The possibilities, limitations and consequences of rapidly developing information technology, electronics and wireless communications as well as new solutions in these fields were the subject of intensive research and experimentation in the 1990s. VTT celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its establishment in the midst of deep economic recession. Nonetheless, research work was actively conducted throughout the 1990s.
EMFi electromechanical film for sensors and acoustic applications
VTT was involved in the development of the EMFi electromechanical film, which offered new kinds of solutions for the development of sensors and active acoustic elements.
VTT involved in space research
VTT was also active internationally, for instance, in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) scientific space programme. The SOHO space craft (photo) designed and built to explore the solar system was part of the programme. VTT took part in the construction of the space craft’s research instruments as well as the equipment used to test the structures of the space craft itself.
Biotechnology becomes a growth field
Biotechnology rose to become a new and very promising growth field. Among other topics, VTT Biotechnology and Food Research studied the continuous fermentation of beer based on immobilised yeast. The aim was to speed up the beer production process.
New organisation - nine research units
On 1st January 1994 VTT’s organisation was restructured and the four divisions and the 39 laboratories within them were replaced by nine independently accountable research institutes: VTT Electronics, VTT Information Technology, VTT Automation, VTT Chemical Technology, VTT Biotechnology and Food Research, VTT Energy, VTT Manufacturing Technology, VTT Building Technology and VTT Communities and Infrastructure.
Virtual modelling to support product development
The application of information technology in manufacturing and production opened up new opportunities. In 1996 VTT began virtual prototyping, which involved digital computer models being used to support product development. The modelling not only enabled product development to be accelerated but also cut costs. Different kinds of wireless applications for the mobile user dominated the field. At the end of the Millennium, VTT also completed a research and development system for WAP (Wireless Applications Protocol), which made it possible to test and develop new services intended for the mobile user.
Erkki KM Leppävuori appointed Director General
On 8th October 1999 the President of the Republic appointed Professor Erkki KM Leppävuori as the new Director General of VTT. Prior to his appointment Professor Leppävuori worked for VTT as a senior research scientist, research professor and laboratory head.