Automating Cyber-Physical Systems while enjoying my summer at VTT

Blog post
A closeup photo of an electronic circuit board.

Cyber-Physical Systems are identified as a major technology trend, as it will bring advancements in personalized health care, emergency response, electric power generation and delivery, and many other areas. At VTT, we are automating cyber-physical systems to perform condition monitoring.

The beginning of my traineeship − How everything started?

It was a cold winter night in The Hague, Netherlands, when I sat down on my table, made myself ginger green-tea and started looking for opportunities to work for the summer. As I was researching, VTT caught my eye in the process, and I saw an open position for a Research Trainee in the Operation and Maintenance Team. I was interested and started reading the description. Cyber-physical system, a word that was intimidating for me at first as it seemed complex to me. When I looked it up, it merely described a physical system which can be controlled by computer algorithms. This was precisely what I needed. A summer job that will get me out of my comfort zone and give me a platform to apply my university knowledge and solve real-world problems.

Cyber-Physical Systems at VTT

The use of cyber-physical systems is being considered an important and critical contributing factor in the development of a modern society that will improve the quality of life for citizens around the world. Cyber-physical infrastructure helps us interact with many complex systems every day, controlled by computers, through a touchscreen. At VTT, we are developing a toolbox that can perform data analytics and use Cyber-Physical Systems to support maintenance and condition monitoring on physical systems.

The toolbox will allow us to predict performance degradation and failures in physical systems at an early stage that might take place in the near future. We are automating the diagnosis and prognosis procedures that will keep us informed on machine health continuously in real-time. If there are any complications, they can be solved before they become severe and cause catastrophic damage to the system. Besides, VTT is applying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms to make the systems smarter.

VTT and I Had a Blast!

My experience at VTT has been great. I was intimidated by the job at first, as I didn’t know what to expect. As time passed, my seniors guided me and were always there for me when I needed any assistance. Every day, I got to learn a new concept and got out of my comfort zone to explore new and different ideas. Due to the unfortunate spread of COVID-19, I have been working remotely. I wish to work at the office someday when the situation is better. Till then, I go to coffee shops around the city and change my work environment to keep myself productive. 

Whenever I finish a sub-task, I get excited and start to jump around because I solve a real-world problem and it makes me super excited! I love to interact with my seniors and get insightful ideas from them. They are such brilliant minds, and it’s an honour working among them. This has positively impacted my growth and character. As a summer trainee, I am asked to give my feedback on the project we are working on, and this makes feel valued and appreciated. It motivates me to work even harder.  VTT is a great place to make a difference as you collaborate with other brilliant minds and create an impact that generates sustainable growth and wellbeing in society as well as in the industry.

The author is a third-year student of Computer Science and Engineering at Delft University of Technology. He is a Research Trainee in the Operation and Maintenance Team, working on automating Cyber-Physical Systems here at VTT.