very much in demand, and I happened to make some fundamental contributions in this field and that is what I am best known for at present. I am also proud to be the chair of the ICCSS 2015, the first International Conference on Computational Social Science, which will take place in Helsinki in June. I proposed this new conference because I knew that Aalto strives for excellence and would be on my side. Without this knowledge I would not have done it. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13 \ 47

10 min

Career path

to Aalto

• (Dr.h.c., D.Eng., PhD, Dr.habil.) • Adjunct Professor of Systems Engineering • School of Chemical Technology • Came to Outotec and Aalto, via University Melbourne and Outotec (Australia), after a full-time professorship at TU Delft

Who are you? I am full-time Director, Technology Management, at Outotec and part-time Adjunct Professor at Aalto University. My expertise is in process metallurgy, process design, simulation and control. I am a globally recognised leader in recycling, design for recycling as well as circular economy and sustainability issues. Awards, books as well as 400+ publications document this passion.

I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Liège in March 2015 and have been appointed Director of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) as of September 2015. What is your mission? Sustainability and exciting young people to innovate a sustainable circular economy. My presently dual role in industry and academia makes it possible to guide students to techno-economic solutions. My motto: Leave the Earth a better place by providing the tools and philosophy to enable it. This is reflected in the UNEP report on metal recycling I am the lead author of. It develops a product centric approach that enables a systems engineering approach that quantifies the resource efficiency of a circular economy. My teaching and research embraces these aspects that link product design to metallurgical processing.

Katsuyki Haneda • (D.Eng.) Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering • School of Electrical Engineering • Came to Aalto University from Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan

Adolfo Vera

What does your research group do? We research radio frequency (RF) technologies for future generation radio systems. Cellular mobile radio systems have been the main application area thus far because of their large market, but we also look at other application areas, such as medical and post-disaster scenarios. What’s best about your work? The most exciting part of our research is solving problems in the radio frequency regime. In tackling such issues, we need to handle digital signals in the lowfrequency regime (so-called baseband) as well as analogue signals in the highfrequency regime. Signal propagation in the high-frequency regime is vastly 48 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13

Matti Immonen

Markus Reuter

different, so we need to use much more complex signal models and processing methods. Even though the digital era has already progressed for many years, we still need smart RF technologies, as many new applications are emerging in fields related to energy efficiency, data rate and ubiquity. Designing and modelling RF elements, including antennas, and modelling wave propagation in practical deployment environments is our core expertise. These days, we are particularly active in wave propagation modelling for millimetre wave radios, antennas and RF front-end design for on-frequency repeaters and cellular mobile antenna evaluation techniques. Our research activities have been driven by various national and international collaborations with academia, industry and standardisation bodies. I have also taken on the editorship of two scientific journals which keeps me up to date on the state-of-the-art scientific activities of the world’s top researchers.

Sofia Pantouvaki • (PhD) Professor of Practice of Costume Design for Theatre and Film • School of Arts, Design and Architecture • Came to Aalto University from University of Peloponnese in Greece

What does your research group do? Costume in Focus is the first group in Finland to develop research in the field of costume design. The main objective is to spearhead high-quality research by bridging theory and practice, generating new ways of thinking on and through artistic practice and developing a critical discourse that

What’s best about your work? Without a doubt the opportunity to approach timely topics like online retailing or mobile payment from a scientific angle and discuss our research findings with

students and practitioners. In addition, I can myself decide what topics to pursue and how to design promising research projects, which is really great.

contributes to existing knowledge in the field. We are taking an active role in building an international network of costume research. We are currently working on a €1.2-million research project Costume Methodologies funded by the Academy of Finland. The conference and exhibition Critical Costume 2015, held in March, was our major activity for this year. The event drew considerable international attention and attracted participants from 25 different countries. What drives you forward? I’m driven by a passion for my field together with a strong personal need for creative enquiry and the feeling that what I’m doing is timely: now is

Vishal Singh

of their life cycle. The emphasis is on systems thinking and a strong connection between theory and practice.

• (PhD) Assistant Professor of Computer Integrated Construction • School of Engineering • Came to Aalto University from Deakin University in Australia

What’s best about your work? The construction sector is highly fragmented, involves multiple stakeholders with different viewpoints, has high variance in the skills and technical literacy of personnel, and is typically project-based, which renders each project unique in its team composition and spatial-temporal constraints. Given these characteristics, it is highly challenging and rewarding to develop theories, tools and best practices that are generic, yet specific enough to bring systemic changes to the domestic as well as global construction sector. One of the key objectives

What does your research group do? My group adopts a multidisciplinary approach that combines theories from areas such as design, computing, cognition and lean construction to develop tools and methods around Building Information Modelling for improved decision making and management of built environment projects across the different phases

Anni Hanén

What do you do? My research focuses mainly on exploring customer experiences of self-service technologies. These technologies enable customers to produce a service themselves without direct frontline employee involvement. In other words, customers become part-time employees of the service provider when, for example, using a self check-in device at the airport. Despite the fact that customers are, to a varying degree, actively integrated in

Leena Ylä-Lyly

• (PhD) Associate Professor of Marketing • School of Business • Came to Aalto University from EBS University in Germany

service provision as a so-called external factor in most services, development has been dramatically catalysed by technology diffusion into service production. As a consequence, the moment of truth for many service companies is now determined by how successfully they manage the resulting customer-machine interaction rather than the traditional interpersonal service encounter. The key issues that my research attempts to tackle in this regard are, for instance, customer adoption of self-service technologies and customer satisfaction in multi-channel environments.

the moment to talk about costume and, at Aalto, we’re taking a key role in international research.

Adolfo Vera

Tomas Falk

is to develop a strong theoretical understanding and create conceptual models and frameworks that can be translated into computational tools. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13 \ 49

Everyday choices This column focuses on the personal choices experts make in association with their field of research.

Would you bring a robot home, Ville Kyrki? The Professor of Intelligent Robotics would have room for a robot window scrubber at least. Text Paula Haikarainen Photo Terhi Korhonen

Do you own a robotic vacuum cleaner? No. Perhaps I should get one, but I’m afraid I might find it hard to settle for a €69 model. Would you accept household help from a robot? What jobs would it do best? Help around the house would be fine, even from a robot. It’s too early to expect them to be much good at anything more than vacuuming or scrubbing the floors, most of the commercial models just service flat surfaces. But a window washer might be nice. A general-purpose robotic household helper will probably not be seen for many years, although new individual applications will come out for sure. Robots fascinate us. What’s your favourite piece of robot fiction? These days, I’m most drawn to Isaac Asimov’s stories. They deal with many ethical issues relevant to the interaction between robots and humans in a profound way, even though his stories were first published as far back as the early 1940s. The automation of traffic is a hot topic. Would you climb on board an autonomous car or an automated metro train? Sure. I’ve been on automated metros some years ago in France and in Switzerland. 50 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 13

In what tasks are robots already an everyday presence? Automated warehouses are pretty common in logistics, for example. Progress is gradual; automatic parallel parking and adaptive cruise control systems for cars utilise the same technologies as the autonomic vehicles being developed. This is why it is often difficult and perhaps even unnecessary to draw a line between automation and robots. What have you taught a robot to do? Are they good learners? Lately, my research group has been teaching robots to use tools. Among other things, we taught a robot to shape wood with a hand plane by showing it how it’s done. Robots are good at remembering and repeating things, just like computers generally are, but it is difficult for them to learn the meaning of anything. What has surprised you the most in robotics? I’m constantly amazed by how rapidly the field is developing from the research perspective. Scientists and developers are continually coming out with ideas that would have sounded like science fiction just a few years ago.

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