Aalto University Magazine 20 - English edition

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20 ISSN 1799-9324 / ISSN 2323-4571 ISSN-L 1799-9324 OCTOBER 2017

Most sought-after employee in 2040: curious and unique p. 12 Storing the Sun and the wind p. 24

Dream extractor

Music research in black

Space invaders

A hundred-metre mural guided visitors towards the main stage. The Jukebox painting was the work of Aalto’s visual communication design students.

Product and spatial design students created Green Core, a verdant oasis amid all the hubbub.

Everything flows – Flow in particular. Helsinki’s August music festival was also a stage for showcasing student works. Read more about it on page 43. Photos: Mikko Raskinen.

New beginnings

“It is mind-blowing to think that the active careers of the students now starting their studies will span well into the 2060s,” said Ilkka Niemelä, the new President of Aalto University, in his first opening speech for a new academic year. Dipoli, the venue of his speech, was also exuding the new and the coming. The University’s new and improved main building just opened its doors after the completion of a complete renovation. A large number of new students were present at Dipoli as guests of honour on the first day of the academic year. For them, all of this is especially new. Not to mention the fact that, in addition to learning new skills and acquiring fresh knowledge, they will also be required to internalise new approaches to work itself. This issue will examine what shape this new work and the methods of performing it might take. And what should the employees who engage in such work be like, and how can a university prepare you for this future? There are no easy answers, nor a single recipe for success, the experts say. But they do encourage making open-minded decisions, multidisciplinary cooperation and being prepared for agile leaps into the new. As the world is changing at an incredible rate, the students of today have to be prepared for lifelong learning, Ilkka Niemelä said in his speech. The Chair of Aalto University’s Student Union Joona Orpana underlines that universities should ensure that there’s also room for softer skills, such as learning time management, finding your own passion and boosting self-knowledge. Jaakko Salavuo Communications Director

Kalle Kataila


Jaakko Kahilaniemi photographed researchers and solar panels on the Otaniemi campus. Find out more, p. 24. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 3

Nita Vera

On the job


graphic designer, illustrator, student, dreamer, cat person, sister, significant other, feminist, film lover, Playstation gamer, bookworm, Beyoncé fan and wannabe dancer


photographer, visual artist, thinker, ponderer, creator, influencer, visualist, designer, runner, walker, cyclist, reader, writer, change factor, storyteller, spectator, researcher, statement maker, symbolizer, wanderer


visual artist, photographer, graphic designer, book designer, layout specialist, fashion photographer, stylist, scenographer, director, writer, researcher, dreamer, doer, author, ruminant, jogger, designer, student

PUBLISHER: Aalto University, Communications N SWA ECO

CONTRIBUTORS IN THIS ISSUE: Amanda Aho, Maija Astikainen, Anna Berg, John Cairns, Valentina Caselini, Lotta Fors, Heidi Hammarsten,

Terhi Hautamäki, Minna Hölttä, Jaakko Kahilaniemi, Kalle Kataila, Jarmo Kiuru, Veera Konsti, Miikka Kuisma, Sarri Kukkonen, Lasse Lecklin, Eeva Lehtinen, Aleksi Poutanen, Tatu Pohjola, Marjukka Puolakka, Laura Siira, Eeva Suorlahti, Mikko Raskinen, Anne Tapanainen, Tuomas Uusheimo, Leena Ylä-Lyly COVER: Jaakko Kahilaniemi TRANSLATION: Ned Kelly Coogan ADDRESS: PO Box 18 000, FI-00076 Aalto TELEPHONE: +358 9 470 01 ONLINE: aalto.fi, aalto.fi/magazine E-MAIL: magazine@aalto.fi CHANGE OF ADDRESS: alumni@aalto.fi PRINTING COMISSIONED BY: Unigrafia Oy PRINTING: Libris Oy, 2017 PAPER: Edixion 250 g/m2 (cover) & 120 g/m2 (pages) PRINT RUN: 3 000 (English edition) PUBLISHED THREE TIMES A YEAR


Printed matter 4041 0014


TUTORING AD/PHOTO EDITOR: Liisa Seppo, Otavamedia OMA Oy





EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Jaakko Salavuo MANAGING EDITOR: Paula Haikarainen

08 Now New President Ilkka Niemelä is a researcher with a high regard for teamwork.

10 Openings Vice President Eero Eloranta

and Student Union Chair Joona Orpana share their thoughts on game changers.



Slush CEO Marianne Vikkula woke to the significance of a good night’s sleep.

12 Theme Universities must educate

people for the great unknown. How can this succeed?

16 Theme A new cooperative university for

the technology sector to produce more experts for industry in Southwest Finland.

18 Who Service designer Mikko Koivisto works in a field that didn’t really exist just a decade ago.

100 22 Finland Student-designed Aika-lava stage at the SuomiAreena in Pori.

24 Professor Tanja Kallio’s research On science

group develops catalysts for the storage of renewable energy.


On science

Nanosatellites are speeding up space research.

28 Cooperation Design Factory’s popular product development course tackles corporate problems.

Mikko Raskinen

03 Editorial 04 On the job 06 Now Small news items, big issues.

31 In-house New research centre brings


THIS ISSUE considers

bioeconomy experts under one roof in Otaniemi.

the nature of new work, and how our University can prepare students for it.

Cooperation 32 Coca-Cola crates given

new life in student hands.

34 InThethere dress code for the Modern

Heavy Metal science conference was all black.

40 Entrepreneurship Fashion industry startup swears by Merino wool.

42 Wow! NAKUNA exhibition showcases Finnishness in Milan.

43 Wow! One hundred metres of colourful wall guides the audience to the Flow festival.

44 Column Many microworkers earn a living online, says Oxford University Professor Vili Lehdonvirta.

45 Visiting Alumna of the Year Riitta Katila

researches tech company success stories at Stanford.

theses 46 Doctoral Doctor of Technology Antti Kestilä

is the system engineer for Finland’s first space mission.

choices 48 Everyday Research Manager Jukka Tuomi’s face was printed in 3D.


Dipoli is our new main building — THE DIPOLI BUILDING on the Otaniemi

campus has been refurbished into a low-threshold meeting place and a shared main building for all of Aalto University. It contains workspaces, an auditorium, halls, restaurants, exhi­ bition spaces and art. The main build­ ing’s public areas are open to everyone. The unique building was the first joint design project by architect cou­ ple Raili and Reima Pietilä, and it was completed in 1966. The building was initially owned by the Student Union

of the Helsinki University of Technol­ ogy. For many years, it was the hub of their cultural activities and was widely known for its events. Aalto University purchased the building in 2014. “The renovation project respects the Pietiläs’ original design and the building’s unique architecture. Its sky­ lights and fireplaces have been refur­ bished, stairwells have been reopened and the original concrete surfaces have been restored,” explains Antti Ahlava, Vice President, campus development.

The University’s management as well as some 140 staff members work in Dipoli. New ways of working, activitybased offices and digital tools will be tested in the building. Geothermal heat supplies nearly 50 percent of the building’s energy requirements. The building will provide new types of opportunities for cooperation – for example, Technology Academy Finland TAF, an Aalto University partner, has moved into Dipoli.

New findings in brain research — RESEARCHERS HAVE succeeded for

the first time ever in affecting metacog­ nition of a tactile working memory task by combining neural pathway imaging and magnetic stimulation of the brain. By combining different brain research methods in a versatile manner, the researchers showed for the first time that transcranial magnetic stimulation of the brain targeting the prefrontal cortex can improve a test subject’s ability to evaluate his or her performance in a tactile working memory task. The ability of human subjects to monitor and control their own cognitive processes is called metacognition. 6 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

Metacognition is important for people, and in many neuropsychiatric illnesses, it is possible to recognize that it has weakened. “A patient’s reduced sense of feeling ill is familiar from conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and traumatic brain injury. Understanding the brain function of healthy test subjects could help in the development of new treatment methods for neuro­ psychiatric illnesses in the future,” says doctoral candidate Juha Gogulski from the Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering. Transcranial magnetic stimulation

refers to a method in which the nerve cells of the brain are activated from outside the skull with the help of a magnetic field. The method is utilized in procedures before brain surgery, and in the treatment of depression. Magnetic stimulation of the prefrontal cortex improved the test subjects’ evaluation of their performance. The study was a collaboration between Aalto University and University of Helsinki. The findings were published in the science journal Cerebral Cortex.

Tuomas Uusheimo


Schoolyard astronomy — DURING THE PAST YEAR, Aalto research-

ers have held more than 100 science sessions at comprehensive schools and upper secondary schools around Finland. The objective is to support pupils’ interest in the natural sciences, mathematics, technology and the arts. Astronomer Joni Tammi, who works at the Metsähovi Radio Observatory, has met over 500 pupils ranging in age from first-year elementary pupils to upper secondary school seniors over the past year. The group he has spoken the most with is 10–11-year-olds, who are learning

about the solar system and space in their environmental studies classes. Pupils have learned about the scale and dimensions of the solar system in the schoolyard. “Scale is easier to comprehend after you see a pinhead-sized Earth orbiting a beach-ball-sized Sun at a distance of 60 metres at the other end of the school yard. The remaining class time is also calmer after the children have had a chance to run around the Sun for a couple ‘years’.” Brain network researcher Onerva Korhonen has talked to pupils in lower

grades about how networks are structured. “At first, I told them what the network model was used for and defined a few terms such as nodes, arches and scale. Then we built a model of Central Europe’s railway network using pieces of rope and produced statistics on the scale of the cities.” In addition to elementary schools, Korhonen has held sessions at upper ­secondary schools, which have dealt ­ with how the human brain functions. Teachers had requested a session on neuro­science because there is no room for it in their curriculum. From a teacher’s perspective, researcher visits are a good way to introduce diversity to the teaching of natural science. Aalto University’s LUMA Centre arranges visits by researchers to all class levels in comprehensive and upper secondary schools. These visits are free of charge. luma.aalto.fi

Lotta Fors

We’re 7th best

Aalto University placed seventh in the QS Top 50 under 50 ranking. The table lists the world’s 50 leading universities under the age of 50. Aalto was the highest-ranked young university in Europe.

A Grid attracting startups — THE A GRID COMMUNITY space set to

open in Otaniemi towards the end of the year will gather growth companies, creative industry firms and business accelerators under one roof. It will be one of the biggest growth company ­centres in Europe, as the renovated building will have space to house up to hundreds of actors. A Grid is also a link to the University’s technology, expertise and community. For example, the facility provides small

companies with an opportunity to access the University’s prototype workshops or our competence in the industrial Internet. In a key role is the business accelerator Aalto Start-Up Center, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Other tenants include the European Space Agency’s incubator, Reaktor Space Lab as well as the event management agency Tapaus. agrid.fi

The A Grid logo includes a unicorn, which has become a symbol of successful growth companies. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 7


President’s motto: Openly and together Ilkka Niemelä started his term as President of Aalto University in July. He’s intrigued by things that inspire and motivate experts. Text Eeva Lehtinen Photo Jaakko Kahilaniemi

What makes Aalto a good university? Our people are absolutely the numberone thing, our personnel do fantastic and effective work. Looking back, the preparatory effort that preceded the founding of Aalto already set us off in an excellent direction, and we have succeeded in managing change. We have become a modern university that is at the vanguard of global developments. There’s a lot of interest in Aalto around the world – both as an example of successful change and as a promoter of entrepreneurship. We’re also considered an attractive place to work or study. Universities are expected to make more and more of a contribution towards the renewal of societal practices and the solving of major issues. Aalto’s three specialist fields and their areas of overlap provide excellent expertise for solving big questions. In addition, we also have an effective and extensive contact surface with the corporate world and wider society that dates back to the precursor universities, which merged to form Aalto. Which issues do you want to pursue? It’s important for me that society sees education and research as a productive 8 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

investment. They generate expertise and jobs, and these are the strengths the future of Finland will be built on. As international competition intensifies, Finnish universities need to remain inspiring and attractive places to study and work. What kind of leader are you? I aim to be inspiring, encouraging, consistent and solution-oriented. I also want to be easy to approach; I believe that the best results are achieved through teamwork and doing things together.

from there. I also completed my doctoral thesis at Otaniemi before I left to pursue my interests overseas for some time. Stanford University was an important and inspiring experience for me, as were the few years I spent participating in a major research project at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany.

Which of your achievements are you especially happy about? After I finished my doctoral thesis, I realised that its findings could be developed into a new constraint programming method. My ideas did not You have worked as a researcher and achieve much traction at first, but once professor for a long time. How did the method was gradually introduced your research career get started? into practice, there was more interest. I’ve always had an interest in technology Since then, a dedicated and stilland how things work. Computers started thriving research area has grown around to proliferate at the turn of the 1970s and this method. I recently received a nice 80s; they interested me, and I acquired recognition for it, when an international one for myself as well. Studying electrical logic programming conference awarded engineering, and especially digital my paper, which introduced the idea, technology and computing, felt like with its Test of Time prize for being natural choices. the most significant study published Towards the end of my engineering in conjunction with this series of confe­ studies, Professor Leo Ojala offered me rences two decades ago. a summer job in a research project and This indicates quite well what research I continued to draft my Master’s thesis work is sometimes like: you develop

The President works on the Otaniemi main campus, at the just-renovated Dipoli, which serves as the University’s main building and a testing ground for new methods of working. Ilkka Niemelä is seated in a light-filled activity-based office together with other experts and the rest of the management team. “This space is descriptive of my preferred way to work: openly and together.”

an idea that is far from apparent, and instead contrary to general thinking, but continue to hammer away persistently and some time, perhaps a long time, later, you may experience the feeling of success. What more would you like to learn? I’m curious and like to learn new things and explore matters. I’m interested in leadership and how to inspire and motivate people in a large expert organisation. The different areas of Aalto fascinate me; creativity and the artistic process, the economy and its mechanisms, the various viewpoints of technology. What does the future look like? I’m positive by nature and take joy in many things about Aalto: our highquality work, enthusiasm and doing new kinds of things. There’s plenty of challenges for sure, like how will we be able to respond to the demands of working life and changes

in the educational field, or how can we ensure our place in the front line of developing digitalisation. Who would you like to have visit Aalto? It would be great to invite day care and elementary school pupils. To tell these kids what our University does, and inspire them to seek out knowledge and learn. The day-to-day activities of a university do target the future in which these children will live. What makes you enthusiastic? I’m a researcher by nature and become enthusiastic about new problems and possibilities. I draw energy from things that allow you to do something new and meaningful.

Ilkka Niemelä • 56 years old, lives in Espoo. • Professor of Computer Science. • Earlier duties at Aalto include serving as Provost, Vice President, Dean of the School of Science, Head of Department and Professor. • Among other things, has researched and developed methods and applications of automated reasoning and constraint programming. • Hobbies include golf and reading. • Married with two adult children.

What book did you last read? I recently read Arto Hiltunen’s book about leadership with keen interest, and my summer crime book was Jo Nesbø’s The Redeemer. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 9


Words from the University’s leaders.

New game, new rules

How can students become reformers and problemsolvers? Vice President Eero Eloranta and Student Union Chair Joona Orpana compare their views. Text Eeva Lehtinen Photo Nita Vera ELORANTA: Society needs expertise,

both of the deep and of the broad variety, to help solve problems in a sustainable way. Big questions call for critical experts, people who challenge old ways and creatively build the new. Universities have, to a large degree, taught students to continue existing operating practices and to be “game takers”. There are also people who choose to follow a policy of being “game breakers”, i.e. they complain and criticise. We here at Aalto want to encourage our students to instigate changes, to be “game changers” who are able to challenge the established order, make new rules and then change the game. ORPANA: Change-making is important Doctor of Technology, Professor Eero Eloranta (on the right) says he lives to learn new things. not only for Finland, but also from the “I’m a sailor and don’t like calm waters.” Business student Joona Orpana has not yet finished perspective of the whole world. I see it as a tendency to pass good things forward his journey to become a game changer. “I want to be visionary, and support pluralism.” and to not shy away from doing your fair students, bearing in mind that a univershare. that’s where the magic happens. First, of course, you need to master your own sity cannot teach everything and that business and then you can seek involvelearning continues in working life. Go beyond your comfort zone ment in multidisciplinary projects. ORPANA: I’d like to also mention selfORPANA: A good point of departure for ELORANTA: Working with real situaawareness and confidence. In order for fresh thinking is to be multidisciplinary tions and problems is enormously impor- these to develop, we need feedback, coand multicultural as well as supportive of different viewpoints. This yields solu- tant from the perspective of learning. We operation and support from one another. need to open the doors of the University Universities should ensure that there’s tions, often quite surprising ones, for and provide students with experiential also room for softer skills, such as learnunpredictable problems. learning and interaction: joint projects ing time management, finding your own ELORANTA: Science provides us with passion and boosting self-knowledge. the tools to identify and start solving the with companies, summer internships, multidisciplinary courses. ELORANTA: My message to students is right problems. Authentic multidiscito work hard and acquire deep compeplinarity forces you to expand your own Feedback boosts confidence tence, but don’t overdo it – remember to comfort zone. You have to learn to enjoy have an outside life as well. Be yourself, not knowing what exactly is going on and ELORANTA: Thinking about and solving there’s lots of different roles, we don’t all what you should do. Sometimes, a sensi- problems is rewarding and addictive. The downside is that this can eat up loads have to be the striker. ble solution does not even exist, and it is of time. Us teachers have to be vigilant ORPANA: Sometimes a person needs to wise to acknowledge that as well. in ensuring that the workload remains be put before the impossible in order for ORPANA: Going beyond your comfort reasonable and does not overburden it to become possible. zone should become the norm because 10 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

This section recounts an event that didn’t go according to plan.

rs Fo tta o L


Not just any company Marianne Vikkula, CEO of the startup accelerator Slush, awakes to the importance of a good night’s sleep. Text Laura Siira Photo Maija Astikainen “THE NOVEMBER 2015 Slush event was about 100

days away when I returned from a three-week trip to the States arranged by Aalto University’s Guild of Industrial Engineering Prodeko. On the one hand, 100 days is such a brief period that you can squeeze it out of yourself, but, on the other hand, it isn’t enough time to think about what you might do differently. After the event, however, I thought very hard indeed. I was responsible for cooperation partnerships at the 2015 Slush. I’d been involved earlier, too, but in a different capacity – in addition to which Slush itself was growing a lot during those years in particular. We thus started with a fairly clean slate. I was in charge of 70–80 Slush partners, many of whom were fine-tuning their plans up to the very last minute. I had too many irons in the fire and we hadn’t recruited enough people, so it wasn’t really possible to delegate much to others. I started to accumulate a lot of nights with less than five hours of sleep and that autumn’s physical exercise sessions could be counted with the fingers of one hand. Nevertheless, we got everything ready, and Slush 2015 was a success. But for a couple of weeks after the event, I myself was in a state, thinking that I’d had enough. I felt no interest in anything. I’m usually easily excited by everything, so feeling like that was a real wake-up call. I’d failed to look after myself while dealing with the exponentially growing demands of organising the event. I decided that something would have to change. These days I have an entirely different approach to setting my own calendar: when heavy lifting is called for, I lift, but I also make sure to get in my exercise and a good night’s sleep. It benefits everybody. This was already made easier by my purchase of a bike last autumn – the cycle from Espoo to the Slush office in central Helsinki is the perfect distance and allows you to clear your mind. Taking care of yourself doesn’t require clearing a threehour block of free time in your calendar each day. Now, when I’m doing my fifth Slush full-time and the team has grown to some 40–50 people, you can’t run around like it’s an emergency all the time. We’re a student-founded organisation and this orientation will always form our core, we still want to find the most entrepreneurial students to do this. We’ll never be just like any other company. But Slush has already grown to a scale that forces us to think differently about the organisation and the continuity of our activities, we can no longer take things one year at a time. The 2016 Slush wasn’t followed by a comatose week: some 20 people were immediately present at the office the following Monday, which felt really great. It tells me that something is being done right.” AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 11

Text Terhi Hautamäki Illustration Nita Vera

Shapers of the future: curious and unique No one knows what jobs people will be busy with in the coming decades, yet universities are supposed to educate people for this great unknown. How can this be done?




ON, A YOUNG entrepreneur in

the near future, serves as a platform localiser. He adapts global platforms and the content they provide to localised environments, having managed to professionally combine his cultural knowledge with his technological expertise. Pirkko is a generational trainer, who prepares representatives of different age groups to encounter one another. She provides assistance at workplaces, educational institutions and in service design as well as refines big data on human interaction. Care sector entrepreneur Enni operates in a cooperative, where she provides services focusing on ecological housing and communal care. These imaginary examples are presented in the Work 2040 report published by the think-tank Demos Helsinki in January 2017. The report was produced in cooperation with a number of organisations, and it showcases scenarios on the evolution of work – a great unknown, which is the subject of plenty of speculation, but little to no forecasts of any certainty. Jon, Pirkko and Enni have all found jobs that have not been replaced by automation and robots, and which cannot be easily chopped into gig assignments distributed via various platforms. Another factor they all probably share is that none of them graduated with a degree aimed specifically for these fields. These jobs and the need for them only emerged after they had entered working life. In all probability, they will have shaped their jobs themselves.

Distinct changes

Aalto University says that it educates game changers. This sounds like an inspiring commitment, but what kinds of changes are the students being prepared for? “For changes that are distinct to them,” says Professor of International Business, Vice Dean Kristiina Mäkelä. Mäkelä researches changes in working life and she is convinced that we are living at the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution. The first revolution was initiated by the advent of steam power, and the second by electricity and assembly line work. The birth of knowledge work represents the third revolution, while this fourth wave is driven by digitalisation and globalisation as well as the development of artificial intelligence, robots, virtual reality and new communications technologies. Algorithms can already design houses and manage investment portfolios. The division of labour between human brains and machines is going to change radically. Fresh problems are likely to occur in the wake of these developments, and they will require new solutions and thus more work. Speculation about what type of competence will be the most essential in the future is rife these days. Should every­one know how to code? Is big data the thing, or will the social sciences rise to fresh new heights? Mäkelä doesn’t believe that a single recipe for success exists. “You need to think about who you are and what is right for you,” she says.


PERHAPS A DECADE FROM NOW COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOLS WILL TEACH SELF AND LIFE MANAGEMENT SKILLS. The top experts of the future will probably be global citizens who hop from one project to the next across organisational boundaries. Many will operate via platforms, which mediate expert jobs and will be used to create ad hoc teams. The separation of employer versus employee will become mercurial, as the same people will occasionally act as buyers in their networks and as sellers at other times. “Employment careers will no longer be hierarchical progressions within an organisation, and will look more like portfolios,” Mäkelä says.

Grabbing work from many directions Thinking up possible job descriptions for the future can be fun, but anything we come up with will likely be laughed at in a few decades. It is easier to predict which jobs will disappear than what might emerge. People have a tendency to overestimate change in the short term, while underestimating long-term developments. Aalto University alumnus, Demos Helsinki expert Johannes Koponen says there’ll be plenty of work in the future as well. But it is another matter entirely what jobs we get paid for, and how the spoils of development are divided. “How to turn solutions for climate change or the sustainability gap in public finances into job-creating business?” Koponen asks. Technology has a tendency to make knowledge more democratic. Illnesses may soon be successfully diagnosed not by a physician with a lengthy education, but by a nurse aided by artificial intelligence. But on the other hand, techno­ 14 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

logical advancements are concentrating economic benefits to the few: a global platform company generates steady revenues for its owners while an army of gig workers competes for a small purse. One of the imaginary professionals of the Work 2040 report, life-easer Japi, picks up gigs from several platforms and acquires extra income by renting out his communal flat. Could it be that even a highly-educated platform localiser or generational trainer will earn so little that they’ll have to hop on a bike to make deliveries in the evening? “It’s possible that people will have to struggle more for work, it will not be presented on a silver platter. Perhaps the ability to find a livelihood will be a skill that should be taught somewhere?” Koponen ponders.

The unique will do best

Drones will revolutionise online shopping home deliveries, but how will they manage orders addressed to multi-storey buildings and the independent operation of lifts? The transport of goods flows is a burning issue for the business sector, and it also features in one real-life corporate case, which a multidisciplinary team tackled at a recent Product Development Project course at the Aalto Design Factory. Aalto University Student Union board member Katariina Helin was earlier involved in Aalto Design Factory’s communications function. As the board member responsible for education policy, Helin has expended a lot of thought on what would most benefit the students of today. She thinks multidisciplinary problem solving is a good example of what the University is doing to prepare students for the realities of working life.


“It is no longer enough to have one kind of expertise, you need an ability to think critically and form totalities. When a working group consists of students of design, finance and mechanical engineering, each introducing his or her individual viewpoints, the solution produced can look quite different from what might emerge from a group made up of students of a single discipline,” Helin says. The University can encourage encounters by arranging multidisciplinary courses and Master’s programmes, but Professor Kristiina Mäkelä thinks students would be wise to seek out bolder side study paths at their own initiative as well. “Future experts will have their own distinct areas of special expertise in addition to at least one or two areas of which they have a sufficient understanding. This will enable them to converse with specialist experts in these fields and provide them with an understanding of their thinking,” says Mäkelä. Scott Adams, writer and illustrator of the satirical working life comic strip Dilbert, once described the idea of diverse and sufficient competence by noting that he is not the world’s finest illustrator, but he is good enough. Nor is he the funniest joker, but he is pretty funny, and this combined with his business background provided a recipe for success, Mäkelä notes.

Self-management – having the ability to readapt according to how the world changes – is important. Other key aspects of managing your own work include the ability to schedule and prioritise jobs as well as to maintain a balanced life, Helin says. The authors of the Work 2040 report shared similar thoughts. One scenario predicts that self-management and life control will already be taught at different educational levels a decade from now.

A barrel of wishes

But to what extent is education responsible for turning young people into top experts who are also prepared for change? “It feels like education is being made out to be like a barrel of wishes, and all demands for change target it. I reckon this type of thinking is a bit off,” says Demos Helsinki’s Koponen. He thinks education does play a central role, but so do companies and legislators. Working life does not undergo upheavals like a force of nature because society is built through conscious choice. What opportunities for developing competence will there be in the workplace of the future? What terms will employees and employers need to observe on the platforms of tomorrow? Koponen thinks universities could, at their best, serve by promoting ‘curiosityraising socialisation’. Self-management a possible “The task of universities would seem new subject? to be leaning more towards supporting Mäkelä likes to call universities plattalent, improving a curious person’s abilforms, too. The ideal student not only ities to acquire knowledge. The potential accumulates completed courses, but also for curiosity needs to be steered in uses the university platform for personal as many directions as possible.” fulfilment as well as to acquire the tools Koponen says it would be good if the and experiences he or she needs. Perhaps University’s startup buzz was directed take part in the startup accelerator Slush, towards more idealistic projects aimwield influence in the student union or ing to, for example, solve climate change tackle public sector problems at the Pub- or bridge the sustainability gap in public lic Service Hackathon – whatever feels finances. right for each individual. “The University’s task could be to Student Katariina Helin has noticed divide big problems into subproblems, that one of the most significant things which are solvable with the aid of both the University enables is a sense of com- science and the markets. Silicon Valley is munity, both within Aalto as well as full of startups that aren’t changing any amongst alumni and students. The Stureal issues, instead focusing on developdent Union has a board member with ing quirky juicers or applications, which specific responsibility for corporate enable people to send each other pictures relations. The University has promoted and symbols.” encounters between alumni and students Game changers can surely do more. through, among other things, implementing a mentoring programme. Helin recommends learning working life skills while still studying. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 15

FITech to tackle tech expert shortage straight away Aalto is coordinating a new cooperative university education venture for the technology sector called FITech, which is to start immediately providing support for industrial growth in Southwest Finland.

Text Heidi Hammarsten Illustration Lotta Fors Photos Jarmo Kiuru


N INFLUX of orders for cruise ships

has created a positive problem for the Meyer Turku shipyard: the business now creates employment for some 7,000, but the number of people required is set to almost triple in just a few years. “By the beginning of the 2020s, our employment-creating effect will extend to 20,000 people, including a lot of people with university-level degrees,” says Meyer Turku design director and executive team member Jarno Soinila. Meyer is the most visible, but far from the only example of the industrial growth and related need for talent that is affecting the Southwest. FITech, a cooperative university venture for the technology sector, targets this positive structural change, and its launch is being coordinated by Aalto University. The purpose of this venture is to provide more tech experts with university16 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

level degrees for Southwest Finland. The goal is for some 400-450 people with a Master’s degree in engineering to locate to the region each year by the closing stages of the venture. The training options offered by FITech have the aim of attracting especially technology students who are from the region, but studying at universities in other parts of the country. On the other hand, tech students as well as students of maths, physics and chemistry from the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi are being offered separate admission to study at other tech-sector universities.

Quantity and quality are both required Soinila expects FITech to supply more high-quality job applicants for the maritime industry. “Volume’s no good unless the quality is there as well.”

Soinila says the Turku shipyard is now building “floating intelligent cities” that incorporate extravagant hotels, entertainment options, restaurants, shops and advanced technology such as internal power plants, water purification units and waste treatment facilities. This calls for a very diverse range of competencies. “We need every possible kind of engineer you can imagine: different types of shipbuilders, experts in interior decoration, materials, automation and water chemical processes. Then there’s the specialists in logistics, procurement, management and information systems – it’s really hard to say what we don’t need,” Soinila lists. University cooperation is nothing new for Meyer, where it exists in many shapes from student group visits to summer jobs, support for thesis projects and in-depth research collaboration.


“Research collaboration has been very important for us. With Aalto in particular, but also with other universities. It has yielded unique results with respect to, among other things, the structural form of cruise ships, and we’ve been able to exploit these results in practice as well,” says Soinila.


Flying start

Sisko Hellgren, who is responsible for the FITech launch project at Aalto, herself holds a doctorate in marine technology. “This is a bit of a flying start, as we wanted to get going quickly. What kinds of degrees this cooperation will result in will be specified once things start moving forward,” Hellgren says. To begin with, companies in Southwest Finland were surveyed about their competence requirements, and the university cooperation network will aim to meet precisely these needs. A joint workshop, which will aim to further specify these competence areas, will also be arranged in the autumn for the participating universities and companies. “At first, we’ll offer theses subjects that were raised in the company survey to students, whose studies are at that stage. The offering of courses related to the highlighted themes will commence gradually. Applications are already open in Lappeenranta, for example, and the first course will begin in October, while the other universities are to get in during the spring semester,” Hellgren says.

Shipbuilding engineer Rafael Leal, student of the Nordic Master in Maritime Engineering programme, Bluetech Finland Oy: “Marine technology is one of the most interesting fields because you get to build really big and complex vessels that have lifespans of 20–30 years. Having the opportunity to get involved in projects of this scale that will have a real impact is fantastic. For me, the best moment is getting to see the concrete shape of my work and saying that I was a part of designing and building this ship.” Structural analyst Eero Avi, doctoral candidate in applied mechanics, Meyer Turku Oy: “In addition to research skills, the marine technology sector demands innovativeness, creativity and an open mind. These are needed to make the ships of the future even finer than today’s vessels.”

Retraining and upgrading qualifications, doctoral thesis subjects The university cooperation network will also arrange supplemental education and retraining for holders of Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in engineering, in addition to which it will offer doctoral candidates research subjects, which are linked to the growth of companies in Southwest Finland. An essential goal of the venture is to boost the attractiveness of academic engineering training. The participating universities are communicating actively about available opportunities in the technology sector and related education options to young people with a particular emphasis on girls. “Communication is very important: we must succeed in telling people what it’s like here and what kinds of opportunities are on offer,” Meyer’s Soinila underlines.

Watch video bit.ly/2ycpZKa

Shipbuilding engineer Liina Pölönen, maritime technology Master’s student, Meyer Turku Oy: “Shipbuilding is currently undergoing a transition; it is transforming from traditional industry into a hightech field. The sector should be very interesting for young people, as fresh ideas will be required to keep present growth up also in the future.”

What is FITech? _ • The Finnish Institute of Technology, a cooperative university education venture for the tech sector. Seven universities have signed a letter of intent to establish a university network. • The university network’s participants are Aalto University, Lappeenranta University of Technology, University of Oulu, Tampere University of Technology, University of Turku, University of Vaasa and Åbo Akademi.

• The other founding member organisations are Technology Industries of Finland and the Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK. • Prior to the official establishment, the cooperation is being coordinated by Aalto University. • The Government has allocated €12m for this cooperation in the period 2017–21. In addition, the participating universities have pledged to fund activities. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 17



Extractor of dreams

Service designer Mikko Koivisto is shaking up how we shop at pharmacies and creating soulful soup meals. Last spring, he received the Ornamo Award for his pioneering work in a field that barely existed just ten years ago. Text Minna Hölttä Photos Aleksi Poutanen



differently had it not been for the outdated airplane dishes. In 2005, Finnair decided to freshen up the visual appearance of its business class meals and asked a group of industrial design students to handle the task. As user-oriented design was all the rage at the time, Mikko Koivisto and his fellows boarded several flights to observe the crew and passengers. In the skies above Europe, they realised that, instead of cups and other tableware, the focus should be on changing how the food was being served on the plane. “An idea came to me: why isn’t the customer insight process, familiar from product design, also being used for designing intangible things like services?” Finnair got its new cups, but the idea kept gnawing at Koivisto. Google didn’t even recognise palvelumuotoilu, the Finnish word for service design, but he had more luck searching the term in English, with the search engine taking him to the website of the UK-based Design Council, which vaguely informed him that this was a new and growing area of design. Koivisto wasn’t satisfied with this, however, so he sold his thesis topic to Finnair and embarked on an effort to discover what service design might be about.

From gathering to synthesis

Koivisto grew up in Vaasa and developed a keen interest in design while in secondary school, when his visual arts and

woodworking teacher sent the artistic and dexterous pupil on a one-day introductory visit to Design Centre Muova, which is affiliated with Aalto. “I hadn’t even heard of the whole industry before that. At Muova, I realised what I wanted to be when I grew up.” That’s how Koivisto wound up studying industrial and strategic design as well as user-oriented design in Helsinki where he also completed the International Design Business Management programme as a minor subject. The IDBM brings together experts in economics, technology and the artistic fields. “The core of the future Aalto University was already being crystallised in the IDBM. The programme furnished me with commercial and strategic understanding, in addition to which it emphasised the benefits of the usability side that are necessary in service design. I worked on my Master’s studies for several years, which was enormously fruitful: I got to experiment and gather, and all of a sudden it all synthesised into the full idea of service design.” This idea is, in itself, unambiguous: the development of a service or the creation of something entirely new always starts with people and an understanding of their needs, desires and dreams. These can be extracted with user research methods like surveys, interviews and observation. The newer and more mercurial the issue at hand is, the deeper one must dig. This calls for projective meth­ ods such as workshops in which people manually create objects, thus revealing

needs and dreams that they may themselves be unaware of. “When they later explain their work, they also describe their unspoken needs and dreams. This is how many innovative ideas and solutions were created for the services we have developed. This was also the case with the Soup ’n’ Soul soup service concept recently developed for Saarioinen.”

Shush be gone

Koivisto thinks empathy is one of the most important characteristics for a service designer. “You need to get up close and win the confidence of different kinds of people in this line of work. You’ll also need to be analytic, creative, business savvy and a skilled visualiser in order to shape excavated information fragments into functioning services and viable business activities.” “Service designers are a bit like film directors. A director will determine the overall vision and narrative of a movie, but an extensive group of experts like actors, set designers and costume designers are needed to make the film a reality. Similarly, a service designer will provide the overall vision of a service and how it is used, while other kinds of designers contribute to various details.” One of Koivisto’s favourite creations is the service design project implemented for the University of Helsinki student library Kaisa. Students of different degree subjects and classes took part in workshops and the testing of ideas, in AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 19

Watch the video Mikko Koivisto: What is service design? bit.ly/2x5Jia8

addition to which Koivisto and his colleagues observed the library’s users and staff. In total, some 120 service ideas were produced, of which the library chose to realise 12. One was to repeal the tradition of shushing and, in its place, introduce clearly designated areas for complete silence, laptop work, free discussion and eating. Another improvement was the addition of a map button in the Helka search engine to help students find the exact location of a desired work within the multi-storey library building. Kaisa has been praised in user feedback and it has risen to the top of public facility effectiveness surveys. Another significant job for Koivisto involved a concept reform for the independent pharmacy chain Yhteistyöapteekit which he realised at his current firm Hellon. The reform transformed an ailment remover into a promoter of wellbeing whose premises provide an opportunity to down health-enhancing shots, browse and shop in a relaxed manner or to observe pharmacists making medicines behind a glass wall. On the prescription medication side, business is conducted standing up, making it easier for pharmacists to leave their desks to show customers products from the overthe-counter section as well. Service sales were modernised, too. “Pharmacy owners said that people don’t want to pay for services. Well, that’s no wonder if blood pressure measurements are being marketed through a printed A4 price list posted in the corner of the pharmacy!” The success of the project also had an impact on the bottom line. “At the Ympyrätalo pharmacy in Hakaniemi, where our idea and thoughts were implemented comprehensively, services now make up a large share of sales 20 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

and the amount of the average purchase has grown substantially.”

And is there something new that he would like to service design next? “At the start of my career, I dreamed of No more potash major assignments, but I’ve come to the When Mikko Koivisto presented his conclusion that a project, which at the Master’s thesis on service design start may feel minor and even a bit sticky, one decade ago, some of his profescan be incredibly successful and effecsors remained sceptical. This spring, tive. It would be pointless to rank your he received the Ornamo Award for his work according to some brand,” he says achievements as a “pioneer of service and smiles. design and a designer who has had a key “When I was little, I loved to draw impact on the growth of the sector”. meticulously. Ships were my favourite. The selection was made by Pauli Aalto- I’d first draw a facade and then continue Setälä, CEO of Aller Media Finland, layer by layer, designing the cabins and who lauded service design as the “highest every other detail. These drawings kept level of design”. on getting bigger and bigger. I’d love to try Koivisto thinks that one episode has my hand at designing cruise liners and now come to a conclusion. customer experiences for them.” “I started doing something entirely new, a thing that was sort of laughed at. But the award made me feel like the Mikko Koivisto received his Master of effort was now complete, service design Arts degree from the industrial design has been accepted as a field of expertraining programme in 2007. He has worked tise alongside other established fields of for Satama Interactive, ad agency Taivas design.” and as a freelancer. Nowadays, he is Pure service design generates an estia partner in service design firm Hellon mated turnover of €30-40 million in Fin- (formerly Diagonal), where he serves as land. If the digital agencies and consulthe Customer Experience Director & Lead tancies that also engage in service design Service Designer. The firm employs 25 are included in the figures, the market is people at its Helsinki headquarters and much larger – and it continues to grow. the London branch office. At the same time, services are winning Koivisto is one of the most celebrated ground in more traditional sectors of service design professionals in Finland. industry as well: in the United States, Among other accolades, he has received services account for more than 80% of the iF Design Award, the Global Service GDP, and even Finland is getting ever Design Award as well as several Vuoden closer to the 70% mark. Huiput prizes. Koivisto has served as Koivisto says service design has, to an a board member for the World Design increasing degree, moved from making Capital 2012 project at the International improvements to individual services to Design Foundation in 2010–13, a board the strategic planning of service business member for the Finnish Association of operations. In future, he believes that Industrial Designers TKO in 2009–12 and human-oriented thinking will expand to, as a board member for the Finnish section for example, the solving of social probof the international Service Design Network lems and legislative work. from 2012 onwards.





Finland 100

Amazing Aika-lava in Pori Text Tatu Pohjola Photo Amanda Aho / SuomiAreena SuomiAreena is a public debate forum for societal issues that attracts large audiences to Pori in the middle of the summer holiday season each year. Aalto University took part in its proceedings in July by erecting the Aika-lava stage (Time Stage), an encounter point and venue for diverse events, on Gallen-Kallela Street. The project commenced in January, when Professor in Wood Architecture Pekka Heikkinen announced a competition for the students to design an event stage for SuomiAreena. The University’s partner was Stora Enso and the chosen material was laminated veneer lumber (LVL). The covered structure was required to seat 150 people and contain a performance stage, space for a large screen as well as an area for showcasing the University. The competition was won by landscape architecture students Antti Hannula and Antti Rantamäki. Their idea was developed further by a team at the University’s Wood Studio under the leadership of Ransu Helenius. The component elements of the structure were prefabricated at specialist wood construction company Timberpoint’s Loviisa factory in May-June. The final form of the stage took shape in Pori during a week of construction with the builders working overtime. The finished totality managed to amaze even its creators. All involved agree that its structures are simultaneously sturdy and slender, and reflect light beautifully. The stage was often full to capacity during the event week, with audience members dropping in during all hours of opening. The stage hosted a diverse programme including cooking events, pitches, hackathons and a review of the projects arranged to mark the Finland100 centenary. The Aalto Lounge served as an info point and a meeting spot. The stage was dismantled after SuomiAreena concluded and it will be re-erected on the Otaniemi campus. It will continue to serve as a venue for a diverse range of happenings in its new park-like setting.

The frame of the stage consists of fifty LVL rings, whose one hundred legs symbolise the years of Finnish independence. The roofing is made from glass planks, which were manufactured from recycled material by Vitrea. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 23

On science

Banking sun and wind energy How to make the storing of renewable energy cheaper and easier? If this study is successful, it will represent a major leap towards finding a solution to climate change. Text Minna Hölttä Photos Jaakko Kahilaniemi


HE EU has a hard goal: it wants the Member

States to cut greenhouse gas emissions to a fifth, or even a tenth, of the present level by 2050. Professor Tanja Kallio and doctoral candidate Sami Tuomi consider the realisation of this goal entirely possible. “In Denmark, for example, renewable energy already accounts for 40% of electricity generation and the target is to raise this share to 60% in a little over a decade. In theory, there is no reason why all electrical energy couldn’t come from renewable sources.” A problem that needs solving before that concerns storage.

Three grams versus two tonnes

The Sun radiates 4.3 × 1020 joules of energy per hour on the Earth – about as much as the human race consumes in an entire year. Sunshine and wind can, however, be absent when there is a need for energy, and large-scale storage involves many challenges. One of these is platinum, the precious metal familiar from luxury jewellery that sells for about €30 per gram. In the storing of renewable energy, platinum acts as an electrocatalyst that enables solar- or wind-generated electrical energy to be stored as chemical energy and, in turn, the conversion of this chemical energy back to electricity. “Catalysts account for about a fifth of the process’ costs. The EU has listed platinum and many other catalysts currently in use as raw materials of critical importance. This means that they threaten to either run out globally and, prior to this, become astronomically expensive or that they are sourced from geopolitically challenging countries, where their production is not secure,” Tanja Kallio explains. Kallio and her group aim to replace platinum by developing catalysts out of cheaper and easier to find raw materials, such as iron. The price difference is enormous: a hundred euro buys about three grams of platinum, but more than two tonnes of iron. Unlike platinum, however, iron is not a good catalyst because its surface is susceptible to passivation in air. One of the materials tailor-made by the group is a carbon nanotube with excellent electrical conductivity. Embedded in its surface is an iron 24 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

Sami Tuomi and Tanja Kallio with some solar panels. Use of solar energy is increasing rapidly also on the Otaniemi campus. The 920 rooftop solar panels of the TUAS building and the Computer Science building generate enough electricity to satisfy some 6% of the annual requirement of these buildings, and up to 20% in summertime.


particle, which is protected by a graphene layer and serves as a catalyst. It is, thanks to its manufacturing method, very active, which means that only a little electrical energy is wasted in the storage process. This makes the process economically viable. “We’ve also produced nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes. The tube itself is poor to react, but when you remove a carbon atom from the surface and replace it with nitrogen, you create discontinuity points, which are catalytically active,” says Sami Tuomi. Nitrogen doping, i.e. modification, is a straight­ forward process. First, the carbon nanotube and a solvent are combined in one vessel, while a nitrogencontaining compound and a solvent go into another. After this you stir, then merge the mixtures, and then stir again. Finally, the desired material is removed to undergo heat-treatment. Kallio says this simplicity was a conscious choice. “We wanted a process that would be as easy as possible to scale up and commercialise.”

Will it last?

When renewable energy is stored in large amounts and for a long time, it is usually done using hydrogen. The electricity generated by a solar panel or a wind turbine is transmitted to an electrolyser unit, which consists of two end plates that are surfaced with a catalytic material. In addition to electricity, one end plate is fed with water, which decomposes into oxygen and hydrogen molecules on the surface of the catalyst. The oxygen leaves the second end plate in pure gaseous form and the hydrogen is collected into storage tanks, enabling its further use or later conversion back into electricity. Storage tank volumes can range from the size of a shipping container to giant subterranean spheres the size of a small apartment building. “Smaller containers might be suitable for storing, for example, fuel for hydrogen vehicles,” Tanja Kallio reckons. “This would also be sensible, as studies have indicated that the most economical system would be one in which hydrogen is consumed in pace with production output. In other words, renewable peak energy would yield hydrogen, which would in turn be consumed by hydrogen cars.” Tailored catalysts have some way to go before they are ready for industrial application, however. Kallio acknowledges that, even though their group has discovered several promising and interesting catalysts, it remains a mystery how and why some of them work. Another major challenge is to demonstrate that catalysts, which have been found to work excellently on a small, laboratory scale, can also serve well on a larger scale and over a sufficiently long time. “Timescale is one of the biggest challenges. A catalyst should function for at least five years in a commercial application, but implementing a demo of such length isn’t very realistic,” Tuomi says. “I myself think that we’ll start with shorter times and see if any degradation occurs. This will allow us to examine how well the catalyst holds up or, if it doesn’t hold up, what is the reason behind it. The commercial challenge will thus be resolved alongside the scientific problem,” Kallio believes. 26 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

Three culprits out of four

A positive solution could have an enormous impact on greenhouse gas emissions, which would help combat climate change. An example from the other side of the Atlantic illuminates this huge potential. “In the United States, electricity generation causes 29% of greenhouse gas emissions, and coal plants create 75% of these. If coal power were replaced by wind- or solar-powered electricity, the country’s greenhouse gas emissions would fall 22%,” says Sami Tuomi. Such a reduction sounds utopian during the term of Paris climate accord shelver Donald Trump, but thankfully there is hope elsewhere. Asian giants India and China, for example, have already decided to reduce the number of coal plants because it is clearly cheaper to generate electricity using renewable sources. Kallio and Tuomi underline that applications can be found in other sectors as well. The activities that cause greenhouse gas emissions can be divided into four roughly equal categories: electricity generation, industry, transport and other activities like agriculture. “We can influence the first three of these. Industry, for example, consumes enormous quantities of hydrogen, which is currently produced from natural gas. Our system would enable its manufacture from water with renewable energy.”

Just one hydrogen-powered fuel cell car has been registered in Finland, and these water vapourexhausting vehicles are still rare elsewhere in the world, too. But change is afoot: auto industry behemoth Toyota in particular is investing strongly in fuel cells and Tokyo intends to spend €350 million on the city’s hydrogen infrastructure prior to the 2030 Olympic Games. “Electric cars have proliferated rapidly because infrastructure is being built for them. If hydrogenpowered renewable energy solutions become more common, also the infrastructure would be built,” Kallio says. Hydrogen cars would be a good match with Finnish driving culture. “Electric cars are great for urban traffic, but it is unlikely that you’ll be driving long distances to the summer cottage or touring Lapland in one anytime soon.”

On science

From nanosatellites to a space truck Aalto University is taking Finland to space full throttle. More and more Finnish satellites are heading for Earth orbit, research in the area is lively and startups are making inroads into industry.

Text Marjukka Puolakka Photo Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and the Aalto-1 team THE SPACE sector is very very hot right

now and the outlook for Aalto University and Finland is bright. “Small satellites are a new, cost-effective way to enter space. Finland’s very own scientific space programme is now in motion with Aalto University’s satellite projects,” says a happy Space Technology Professor Jaan Praks. Space technology is also a fresh opening for Finnish industry. The way is being led by successful startups that have emerged from Aalto University. The European Space Agency has chosen Finland as the location of its new Business Incubation Centre, which will draw from the abundant aerospace expertise in Otaniemi. Aalto is also participating in the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Space Research. The consortium studying sustainable space research and technology (2018–25) aims to revolutionise experimental space physics with the aid of nanosatellites while also safeguarding Earth orbit from the build up of space junk.

Aalto-3 satellite already in the works The student-designed and -built Aalto-1 satellite was conceived in 2010, and ever since then our small satellite projects have trained new talent by the dozen for the space sector. The field is very attractive right now. Aalto-1 was launched from India on Midsummer day, and all of its systems and devices are functioning faultlessly. The satellite is being operated from a ground control station in Otaniemi. “The first-ever photo taken by a Finnish satellite was received in July. It

depicts the coastlines of Denmark and Norway, and was snapped from an altitude of 500 kilometres by the secondary camera of the hyperspectral camera developed by VTT,” Praks says. The four-kilo Aalto-1’s equipment also includes a radiation detector developed jointly by the universities of Helsinki and Turku as well as a Finnish Meteorological Institute plasma brake. The goal is for the satellite to accumulate data and take pictures for a year or two, after which it will be brought back down safely. Aalto-1 was not, despite its name, the first Finnish satellite in space. “Another student-created device, the Aalto-2, was launched on board an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in May. The launch was a success and we established a connection with the satellite. After four days, however, the connection was lost, and we’ve been unable to re-establish it,” Praks recounts. “Students are already building the Aalto-3 satellite in our new and improved laboratory facility.”

The Finland 100 satellite transmits space images and vibes. Anyone can download the photographs and radio wave measurement data it produces from a cloud service. “The hope is that this satellite will inspire young people to take up the natural sciences and technology. It is also a reminder of how Finnish prosperity has been built by developing and exploiting the latest technology,” Kallio notes. One part of the Finland 100 satellite project is the Space Truck, which hit the road in September and will tour 22 localities reaching as far north as Ivalo after departing Otaniemi. A spacethemed science centre with exhibits has been constructed in the truck’s cargo area. It also contains a small clean room, inside which visitors get to try their hand at assembling a nanosatellite.

NASA looking for inventive apps from Finland

The goal of the NASA Europa Challenge is to harness satellite data collected in space to benefit sustainable development on Earth. The competition was arranged Also a part of the Finland 100 centenary for the first time in Finland this year. The applications entered into the com­ Together with the Finnish Meteorologipetition exploit NASA’s World Wind, cal Institute, Aalto University is participating in celebrating the centenary an open source programming interface, and can be freely utilised by anyone. of Finnish independence with what is Out of 11 finalists, AgroSphere develsurely the year’s most high-flying project. oped by an American team and World The Finland 100 satellite has a mass of Weather developed by a Jordanianjust over one kilo, and it is scheduled for launch into Earth orbit in December. Finnish team were chosen as winners. AgroSphere combines climate data and “The goal is to study space weather, information on the development of agrii.e. how the Sun affects the Earth’s near space. One of the most striking manifesta- cultural crop production. World Weather tions of space weather is the polar lights,” is an application that creates 3D and 4D says Professor Esa Kallio, who is in displays using weather data from diffe­ charge of the Finland 100 satellite project. rent sources. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 27


Product development course tackles corporate problems The PDP course aims high: its students are given the opportunity to become the world’s best product developers. Some 253 prototypes have already been produced over the 20-year history of the course. Text Marjukka Puolakka


And there’s no shortage of willing participants. In the beginning, the course was selected by some 60 students annually, but this number has at times reached 200 in recent years. The language of instruction has switched from Finnish to English, and the multidisciplinary nature of the course has continued to grow. This year, every project included distance members from Design Factories in different corners of the world. Cooperation between students of engineering, business and design has already resulted in 253 prototypes, more than

30 of which have found their way to the market either directly or after some further refinement. Examples include a weather station monitoring device developed for Vaisala and an idea for a wireless charging system for the Powerkiss corporation. Failures have been few and far between. When the development of a prototype for the needs of a small company is successful, it’s actually a good thing if the firm does not participate in the next year’s course. “That business will be busy further

Aalto Design Factory

verything is aimed at companies at the Design Factory’s product development course, which assigns real-life problems in need of a solution to multidisciplinary student teams and gives them eight months to develop a prototype in response. Participating firms range from small startups to multinational giants like Airbus, GE, Panasonic and Audi. “The course provides students with the opportunity to become the best product developers in the world,” says Design Factory chief, Professor Kalevi Ekman.

The Design Factory staff cheering. 28 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

Lotta Fors

Adding comfort to magnetic imaging

Aalto Design Factory


The PDP Gala audience stretching.

Ekman says this calls on universities to engage in self-reflection, to think about what they can do to help learning when anyone can access an overflowing abundance of information. “We have succeeded when the students feel that they can learn things by being a part of a team, which combines different types of expertise that would be pretty impossible to absorb independently. No matter what field you’re in, human interaction forms the foundation of all expert work.” The 21st PDP course will once again be tackling fresh challenges this autumn.

Miikka Kuisma

refining the product,” Ekman chuckles. Two decades have seen 110 companies take part in the PDP. One firm that has been involved each year is the lift and escalator maker KONE. This year’s first-timers included Fiskars, Caruna and Tulikivi. Companies pay €15k to take part, with a share of this fee allocated to students to cover the cost of building their prototypes. “The world around us gets ever more complex each year, making it even more important to have not only expertise, but also the capacity to pool your abilities together with experts from different fields.”

The Puzzles team developed an aid device, which boosts patient comfort during magnetic imaging.

the head and shoulder region is a stressful and anxious experience for cancer patients, who need to don earplugs to dampen the noise while their head is held in place by a plastic face mask within the cramped imaging device. The patients must not move, in addition to which problems are caused by the easily-dislodged sensors that receive the signals. Two sensor devices the size of a ping pong paddle are supported by three-kilo sandbags on both sides of the neck and a velcro strip. The slightest movement forces a restart of the 25-minute imaging session. Philips gave the Puzzles team an assignment that had the aim of boosting the quality of magnetic resonance imaging and patient comfort. “A visit to Turku University Hospital made it quite clear that nurses spend a lot of their time calming and relaxing patients for the imaging session,” says mechanical engineering student Janne Viskari. The group received distance support from occupational health students at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia who examined the magnetic imaging process from the perspective of patient wellbeing. “The idea of our technical support device was inspired by the flexible GorillaPod camera tripod. A chain of plastic ball joints makes it possible to shape the support suitably, in a way that doesn’t weigh on the patient or hamper visibility,” Viskari continues. The support is easier and faster to put in place than the weighty sandbags and it also stays in place much better. The quick release latch of the support arm can be opened very rapidly if a patient panics. Care instructions compiled by the Australian students help nurses manage the imaging process. The patient’s mood can be improved through several little things, such as renaming the panic button as the comfort button. Close cooperation with Philips resulted in an outcome that satisfied both parties. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 29


A drone taking the lift

urban living and the Internet of Things all have one thing in common: a quadcopter is transporting goods in every one of them. But what if a delivery needs to be taken inside, to the 17th floor of the building? Lift and escalator maker KONE wanted to find out. The Dragonfly team was tasked with building a robotic drone, which can travel safely indoors and also operate lifts. Mission impossible? Almost. Navigating around people in cramped indoor spaces is many times more difficult than outdoor flying. GPS signals are weak, and the movement of the lift with its automatically opening and closing doors does not make things any easier. The eight-strong Dragonfly team soon discovered that numerous startup companies and doctoral studies were working on this difficult problem. “We called an American startup that had been developing a navigation system for indoor drones for eight months. They’d already spent some two million dollars, but a solution still eluded them,”

Lotta Fors

OUTDOOR IMAGES that visualise future

says Dragonfly’s Project Manager Hiep Nguyen. It is easier to automate the steering of cars than robotic drones because cars move on a single plane. But the team didn’t give up, and instead hunkered down to build and test their devices with varying degrees of success before Dragonfly made it to the May gala to showcase their two prototypes. “We built a package-carrying radio controlled drone with a programmable flight path out of components. We used our second commercial drone to demonstrate the operating of a lift with the quadcopter being steered by software developed for that purpose,” Nguyen says.

“The idea was that, instead of being given ready-made specs, the students themselves would be allowed to consider the entire product development path from beginning to end. Assigning a task, which is up to a hundred percent uncertain, is a handy way for us to test ideas that may at times seem crazy, and each project has provided us, too, with valuable learning,” says KONE Corporation’s Innovation Manager Ari Hänninen. And was the product development team’s enthusiasm sapped when the technology failed to yet produce the desired result? “Not at all. This was the best course I’ve done during all of my studies,” says Nguyen, who is currently working on his Master’s thesis.

IN ORDER FOR mobile phones to work

amidst large multi-storey buildings and in large crowds, base stations need to be installed to transmit a signal along city streets and in shopping malls. At their shortest, signals from such stations only carry for about ten metres. This means that large cities risk being filled with radio transmission technology, which is not always easy on the eyes, and future 5G networks will require even more antennae. A team called The Box was tasked with concealing technology. The group’s design expertise was complemented by industrial design and business students from the Porto Design Factory in Portugal. Material choices were largely dictated by mobile network signal propagation characteristics, while the base station installation heights were chosen based on the properties of radio waves. Covering structures should not be suitable platforms for bird’s nests, but cannot 30 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

be totally solid either because heat needs an escape outlet. Relentless brainstorming led to the birth of 22 product concepts, which the team then started pruning and combining in cooperation with Nokia. “Old ideas often burden companies when they start to look for fresh oppor­ tunities. Students, however, start with a clean slate and keep their eyes peeled in every direction,” says Raimo Saario, who was responsible for Nokia’s side of the project. Halfway through the course, the group had produced two quite different product concepts: a cylindrical solution for installation on street light poles and a modular tower structure with an info board. “The info board makes the large tower easier to sell to, for example, city councils if you include smart functions that serve citizens,” says Johnny Boxström, Project Manager for The Box team. The LED lights on the top part of the

Lotta Fors

Better camouflage for mobile base stations

multi-purpose tower provide additional illumination for dark evenings and the lower part could include, say, an electric car charging station. “A serious amount of work was required for the project, but it also gave back enormously. Coordinating the subcontracting of items to schedule, for example, proved surprisingly difficult,” Boxström notes. The finish line was crossed never­ theless, and Nokia has received the work with enthusiasm. “We’re looking into taking advantage of the results and further refining these concepts. Something will come out of this for sure,” says Saario.

In-house This section gives you a picture of what’s happening at Aalto University.

Doctoral candidates Sherif Elsayed and Simone Haslinger work at the new centre. They belong to Professor Herbert Sixta’s research group, which develops the Ioncell-F fibre production method, an ecological alternative to water-intensive cotton production.

Fresh options for bioeconomy collaboration Text Minna Hölttä Photo Mikko Raskinen

The new Aalto Bioproduct Centre opened in May, bringing together companies and experts in biomaterials teaching and research. Its core objective is to accelerate innovation. “The bioeconomy is one of Finland’s most important export fields and employers. Moving from an oil-based economy to an increasingly bio-based economy is a great opportunity for us,” says Janne Laine, Dean of the School of Chemical Engineering. Herbert Sixta, Head of the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, wants to encourage researchers to commercialise their competence. The Toihan company, which specialises in treating pulp and paper mill wastewater, already operates in the Centre, and more companies are to follow. Professor Sixta points out that about 20% of the biomass that grows annually in Finnish forests is not utilised. If it was refined into, for example, textile fibre, the cellulose content of that 20% would generate five billion euro in additional income for Finland each year. “And that sum would be much larger if all of the structural parts of trees were included. This is why the Aalto Bioproduct Centre emphasises value chain thinking, and our research group is developing new ways of applying it in areas like future wood construction and ecological, water-resistant coatings.” Aalto Bioproduct Centre is located at Vuorimiehentie 1 in Otaniemi, Espoo. In total, some €20 million is to be invested in its infrastructure in 2017–19. Among other things, a small-scale biorefinery will be built there. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 31


Bottle crates born again in student hands Plates as thin as silk, velvet-smooth fabric, a lampshade, a seat cover and a video installation – these were some of the creations produced by an experimental design course. Text Paula Haikarainen Photos Eeva Suorlahti


The plastic crates were shredded and the students had a choice to work the raw material using any techniques they liked. On the left: Shorts wear designed by Yang Ting-Jhen.


OME 2,000 discontinued red

Coca-Cola bottle crates experienced a rebirth at a design course organised by the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The crates were shredded and the students melted, ground, bent and worked the raw material thus

Common factor: red

The seven-week course commenced with the shredding of the crates, after which the students were allowed to work freely on the plastic shreds using techniques and tools of their choosing. Each crate yielded some 2.6 kilos of shredded plastic. “The range of completed course works is a celebration of creativity. The only shared feature is the colour red, as we agreed with the students that we’d only use plastic from the bottle crates, with no other materials or colourings added. It was quite surprising that a material like this, which had never been tried before, would bend into so many shapes. We had such an enormous amount of ideas at the start of the course that one of the biggest challenges was to decide, which ones we’d develop further,” says Designer in Residence Tiina Aarras, who served as the course’s second teacher. A material experiment by Lee Yujung. The PE-HD plastic of the bottle crates was used to create both art and utility created using many kinds of techniques item prototypes. Melted crate shreds and tools. were processed into silk-thin plates and The red crates were pulled from even a soft, fabric-like material. the market because Sinebrychoff stopped Items produced as part of the course making long-necked Coca-Cola bottles include a lampshade, a deck covering, following the completion of a new glass a fruit basket, a seat cover as well as bottle production line. Once the new, a shirt and shorts made entirely from smaller bottles entered the market, plastic. The soundscape created by the old crates became useless. processing the material also inspired “We were pleasantly surprised to be the students to produce audio and video given the opportunity to use bottle crates installations. as raw material for our course. We’ve cooperated with companies before as Sustainable development and corporate cooperation well, but this was the first time that we were given completely free reign on how Sixteen Master’s degree students to work the material. This freedom can representing thirteen nationalities and be seen in the results, too. The course three different study programmes at was such a positive experience that we’re the Department of Design took part in looking for possibilities to engage in sim- the course. ilar cooperation also in the future,” says “Sustainable development and University Teacher Anna van der Lei. the circular economy are themes that

are nowadays involved in all teaching, which is related with materials use. Projects like this provide students of different disciplines with experience of corporate cooperation, while partaking companies are given ideas about a wealth of available possibilities,” van der Lei says. The University is always open to cooperation with companies and often utilises recycled materials in its projects. “We’ve made items out of recycled plastic earlier as well, but not in this scope or from a material like this. The red bottle crates have had an interesting lifespan: they were transported to Finland long ago before being decommissioned last autumn. This project was unique, as it was only possible to realise it at this time,” Aarras points out.

The works were on display during Helsinki Design Week.

Paper thin material created by Ekaterina Krotenko. A flat piece of the crate is cut and put through a power sander resulting in a furry surface. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 33

In there

Science of darkness The School of Business arranges an academic conference that focuses on metal music. Its topics include the Eurovision Song Contest, Norwegian black metal, and tennis. Among the participants is Patrick Rinke, a physics professor. Hold on – what is this? Text and photos Mikko Raskinen


Tuska is one of the biggest heavy metal festivals in Europe and a cooperation partner of the Modern Heavy Metal Conference.


In there

One of the keynote speakers, Chilean Erick Avila, spicing up his presentation with a guitar solo.


LACK, BLACK, black. I’m trying

to spot just one colourful T-shirt amongst the throng of researchers arriving at the School of Business. ­The 3rd Modern Heavy Metal Conference (MHMC), an international academic research meet, is about to commence at Aalto University. I’ve had the foresight to don black jeans, and after changing into the official conference T-shirt (black), I blend seamlessly with the others, who are wearing tops emblazoned with band or tour logos. Over the next three July days, I may find out what the Eurovision Song Contest, sport, heavy metal music, theoretical physics and Argentine tango have in common. The previous day, the event’s main organiser, Academy Research Fellow Toni-Matti Karjalainen, was still nervously pacing around his office at the School of Business. “The conference T-shirts haven’t arrived yet. Furthermore, the luggage and guitars of one of our special guests, Chilean musician Erick Avila, are lost somewhere at the airports of Central Europe,” he lists his concerns. 36 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

The MHMC T-shirts look like traditional tour shirts: the names of all of the speakers are printed on the back, resembling the memorabilia sold at music festivals. “Printing the names of our speakers on the conference shirt was a nice innovation we came up with for the very first conference,” Karjalainen recalls. His art and design background probably taught him to pay more attention than usual to aesthetic considerations. “In the first year, we had our shirts made in colour – pink and blue, for example – and people kept asking if the shirts were available in black,” he laughs. The first MHMC was arranged in 2015 and it boasted an eye-catching list of speakers: the keynote presentations were delivered by world-famous musicians Alex Skolnick of Testament and Anthrax founding member Scott Ian. “The first conference was, in fact, ­ the biggest and most difficult to organise. It was also that year’s main event for the International Society for Metal Music Studies,” says Karjalainen, who was in charge of organising the event then, too.

More than 150 guests came to the first conference. Somewhat surprisingly, convincing famous artists to attend has not been the hardest aspect of the organising effort; a few have even reached out to the organisers independently. “Artists and managers will often take a moment to mull it over, thinking this sounds interesting, but what is it really all about. After I explain our goals to them, they are immediately on board, however,” Karjalainen beams. The metal research community often combines fandom with theoretical thought. “Many researchers are in a band or play an instrument as a hobby. It helps understand the artisan aspect of musical performance work. I want to keep the practical side included on the conference agenda, we shouldn’t focus on theory alone.”

Argentinian rock-tango

A raven-haired heavy metal man grinds his electric guitar like there’s no tomorrow in the School of Business’ traditionrich Wihuri Hall. Audience members shake nod their heads Heads nod in beat

The Conference attracted lots of media interest. Main organiser, Academy Research Fellow Toni-Matti Karjalainen being interviewed.

Researcher Pavla Samoylova’s presentation dealt with topics like law, morality and censorship.

to the sweet, distorted tunes pouring from his instrument. This really doesn’t look like your usual academic gathering. One of the main speakers, Chilean Erick Avila, is the front man of metal band Six Magicks. “I’m here in Finland to deliver a presentation at the conference, and also to do a marketing tour for my band and album,” Avila says. Later that night, he’s due to perform solo at a city centre club to which a number of other attending researchers are also headed.

with some researchers even examining mosh pit chaos theory, i.e. they modelled the movements of the rowdiest headbangers at metal gigs. But I’m still puzzled by the unholy union of dark-toned metal music and economics. Toni-Matti Karjalainen has been asked about this before. “The conference’s subtopic is Markets, Practices and Cultures. It was good to include the term markets because the commercial side of metal and the brands of this sector have been studied only very little.”

“Finnish band Nightwish is one of my favourites, which makes it nice to come here and see where they got started,” Avila enthuses. The goal of his presentation is to show how a traditional musical style, such as tango, can be introduced into modern metal music while still retaining its Latin soul. Amongst the heads nodding to the music is that of Professor Patrick Rinke, a physicist from Aalto University. He is participating both in the role of researcher and as a metal fan. “The best part about researching metal music is that it combines such a wide array of disciplines – art and design, sociology, business and economics, and musicology.” Although physics may feel a bit remote in this context, Rinke has also managed to acquire ideas for his own scientific research from the conference. “It has to do with leaving your own comfort zone and testing fresh ideas.” One such idea would be to study the cover art of metal albums from the perspective of his own specialist field, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Studies associated with metal music have already exploited physics,

National metal identity

“The best part of this event is the opportunity for discussion with other metal music researchers, and getting their feedback on the direction of my own research. My home university doesn’t really have any researchers of this area,” says first-time participant Pavla Samoylova, a doctoral candidate from Glessen, Germany. Her background includes studying law in Russia, and she is delivering a presentation on law, the moral panic aroused by metal music, artistic freedom and censorship. Samoylova is herself a vocalist in a metal band. The next presentation also deals with moral panic. London University College researcher Titus Hjelm, also known as a member of veteran Finnish metal outfit Thunderstone, analyses Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah performance, which earned Finland’s only win to date at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006. Hjelm shows how the news headlines quickly transformed to laud Lordi, who were at first completely slated by the domestic media, into a main pillar of the Finnish national identity. This happened immediately after the historic win was confirmed. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 37

PANEL DISCUSSION ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MUSIC AND SPORT The deep connection between the national identity and metal music perhaps explains the media’s unusually lively interest in this conference. Finland is, alongside Germany and Norway, one of the biggest countries in the metal genre. “The media’s active interest has been a positive surprise. It is not usual for reporters to call about academic conferences, but they do want to write stories about this event,” says Toni-Matti Karjalainen. Finnish mainstream media, including the national broadcasting service YLE, have shown interest in the event, and Karjalainen keeps receiving phone calls about interviews. The visiting speakers are not immune from attention either. Erick Avila says he has already given 15 interviews, mostly to various media outlets from Chile. They are extremely interested in a Chilean musician’s overseas success – which sounds very familiar to me as a Finn.

Tuska, tennis and star moments

Perhaps it is because of our national identity that Finland hosts one of the biggest metal festivals in Europe. Tuska Open Air takes place in the Suvilahti dis-


trict of Helsinki and is celebrating its 20th year. Tuska is a cooperation partner of the MHMC, and Toni-Matti Karjalainen heads a metal-related panel discussion on each day of the music festival. Today’s panel debate focuses on the relationship between metal music and sport, with tennis ace Jarkko Nieminen in attendance as one of the panelists. He confesses to being a huge metal fan, and says that he sometimes blasts high-energy metal on his headphones to really rev up his engine prior to a match. Listening to the panel reveals that metal music is a presence at sporting events in other ways as well. A game at the ice hockey world championships, for example, is impossible to imagine without Metallica’s Enter Sandman blaring in the hall. But what has been the finest moment for the conference organiser, I ask Toni-Matti Karjalainen. “Alex Skolnick performed the musical component of his 2015 presentation using my guitar. Alex got here in the middle of a tour, between his gigs in eastern Europe and Germany, and hauling his own guitar on the plane would not have been efficient. I sent the specs of my gui-

In there

The audience waits for HIM to start playing at the Tuska festival.

tar to him, and Alex said OK. Good thing he wasn’t bound by a sponsorship agreement with some specific brand.” And who would be his dream conference performer? “It would be great to get a huge name, like Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson or Metallica’s James Hetfield, to come here,” Karjalainen gushes. This time, the keynote speaker’s guitars, as well as the conference T-shirts, eventually made their way to Helsinki, allowing the organisers to breathe a sigh of relief. It did, however, require Erick Avila to contact the Embassy of Chile in Finland. After his call, the missing luggage arrived to Finland from Germany with phenomenal speed. Perhaps their embassy staff also includes a devout headbanger.

Modern Heavy Metal Conference researchers engaging in field work.

• The 3rd Modern Heavy Metal Conference was held on 28.6–2.7.2017. • Some 80 people attended, 50 of whom were researchers. • Participants came from 16 countries including the UK, South Africa, Russia, Netherlands, France, Ireland and the USA. • Among others, the following academic fields were represented at the conference: cultural studies, sociology, popular culture and music, the humanities, business and economics, musicology, ethnomusicology, philosophy, law, art research, theatre research. • modernheavymetal.fi AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 39


Friday finery Perspectives clash in a fashion company owned by a clothing designer, an engineer and a business graduate, but their faith in each other has grown casually. Text Terhi Hautamäki Photos Formal Friday OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS and athletes

only accept the best functional fabrics. Why couldn’t these proven materials be used also for clothes, which we wear at other times, things like T-shirts, formal shirts and blazers? This is the idea that spurred the creation of Finnish menswear label Formal Friday. Formal Friday’s small showroom is located in an old engineering works hall on the grounds of Hietalahti shipyard in Helsinki. The converted hall nowadays houses various businesses and serves as a venue for exhibitions and events. In the middle of numerous racks filled with suits, shirts and trousers sits a trio brought together through a series of unlikely encounters. School of Business graduate Toni Tervilä and mechanical design engineer Pentti Jokinen found themselves in the fashion industry and co-owners of a business with well-known clothing designer 40 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

Teemu Muurimäki. The idea for their cooperation stemmed from a magazine interview of Muurimäki that created the impression he might be open to a new project, something he could call his own. “Going into the fashion industry was a big leap, and I had to learn everything anew from the very beginning. But this isn’t rocket science, it’s more like an interesting challenge,” says Jokinen.

He ordered a few Merino wool T-shirts and liked the material very much. Later, when spending an evening with his childhood friend Pentti Jokinen, he mentioned his discovery. For Jokinen, a climbing enthusiast, Merino wool was a familiar material. “Together, we wondered why recreational clothing manufacturers weren’t using more of this fabric,” Tervilä recalls.

First they found Merino wool

Better threads on Fridays

Toni Tervilä’s interest in things textile was piqued for the first time during a holiday to Madrid in summer 2013. He went shopping for shirts and summer clothes, but grew frustrated with their poor quality: a lot of the textiles would lose their shape after the very first wash. For fun, he began to research what would make the world’s best T-shirt, and learned that many who travel and exercise a lot swear by Merino wool.

At the same time, Teemu Muurimäki had already had a long international career in the clothing industry. After graduating from the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2001, Muurimäki worked at famous fashion houses like Dolce & Gabbana and Armani, but he harboured a long-time desire to launch his own clothing concept. While employed at Australian fashion house Carla Zampatti, Muurimäki

On the left: Tatu Artman, Lauri Mäkelä, Toni Tervilä, Pentti Jokinen and Teemu Muurimäki.

and his colleagues preferred to work in jeans and T-shirts, prompting the boss to sometimes poke fun at the appearance of the design team. One Friday, Muurimäki and a workmate decided to show up wearing suits with pocket squares, and the ladies of the office loved it. Wearing such attire soon became a habit, in contrast to the casual Friday trend of allowing a relaxed dress code on the week’s last workday that is more typical in the business world. “We started donning pretty slick threads, but with a relaxed twist that suited us, and referred to it as formal Friday.” While considering his Friday outfits, Muurimäki realised that there was something missing from the space between the denim department and sharper business attire. “I’m of a generation that feels like a wannabe insurance salesman when fitting a suit. It’s just not my style. I thought that, between youth clothing and business attire, we need relaxed, good clothes that still look smart.”

an industry that churns out products in rapid cycles and pollutes the world, it is important to aim for high quality – perfectly fitting, easy-care clothes that stand the test of time. They got together for lunch and followed this up with more brainstorming meetings before establishing the company in spring 2014. Two other business professionals, Tatu Artman and Lauri Mäkelä, also got involved.

Sharing a language with investors

“We really did start from the basics when I taught the others a little about the structure of fibres and textile technology during our first meetings,” Muurimäki recalls. However, he feels fortunate to have found such a multidisciplinary team. There are a lot of one-person design firms in Finland, but it is difficult to find a common language with investors if you lack commercial expertise. A fashion industry startup does not have it easy in the beginning. Fabric producers and factories favour large clothThinking in line ing manufacturers or, at the very least, Tervilä came across an interview charge extra for small orders. The creathe business magazine Talouselämä tion of a collection, branding work, negopublished after Muurimäki had returned tiations and production require sizeable to Finland to work for Marimekko. initial investments before a single euro Tervilä decided to invite the designer drops back into your account. out for lunch. Formal Friday has proceeded with Muurimäki had been drawn back to clear business objectives and has already Finland by his family and a desire to attracted funding from several investors. engage in more versatile design work The firm is not yet profitable, but than was possible on the payroll of a large the team was aware that they’d have fashion house. He also experienced to wait to get paid themselves. an ethical awakening. If you work in “We don’t want to compromise on

our growth vision, and would rather pinch and save for the first few years,” Tervilä says.

Lessons in trust

Formal Friday showcased its first collection in March 2015. An online store was followed by pop-up shops and a permanent outlet at Helsinki’s Lasipalatsi building. The next step will be to get their clothes on sale in the high-profile fashion shops of Europe and Asia. It is vital to stand out. The company has demonstrated the functionality of its clothes with, among other things, a video of trickster Vellu Saarela performing somersaults in a suit. “This business teaches you to trust in one another. I have international experience and I’ve formed a pretty strict view of how things should be done. But then our completely insane Toni Tervilä will come up with crazy ideas like setting up a pop-up shop in Helsinki’s best location,” Muurimäki says. Jokinen, for his part, works on the firm’s process charts and he has taught his colleagues engineer-like problem solving. Jokinen and Muurimäki acknowledge that the different perspectives of an artist and an engineer can sometimes prompt bouts of arm wrestling. Especially in the beginning, everyone very much wanted to get involved with everything, but each of them has gradually learned to give the others space to handle their own departments. “We have all softened up when compared to three years ago. We’ve begun to understand one another,” Jokinen says.



Take a look at an interesting study project.

NAKUNA – an exhibition of Finnishness in Milan

Design students served forest treats to exhibition guests.

Text Anna Berg Photo Valentina Caselini


ish forest filled the historical building of the Circolo Filologico Milanese in April 2017, when Aalto students staged the NAKUNA exhibition, an exploration of experimental design, for the Milan Design Week. The aim of the exhibition was to examine the values and core of being Finnish to celebrate the centenary of Finland’s independence. The installation Laavu (Lean-to) brought an impressive stall to the building’s light-filled main hall that served exhibition guests beautiful portions made from berries and mushrooms collected as donations from the freezers of Finnish people. “We transported 750 spring water ice lollies, more than a thousand berry helpings and over a thousand pickled mushrooms to Milan,” says Suhyun Park. In addition to these snacks, the stall distributed info about the vibrant relationship Finns have with the forest. Many guests were amazed to hear about our freedom to roam, or everyman’s right, which allows anyone to gather berries and mushrooms from the forest for free. “An Italian guest asked if it really was permitted to enter forests at any time 42 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

or if there were specific opening hours,” Annukka Svanda says with a giggle. The large video installation Ikkuna (Window) was erected in a dark library hall. Its naked figures provided insight into Finland’s sauna culture. “We chose the sauna as our subject because people are all equal there, having shed all of their status symbols,” says Samuli Helavuo.

In the top 40

In the adjacent installation Manifesti (Manifesto), two old typewriters have been harnessed to serve as the exhibition’s guestbook by attaching a constantly moving roll of paper to them. The installation was created as a show of respect to Finnish culture’s freedom of expression and speech. “We don’t tell the guests what to think, they can themselves define what the message of Manifesti is,” Dario Vidal Pellikka states. NAKUNA was named one of the top 40 exhibitions in the Milan Design Award competition, which shines a spotlight on the best events on offer among the two thousand exhibitions staged during the week.

“Milan Design Week is the most significant annual event for the design world. In other words, we came here to challenge the very top experts of our field,” says Professor of Design Timo Salli. A voluminous flow of visitors circulated around the exhibition during the week. “Word had gotten around in Milan, and many people came to see our exhibition after hearing that this was something you had to check out in person,” says Professor of Furniture Design Ville Kokkonen. In addition to the three major installations, the exhibition showcased textile art by Hanna-Kaisa Korolainen and Aamu Salo, products from Aalto’s wood studio, audio output devices realised in cooperation with Bang & Olufsen as well as the biomaterials research project CHEMARTS.

Watch the video: NAKUNA exhibition @ Milan Design Week 2017 bit.ly/2faO9kq


One hundred metres of mural on the way to festival fun Aalto students created paintings, architecture, design, movies, animations and an art workshop for the Flow festival. Text Paula Haikarainen Photo Mikko Raskinen IN ADDITION TO MUSIC, a festival

arranged last August in Helsinki provided the audience with a wide variety of student-produced art. A hundred-metre mural painted by visual communication design students guided visitors from the gate towards the main stage. The subjects of Jukebox stemmed from interpretations of music: each of the seven illustrators chose at least one song by an artist performing at this year’s festival as a source of inspiration. “Tracks by Danny Brown, the band Badbadnotgood and Soichi Terada formed the starting point for me. The lyrics, rhythm and mood provided ideas for my pictures,” says student Anni Teva. She created three paintings for the wall,

one of which was made in collaboration with Miia Puustinen. The lush Green Core was the work of product and spatial design students. One of the elements in the design of this relaxation area was a light installation that shifted in tune to the time of day. Festival-goers also got to check out the Kokoon house. Our architecture students designed this easy-to-assemble wooden building using stackable structures. Its original idea stemmed from the need to build inexpensive housing for migrants. The landmark house and Green Core became a popular meeting spot over the course of the festival. Screens at the two main stages showed student-made experimental animations during breaks between artist per-

formances, while the festival’s cinema screened movies by Aalto’s film and scenography students. On Sunday, Flow’s family day, our art education students arranged a painting workshop for children. “Flow is much more than just a music festival: it is a comprehensive cultural experience. The works of Aalto students were on display to almost 75 000 visitors over a single weekend,” says David Lewis of Aalto University’s communications team. Aalto is one of the partners of Flow festival. Watch the video: AaltoxFlow bit.ly/2fn1h2L


Working on the Internet MORE AND MORE people work online. There’s no boss

John Cairns

in the ordinary sense, as the assignments come in via the net: design an office interior, implement a social media campaign, convert a mobile app from Android to iPhone. Buyers list projects like this on platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer, and interested freelancers bid for the jobs. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world earn their living or at least a part of it in this way. In Finland, too, the number of online freelancers is at least in the hundreds. The global market grew 25 percent over the past year. Data we have collected from online freelancing platforms indicates that the most popular categories of work are programming and technical work as well as creative and media production work. The thirdlargest category consists of entering data into databases and other so-called microtasks that require few specific skills. Besides technical and creative work, Finnish online freelancers engage especially in writing and translation work. Among other things, platforms handle the forming of a contract between the client and the worker, track working hours, take care of invoicing and mediate payment traffic. The platform’s cut is typically between 10 and 20 percent. When necessary, the platform can help resolve disputes between the parties – some 80–90 percent of the projects they facilitate are international, which could make debt collection via traditional means difficult. The Finnish Labour Force Survey indicates that there were 163 000 self-employed people, sole traders and freelancers in Finland last year. This number has grown by 36 percent over the last 15 years. On the one hand, online work marketplaces are a new sales channel for existing freelancers, one that allows them to reach international markets. On the other hand, platforms are introducing entrepreneurial working styles to occupations where freelancing didn’t necessarily exist before. Should a highly educated Finn care about online work? The majority of online freelancers live in low-


income and low-cost countries, India and the Philippines in particular. Competition for projects is intense and the compensation often meagre. But besides seeking cost savings, companies that use online platforms are also seeking expertise that their own organisation lacks. Some top experts in technology and financial administration can charge hundreds of dollars per hour for their platform-based work. At best, platform jobs offer flexibility and good earnings; at worst, they can result in uncertainty and distress. In our research projects, my colleagues and I have interviewed almost two hundred online contractors from around the world. A few typical success factors seem prevalent in platform-based work. As with Uber, it is crucial that customers give you the full five or at least four stars as well as leave good feedback on your profile page. At the same time, it’s good to establish longerterm relationships with clients, encouraging them to bypass the competition phase and invite you directly to projects. And it’s also smart to network with other freelancers, as online freelancers often employ one another as subcontractors to even out the workload or to seek help when additional skills are needed. Platforms might also have something to offer for regular salaried employees – as clients, that is. Many people seem to have outsourced some boring paperwork tasks via the net, or sought expert assistance to finetune an important presentation. More statistics and findings on online work are available: ilabour.oii.ox.ac.uk/online-labour-index/

— Vili Lehdonvirta The author is an Associate Professor at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, and the Principal Investigator of an ERC-funded research project iLabour. He is an alumnus of Helsinki University of Technology’s Information Networks Degree Programme from 2005.


An expert in tech company success stories Stanford Professor Riitta Katila is an expert on innovation and corporate growth strategies. We asked her what it takes to succeed in innovation. Text Anne Tapanainen Photo Kalle Kataila A lot of companies are losing business to, for example, emerging startups, and they are struggling to create new innovations. What kinds of strategies should companies employ to help their innovations reach the market? To introduce novel products, firms need to cast a wide net and take risks. In a study, we looked at new product introductions by global industrial robotics firms over a 20-year period; which firms came up with breakthrough robots, and whose products were more incremental. We found that the firms, which cast a narrow net, i.e. low variety in the ideas and technologies they explored, introduced high-reliability products. But their products were often minor improvements over what existed before. In contrast, firms that cast a wide net, via acquisitions of startups or through organic growth in new areas, introduced breakthrough products. The downside was that these firms also failed a lot in the process of taking risks, i.e., there were many product flops.

In each of these steps, the innovator needs to fight the urge to defend existing ideas, be prepared for early ideas to fail, and learn from failure. Design thinking emphasizes the importance of challenging one’s own preconceived notions and creating an environment in which everyone feels safe to take risks and learn from small setbacks.

School of Science Alumna of the Year Riitta Katila gave a public lecture at Aalto University in June. Katila works as Professor of Management Science & Engineering at Stanford University.

It seems that the innovation process often gets stuck, especially in big firms. Why is this? In general, failure is hard for big firms. But, in order to be successful, you have to take risks and occasionally fail. The key is to learn from failure, and learn fast. In a way, failure is a roadmap for what not to do next time. The problem is that many big firms have a culture that spurs the organization to deny failure and setbacks, and not talk about them. People are afraid to admit that a project is going to fail, and that leads to a missed opportunity to learn, over-optimistic forecasts, and innovation failure at the end. You have taken advantage of design thinking in your teaching. What has it got to do with innovation? Three ideas are at the heart of design thinking: empathy, which means listening to a broader range of customers early and without preconceptions, trial and error, i.e. running a number of small experiments rather than elaborate planning, and prototyping: building early and often to visualize the product and get feedback. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 45

Doctoral theses Edited by Marjukka Puolakka

An e-book is not a book M.Soc.Sc. Harri Heikkilä’s doctoral thesis examined problems with digitalizing books and mainstreaming e-books, and proposed solutions for them. An e-book should be seen as a hybrid; it is not just a content, but also a device and a service environment. It is beneficial to view the e-book as a comprehensive platform, whose mainstream development calls for greater practical benefits as well as better usability and user experiences. The thesis presents the first largescale Finnish-language review of e-book research and an analysis of the development of e-books. In addition, the researcher interviewed several experts. There is still an unresolved conflict between books and the Internet. The net is suitable for browsing and searching information, whereas a book is an environment for a sustained and peaceful reading experience. Heikkilä presents a possible conceptual model for the e-book. The model solution also contributes to the debate on what form e-books might take in the future. In follow-up research, Heikkilä will be testing different user interface versions of e-books with business partners. These aim to provide better navigation and a more immerse reading experience. Harri Heikkilä 13.4.2017: Tämä ei ole kirja. Sähkökirjan valta­ virtaistumisen haasteet. (This is not a book. The challenges of mainstreaming e-books.) School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Printing environmentfriendly glucose batteries Although the functioning of an electricity-generating biofuel cell was verified as far back as the 1960s, these devices have not been used in practical applications. In her doctoral research, M.Sc. Saara Tuurala managed to develop thin and bendable biofuel cells, which can be manufactured by printing on paper. Carbon-based enzymatic inks were developed, and printing trials conducted both in a laboratory and using a pilotscale rotary screen printer. The samples were assembled into biofuel cells, which use glucose as fuel. The performance and stability of the biofuel cells was tested using electrochemical methods. The thesis demonstrated that it is possible to mass-manufacture renewable and non-toxic biobatteries. Biobatteries could be safely integrated with throw-away consumer products. The output of the manufactured glucose 46 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

batteries is sufficient to supply power to low-power sensors, RFID tags and skinstimulating patches. Power output can be increased by optimizing the carbon ink and the manufacturing process. Saara Tuurala 19.5.2017: Printed enzymatic glucose/air batteries: performance, stability and massmanufacturing. School of Chemical Engineering.

Innovating business in resource-scarce markets The doctoral thesis of M.Soc.Sc., M.Sc. (Econ.) Paula Linna examined how entrepreneurs create profitable businesses through innovation in resourcescarce markets. Linna analysed the innovation methods and business strategies of eleven East African companies operating in the mobile and energy sectors. In the resource-scarce markets of the developing countries (BOP, Base of the Pyramid), it is essential to create innovations, which are based on actual needs and are cost-efficient and easy to use. Innovation calls for creativity; for example product development resembles “trial-and-error” and takes place at the customer’s premises instead of laboratories. Innovation may be based on a desire to develop solutions related to problems of poverty as well as daily challenges. The local entrepreneur-innovators have skills to act in resource-scarce markets; one, for example, utilizes old car engines in wind-turbines. Local companies are familiar with the market context, whereas Western firms need to establish partnerships with NGOs to gain an understanding of market needs. Paula Linna 2.6.2017: Innovating by “making do with what is at hand”: Creating opportunities in low-income markets. School of Business.

Solar energy storage in the ground A major part of Finland’s total energy consumption is consumed in buildings. In net-zero buildings, solar energy is often used as a local energy source. However, solar energy is intermittent and power generation capacity often does not match demand. In his doctoral work, M.Sc. Janne Hirvonen studied local and renewable energy utilization in residential buildings through shared energy generation and storage. The use of solar panels and underground seasonal thermal storage allows

solar energy to be used also in wintertime during demand peaks. Community-scale solar energy systems lower the unit price of a system and decrease relative peak demand. Multi-objective optimization methods can be used to design shared and economical community-scale energy systems. A novel optimization method developed by Hirvonen is based on artificial neural networks and reduces the need for time-consuming simulation. It is time to shift to developing zero-energy communities, which can benefit from the best features of both distributed and centralized energy systems. Janne Hirvonen 2.6.2017: Towards zero-energy communities: Increasing local and renewable energy utilization in buildings through shared energy generation and storage. School of Engineering.

Children’s greater neural agility in learning spoken words Spoken words have a special significance in human auditory processing. Children learn new languages faster than adults because, during childhood, the processing of sounds and sound systems is not yet restricted to the traditional left-hemispheric regions of the cortical language network. The doctoral research of MA (Psych.) Anni Nora managed, for the first time, to reconstruct speech with high temporal precision by magnetoencephalography (MEG), i.e. by measuring cortical activation from the surface of the head. Nora measured the cortical activity related to processing spoken words and learning new ones, and studied the differences between children and adults to learn language. By using machine learning methods to compare spoken words and environmental sounds, it was found that speech is processed in the auditory cortex in a special time-locked manner. The results highlight the abilities of the human brain to learn spoken words and to specialize and adapt to the linguistic environment. The findings have valuable implications for the study of developmental disorders in language learning. Anni Nora 21.6.2017: Cortical sequence for processing and learning spoken word forms. School of Science.

Doctoral theses online: aaltodoc.aalto.fi, shop.aalto.fi

Space invader

As a small boy, Antti Kestilä built space rockets out of lego blocks and dreamt of conquering the great unknown. Instead of an astronaut, the lad grew up to earn a doctorate in space technology and become the mission planner of Finland’s first space mission. Text Marjukka Puolakka Photo Veera Konsti ANTTI KESTILÄ’S study path towards his dream

job began at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. “Studying in the space engineering programme was unforgettable, but tough. Weaker-performing students would be axed during the first years and you really had to work hard,” he recalls. Kestilä made the most out his education and completed 30 extra credits on top of his Master’s degree requirements. When he came to Aalto as a postgraduate student in 2009, he brought with him a lot of knowledge from Delft in addition to an ambitious idea. “The Delfi-C3 nanosatellite was launched into space in 2008, and I started talking about researching miniaturised satellites within the framework of an actual space mission with my Aalto colleagues. The idea gradually began to grow wings.” The rest is now Finnish space exploration history. The first Aalto-1 course commenced under the leadership of Professor Martti Hallikainen in summer 2010 with Antti Kestilä and Jaan Praks as teachers. The process to design Finland’s first satellite began in this same conjunction.

satellites. He cooperated with the University of Helsinki inorganic chemistry laboratory to develop structures and objects that merge atomic layer deposition and 3D printing. “We developed a surfacing method in which a new kind of protective coating that can endure challenging conditions is grown on top of the plastic components atom by atom. The results are promising.”

Space mission and house tracks share a beat

The Aalto-1 space mission commenced on Midsummer’s Eve 2017. Its little brother Aalto-2 was launched It can take decades to build large satellites that weigh in May, and another Aalto University construct, up to thousands of kilos and the costs may run into the one-kilo Finland100 satellite, is set to be fired into the billions. Kestilä wanted to study how space missions space towards the end of the year. Finland is now very could be speeded up by employing nanosatellites, which much a space-exploring nation. weigh less than ten kilos. The Aalto-1 satellite project “A valuable lesson I learned from my doctoral work provided an excellent opportunity to research this was how significant human dynamics are to a large question. project. Motivating the team and getting jobs done well “Nanosatellites are especially useful if they can be and on time is at least as important as good coding and employed in large swarms, i.e. in so-called constellagetting all the screws in the right place.” tions. I calculated optimised orbits from which The lego blocks Kestilä played around with as a child nanosatellites could jointly make a rapid survey of have been replaced by two 3D printers in his home. the Earth’s poles.” “I like to build stuff and play around with technology.” Almost 100 students took part in designing and During his free time, the scientist likes to head for building the Aalto-1 satellite. Finnish universities and the jogging track or a house music club. research institutions built three payloads for the sat“Dancing as part of a larger group resembles taking ellite. Kestilä shouldered the responsibility for steerpart in a major work project: you shuffle together in ing these activities towards a common goal. Alongside pursuit of a shared goal.” these duties, he also helped launch two spin-off projects, which evolved in conjunction with Aalto-1 and Antti Kestilä 9.6.2017: Aalto-2: ICEYE as well as the Reactor Space Lab. Rapid Space Mission Design, Kestilä’s doctoral thesis also studied the possibilities Realization and ­Deployment. 3D printing offers for the manufacture of miniaturised School of Electrical Engineering.

Rapid space missions


Research manager Jukka Tuomi has at least three faces. Two of them were created with a 3D printer. 48 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

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

Jukka Tuomi,

what have you printed for yourself? Aalto University’s 3D printing research manager does not want to make unnecessary junk. Text Paula Haikarainen Photo Jaakko Kahilaniemi You are the first Finn in history to have his face printed in 3D. What was this for? The case involved medical need. I served as a model in 2013, when preparations for the first Finnish facial transplant operation were being made. Photographs were taken of different segments of my face and these were then reconstructed into a 3D model, which was printed using composite plaster in a few hours. 3D printing is also referred to as rapid manufacturing, but that actually sounds pretty slow. The pace depends on the quality of the printer and on how many pieces are being made simultaneously. When manufacture takes place layer by layer, it is possible to add about one centimetre of material each hour. This is of course quite slow if you are comparing with traditional mass production techniques. Do you have a 3D printer at home? No, and I haven’t even considered getting one. Some people think that 3D printers could be useful at home. You might use them to make spare parts and other utensils, for example. I’m of a school of thought that does not believe in this. Furthermore, desktop printers meant for home users that cost less than €5 000 often produce objects of poor quality. The ability to print some lump of mass yourself as a hobby can be fun. And also pretty effortless, when you don’t have to think about the necessary tools and methods like drilling and turning. You just enter an electronic model file into the 3D printer, and it will print an object of more or less the same appearance. This type of hobby is educational, provides experience and connects the virtual world with the physical realm. And there are no drawbacks, unless you count possibly consuming non-renewable natural resources to make objects, which may

never be used. I myself have many items like that in my office and with me in my briefcase. They are demonstrations of what is possible. Have you not printed anything for use at home? I did seriously consider doing it once, when a sprocket broke in my food processor. There would have been printers at work, but I decided to be more reasonable and popped into the shop for a spare part. I bought the €15 plastic part off t he shelf. Had I opted to use a 3D printer, the price would have been at least ten times higher, and there would have been no guarantee of durability. But I do have one printed item in use. It is attached to my golf bag and I use it to hang my towel on. The clip in question is quite well made. There might also be some 3D printed parts in my car. It is also possible that many of us are using industrially printed products without knowing about them. The world’s first 3D printer was sold in 1988 and they have been used in industry ever since then. What’s the dumbest, most useless 3D object? I’ve seen a fipple flute that was 3D printed so poorly that no factory in any part of the world would manufacture such a thing. I’m amazed to see even quite prestigious media outlets speculate about the printing of, for example, Stradi­ varius violins. The idea that you could make anything like that by printing is just bonkers. It might very well be the height of hype. And what about the most dangerous application? I’ve heard of people printing plastic anti-slip footwear attachments. These should not be made at home, and certainly not from plastic. And a 3D printed

gun can be extremely dangerous – to its user as well. These days plastic is the primary raw material for printing. When will users get their hands on harder materials? It is a misconception that only plastic is used in printing. This is true for home printers, but metals are already used to a substantial degree in industry. Aircraft components, for example, can be made with 3D printers and medical equipment is made from titanium. But this is only complementing older manufacturing methods, not replacing them. Will we be printing food any time soon? We do have a current research project studying this question. The “meat of the matter” involves the ability to precisely tailor nutritional contents and values. It might, for example, be desirable to supply people, who have special dietary needs, with vending machines that offer tailor-made meals. What’s the best thing you can do with this method? In the field of medicine, we’ve been able to provide assistance to physicians caring for patients. For example, we supplied a children’s hospital with model spines to facilitate the planning of treatment for a difficult case of scoliosis. The first titanium implant given to a Finnish patient was also designed by an Aalto research group. The orbital floor implant in question was manufactured as a thesis work project. Generally speaking, we’ve managed to develop treatment processes in cooperation with physicians, but we also help companies make ever better and more competitive products.


Master’s application 15 Dec 2017 – 24 Jan 2018 aalto.fi/studies

Become a game changer


Innovation Award for Women to Hele Savin

Professor Hele Savin was awarded the first Innovation Award for Women. Maria Lohela, the Speaker of Finland’s Parliament, granted the award in June. Professor Savin is the leader of the Electron Physics research group at the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering. She has developed an applied nanotechnology method for producing high-capacity solar cells with the help of “black silicon” that employs nanostructures. The technology lowers the production costs of solar cells and improves their efficiency, making the production of solar power more efficient, particularly in the north. The same innovation could also be used to reduce the radiation dose of patients in medical imaging, and in several space and security applications. The award commemorates the Finnish anniversary of universal and equal suffrage on 1 June. The award is worth €110 000 and it will be handed out in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The award is granted to a woman or a group of women for a scientifically significant innovation in the field of technology or economics.

Young researcher prize to Yu Xiao

The Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion awarded a €15 000 young researcher prize to Aalto University Assistant Professor Yu Xiao in June. Yu Xiao (b. 1983) came to Finland from her native China in 2007 to earn a doctorate, and she graduated as a Doctor of Science from Aalto University in 2012. She is currently an assistant professor at the University’s Department of Communications and Networking. Xiao is developing a visual indoor mapping application for smartphones. Last year, Xiao received Tekes funding for commercialising her research, and she recently founded a startup called VimAI around the application.

Pekka Heikkinen named Espoo Ambassador

In August, Head of the Department of Architecture, Professor Pekka Heikkinen from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture was named Espoo Ambassador for 2017. The Ambassador promotes the conference services of Espoo. Heikkinen is an internationally recognised expert in wood architecture and an active contributor to the research groups and organisations of his field. He was the main organiser of last year’s international Forum Wood Building Nordic 2016 event in Otaniemi. The conference is the annual main event for wood construction specialists in the Nordic countries, and Espoo has applied to host it again in 2019. The City of Espoo is an important cooperation partner for the Department of Architecture. “We’ve provided expert assistance and served on working groups, contributed urban structure ideas, drafted alternative plans for new residential areas as well as helped develop early education facilities and activities. One good example is the Nuumäki daycare centre in the Lähderanta neighbourhood of Espoo. It is the pilot project for a scheme to promote industrial wood construction which I’m in charge of,” says Heikkinen. The conference ambassador is chosen annually by the City of Espoo together with Visit Espoo.

Green Core’s light installation shifted in tune to the time of day.

The Flow festival audience really took to the Kokoon house. This wood structure was designed by architecture students, who started with the idea of providing easy-to-build and reasonably priced housing for migrants.


game changers and the evolution of working life space research heavy metal studies ‌and plenty more.


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