Development of software and smart seat with built-in sensors for comfort and safety

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Automobile and safety have been one of the main fields of work for EII. During last year, we were focussing on a project aiming to improve comfort and safety of a car seat. We are now excited to lift the veil from work done. The concept takes something as simple as a seat and tailors it to the need of today’s connected word – adding auto adjusting comfort functions and safety dimension, with sensors detecting sudden illness, drowsiness, fatigue.

Imagine, sitting in the car where your seat takes a perfect shape for you, detects and gives notice when you are not in the condition to drive and alarms respective authorities in the case of sudden illness. Until our cars are not fully autonomous, keeping drivers comfortable, alert and safe is extremely important. And at the end of the day, comfort and safety are also needed in the passenger seat.

The solution was developed in cooperation with partners from Japan, Italy and Estonia. It consists of the application software and connected seat. The test seat has built-in position feedback sensors, position motors and sensor matrixes. The application software provides a graphical user interface for viewing parameters of seat mounted pressure sensors and interacting with the seat controller.

SmartSeat electronics

As mentioned, there are two main aims: safety and comfort. The main purpose of the comfort function is to auto-adaptively adjust the car seat to the position ensuring correct posture and safe driving position before the drive. The seat is divided into pressure zones. Auto adjustment of the seat is carried out to the position where the load that driver’s body is applying to the seat is distributed according to the ideal pressure.

SamrtSeat pressure zones

The main purpose of the safety function is to estimate several safety-related parameters and to visualise them. Tabs are showing the graphs of heart and respiratory rate, and signal quality, current regularity parameters of heart activity for sudden illness detection and spectral indices indicating alertness of the driver. Fatigue tab shows the shift of the centre of mass during the driving session. The function uses four extra data channels located on the back side of the sensor matrix of the seat cushion.

Testing period showed good results in terms of heart rate detection against PPG. The main emphasis was on developing the signal processing algorithms in order to extract heart activity from the pressure oscillation signal. Prototype algorithms of sudden illness and drowsiness detection were developed.

In order to implement driver drowsiness and sudden illness detection, heart activity has to be detected by the sensors integrated into the seat. Pressure oscillation signal obtained from the smart rubber sensors is first ‘cleaned’ with the help of complex digital signal processing techniques to extract heart rate signal.

The project has significantly deepened EII knowledge of low-noise analog electronic system design and given even better know-how of signal processing.  Gained experience could be used in measuring applications where low amplitude signals must be detected in the noisy environment.

At this point, we are talking about your car seat, but the potential use is much wider – starting with driver seats of commercial vehicles and child safety seats to office chairs, and why not monitoring you in doctor’s chair. As this solution potentially does not need any straps or belts, only you to sit down, monitoring ones safety and well-being is much more comfortable and with less hassle.

Would like to hear more details? Contact us here.

Truck-Safe hits the roads

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EII has been a part of many projects aiming to make us and the surrounding world safer. Reducing injury risks by providing real-time biomechanical feedback or detecting leaks in water mains with wireless sensors, being only a couple of the examples. Today we have a great reason to talk about project Truck-Safe.

It was not long ago when the prototype of this fully automatic and remotely controlled cargo securing system was on the table of our engineers. For refreshing your memory – Truck-Safe offers a secure and adaptive system that can be used with loads of different shapes and weights. It has many useful features, and more details can be found here. But one of the essential benefits is its ability to save considerable time. The cargo securing operation is done fully automatically and only in few minutes.

The system continuously supervises the lashing forces and re-tensions it when needed. In the case of sudden loss of tension, whether on move or standing, it alarms you. It also eliminates the need to open the sides of the trailer and the need to collect and store all ratchet tensioners and straps after unloading. Less hassle and more peace of mind for the truck owner and hauliers. And safer roads! Truck-Safe contribution to road safety was awarded a bronze medal in safety category of Trailer Innovation 2015 contest at the commercial vehicle show IAA in Hanover, Germany.

Now, the project coordinator NWE Network Engineering has been able to bring the first trailers using the system on the roads. As often with new technologies, they are used initially in niche applications. The current systems on the street are used to transport securely wood products on short trips, e.g. between the factory and the harbour on public roads. The systems are currently installed in trailers with openable side and roof. This requires the system to be tensioning on one side only and the opening side has fixed connections to the fabric. During 2017 two systems will be installed in combination with moving floor solutions in loading the cargo. With short distances between loading and unloading locations, the economic aspects in time savings become dominant and the payback time for a system becomes feasible.

The prototype has gone through some technical modifications to stand up for the harsh use up in the north. Instead of using winches and ropes, the latest systems use pneumatic tensioners. Allowing for a simpler and more rugged system with build in redundancies. It will be just a question of time until word of mouth will spread southwards towards central Europe and other profitable applications will be identified by clever logistics providers, allowing for great competitive advantages.

Future tends to push humans off from the driver seat. Autonomous cars should not be unfamiliar. Same developments can be seen with commercial vehicles, buses and trucks. Freightliner and Otto being just a couple of the examples in this field. Huge investments are made and sort of disruption race is happening between Europe and US trucking giants.

There are many aspects we still have to figure out before trucks can make it on their own. Safe and trustworthy cargo securing that can operate automatically is definitely one of them. How else can you make sure that the cargo load is secured, if the driver is out of the driver’s seat or even has left the truck completely? Truck-Safe system has huge potential to contribute to the safe and convenient self-driving future.

Ask for more information here.

Truck-Safe Truck

EII joins Open Connectivity Foundation

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Internet of Things(IoT) is at the point where chaos is not taking us any further. There is a need for standards and finding the common language. EII has joined Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) to support this approach.

The OCF  mission is to develop standards for devices involved in the IoT. The initiative is defining the specification, certification, and branding to deliver reliable interoperability — a connectivity framework that abstracts complexity.

More can be found here.

12 Years of Eesti Innovatsiooni Instituut

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Celebrating 12 years of anniversaryOn this day, 12 years ago, Eesti Innovatsiooni Instituut was launched. It has been an exciting journey since 2005. Over the years we’ve worked with more than hundred companies around the world. Our days have been full of inspiring work – finding solutions, overcoming challenges and creating new products.

We have learned a lot and will keep up the hard work, staying on top of the game in electronics development.

Thank you for being a part of our journey, and we look forward to many more years of working together!


EII Season’s Greetings

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At the close of another year, we gratefully pause to wish you a warm and happy Holiday Season!
And thank you for being with us!
Sincerely Yours
EIIEII Chistmas Greetings

EII going to SLUSH 2016

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Over 15,000 tech heads – promising start-ups and investors are gathering to Europe’s leading startup event in Helsinki from 29.11 to 1.12 . SLUSH 2016 is aiming to help the next generation of great, world-conquering companies forward.

So are we! By offering our knowledge and expertise in engineering and product development to empower great ideas.

If you would like to meet EII at SLUSH, please get in touch!

See you there!


Partnership with Momenta

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We are delighted to announce our cooperation with Momenta Partners. This valuable partnership is combining practical solutions and product development skills of EII with Momenta Partners’ knowledge of connected industry ecosystem.

Momenta Partners activate and accelerate IoT companies through integrated advisory, executive search and ventures practices. EII has over a decade of experience in creating new solutions, products, and technologies. By sharing our capabilities and knowledge we provide customers a good competitive advantage and the opportunity to take the most out of what IoT has to offer from both sides.

„We are pleased to have such a deep technical and industry talent pools in our Connected Industry ecosystem and continue to expand it with complementary offerings to both drive growth, and provide valuable resources, for our portfolio companies, clients, and partners” said Ken Forster Managing Director of Momenta Partners.

See Momenta Partners’ press release here and learn more about them on the website here.

For more information about the opportunities please contact us.


Introducing Our New Logo

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In September, we announced the full independence of Eesti Innovatsiooni Instituut (EII). Following that, we are pleased to introduce our new logo that reflects the core values in EII. Daily work in our office is dealing with complex technical challenges, but these are underpinned by simple and straightforward values that reflect our attitude.

Those values are brought out in the new logo. After careful consideration, we chose a new logo that represents and captures our future direction, while simultaneously acknowledging the maturity, functionality, and diversity of EII. The choice of colours was intentional: blue, as the fundamental colour, emphasises professionalism, dedication and reliability. We are ready to take control and act in challenging times with determination. Orange on top of that underlines the approachability, boldness and enthusiasm. It is the ongoing stimulation of new ideas and importance of two-way communication we keep in honour.

If you have used the Eesti Innovatsiooni Instituut (EII) logo in any of your marketing materials, we would appreciate it if you update it. All the necessary files can be provided via e-mail.

We thank you for being a partner with us, and hope you will join us as we continue to evolve. We look forward to all that we will achieve and make possible together.

Your EII

Events in September and October

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Last week EII took part in ICT conference Security Day in Tallinn dissecting the essence of digital enterprise and Nordic Digital Business Summit in Helsinki.

October brings more interesting events, including  IOT Solutions World Congress 2016 held in Barcelona 25-27 October. Exciting speakers, exhibition, IoT Solutions awards, testbeds and above all – great networking opportunities. EII cooperation profile has been set up for the Brokerage Event and is opened for meeting requests. See you in Barcelona!


Wearables – What is Happening?

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Wearables might be the best characteristic example of IoT devices, enabling the interaction between humans and gadgets and blending of embedded sensors, software, and connectivity towards supporting automated data exchange. Wearables, especially smart watches and devices for fitness monitoring, are the main interface with IoT for consumers. Companies that have focused on mechanical manufacturing are embracing software platforms and shifting their focus to high-tech to keep up with the competition.

Both non-consumer and consumer markets are rapidly evolving, but the latter has definitely been growing more significantly, at least, until now. While 2015 saw the explosion of wearables worldwide, in 2016 there are some signs of customer hesitation and uneven development. Basic wearables are growing steadily, while smart wearables have stalled somewhat, with some exceptions like China. Growing expectations and issues regarding accuracy and security need to be solved, while the IoT convergence of added-value and user-centric approach deepens.

Stretching the future

Stretchable electronics is one of the revolutionary developments currently taking place. A team of Swiss researchers at EPFL has helped to make better wearables and robotics with stretchy circuits – a liquid-metal electronics that can be stretched up to four times and can be cycled nearly million times without losing its original shape. There are promising developments for the future of electronics integration into fabrics, biological sensors and many other uses. And moving even further on, the next big platform of wearables might be the one that all of us are already wearing – our skin!

But none of the previous can happen without new developments in power supplies. Supercapacitors are one way to power wearable electronics. They have a higher power density and longer life cycle than standard capacitors or batteries and a now a stretchy micro-supercapacitor using a ribbon of graphene has been produced in Singapore Nanyang Technological University. Another study provided wearable thermoelectric generators for human body heat harvesting, meaning moving closer to reality of health monitoring devices that do not rely on batteries at all.

Health and Medical niche markets

Scientists at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo have tested the accuracy of twelve of the most popular fitness trackers. All the metrics had some variations and room for improvement. But then again, unless your health is dependent on fitness tracker, the small lack of accuracy should not be a game stopper. Less discussed, but more troubling on the other hand, is the security concerns, as those devices collecting and storing a lot of sensitive and personal data.

With the continued rise of multi-purpose devices like smart watches, fitness trackers struggle to find their niche. It is about time to improve their performance and get more detailed metrics and innovate to differentiate – do something that smartwatches cannot. That moves us away from the mass market, and more to niche products. Lately we have seen more professional athletes adopting the possibilities of the wearables. Software developers and product designers can now claim at least a piece of the medals won.

img638 400_webPrevention of several health issues also benefit from developments in the wearables industry. EII has been giving its input developingwearable wireless kit for the detection and monitoring of ischemic conditions and getting real-time biomechanical feedback to reduce injury risks during running, among other projects. Adding experience in business development for hazard-sensing, network connected garments for industrial safety-critical environments opens totally new set of opportunities in wearables sector. Patients suffering from dizziness and vertigo can get help from Enty, a device developed by students at the University Politehnica of Bucharest to detect inner-ear conditions. And there are a bunch of great examples of wearables improving the lives of disabled people – like gloves translating sign language or early detection of pressure ulcer risk for wheelchair users.


Healthcare is coming to our daily lives and helps to get timely feedback with less hassle. Even the most common and feared medical test – drawing blood, can probably see a revolution soon with vein scanner and robots and small things like bandages can make you aware if there is a case of infection. And there is every reason to believe that we are only touching the surface here…

Customer engagement in IoT

There are not many industries that have not been touched by the explosion of wearables. The construction industry has smart helmets increasing workplace security and operation efficiency, the fashion industry is becoming an increasingly important player in wearables, the list goes on and on. But the devices are all connected.

The value of wearables does not lie in the devices itself, but in the ecosystem of IoT in which they are functioning. The associated value is providing the biggest benefits for the manufactures – connected devices and service help to boost the sales. Therefore, wearable devices are only part of the business model for most of the big players in this field. The true value of smart devices lies in the collected data. Forrester, among others, has even proposed IoT to redefine the brand engagement.

After a big success, the wearables market has shown more modest growth this year. All the early adopters have grabbed their devices and hesitators are still not convinced to let continued tracking into their lives. The nature of being “always on” is something that might turn the consumers off. The struggle of convincing sceptics and providing continued improvement for both hardware and software is ongoing. IoT is giving great opportunities for customer engagement that cannot be ignored. Predicting and responding to consumers’ unspoken needs is getting more real than ever now, but with larger loads of data, comes more complicated decision-making and even bigger responsibilities.

EII – a Fully Independent Engineering Firm

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It is with great pleasure that we announce Eesti Innovatsiooni Instituut has now become a fully independent engineering firm.

We have gathered valuable experience and created a considerable network during the last ten years of being part of Pera Technology. Independent operations now give us more flexibility for using our gathered know-how, and focusing on a more personal approach to provide even higher quality of work for our customers.

In case of any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Rise of Robotics and Sensing the Future

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More and more technologies are at the point now where their cost and reliability make sense for industrial applications. This has been led by the rise of smart factories in the manufacturing industry. But several industries are quickly adopting IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) technologies – transportation and healthcare being just a few of the examples.

Robotics is a big part of the IIoT picture. Automotive, electrical, and electronics industries with the growing concept of Industry 4.0 are the key for the growth of the smart machines market. The need to monitor and evaluate real-time data and the process of streamlining the manufacturing set-up process has increased investments in smart machines with artificial intelligence technology, as highlighted by Technavio’s Global Smart Robots Market research.

Worldwide sales of industrial robots have risen 12% compared to 2015 and the robotics industry in North-America is thriving as the orders hit a record in the first half of 2016. Companies begin to understand the benefits of automatization more clearly, but within the global market sales are still being driven by already highly automated and economically developed countries. In Europe the total sales figures for industrial robots in 2015 rose by ten percent to 50,000 units compared to the previous year – with the lead of Germany, Italy and Spain.

To get the most out of new technologies companies, we will need to get ready for a transformation now. The President of the International Federation of Robotics sees the wave of machines, logistics and production plants merging into integrated cyber-physical systems driving the robotics boom forward until 2018 – that means it is the last chance to get on board.

Sensors, together with the ability to store information about the series of processes and machine conditions give smart machines the power to prevent processing errors. Their use and abilities have been growing widely –public safety and clinical research being just a few of the recent examples.

The field is wide and full of potential. EII work with autonomous wireless sensors for leak detection, and unobtrusive sensors in the car seat and in seat belt, detecting heart rate and breathing activity giving fast signals trough processing unit, are just a few more examples.

Among all the newsfeed regarding sensors development, we now see conventional industrial sensors challenged by Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensors that can detect the tiniest physical variables. They are small, smart, energy efficient, and economical – but not yet not yet powerful enough for the demands of an industrial environment.

AMELI 4.0 research lead by Bosch, in partnership with other European companies, plans to further develop a MEMS sensor platform that makes sensors suitable for industrial applications by monitoring machines and detecting deviations from normal operating status immediately.

Sensing the surroundings cannot be underestimated. The better understanding of the operational environment smart machines have, the more efficient they get. We have experienced engineers in EII, who can design, build, install and maintain custom-made equipment for your manufacturing plant and train your personnel to operate the equipment efficiently and safely.

We keep our finger on the pulse of new discoveries in the industry and working continuously to give our contribution. You will be posted! And if any ideas pop up that are in the need of a practical outcome, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Advocate sensor board - sm

Challenges of IIoT

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Industry 4.0 and IIoT (Industrial Internet of things) are the primary trends affecting industrial businesses today. However, these are much more than just flashy catchphrases. IIoT is considered to be the path for future success – most of the industries leaders do have a common understanding here.

Over 170 manufacturing decision makers around the globe were recently gathered by Genpact Research Institute and IndustryWeek to get some real insight about transformation in industrial business with IoT – adaption, challenges, and potential. Adopting any new technology and getting it accepted widely means getting the clear return on investment examples from peers and competitors. Few companies have fully implemented IIoT and most of the more practical applications have not yet been developed.

Research confirms that the top challenge of IIoT remains to be data security. But it also comes out that followers are dealing with legacy system challenges, insufficient IT staff skills and an inability to experiment with new technology. Solid expertise is something which cannot be underestimated while adopting any new technology or approach. Whether it is integrating existing solutions with IIoT or new ideas that need a practical and working solution – if necessary competences are missing in-house, outside expertise might be the best way to get you going.


EII can assist you with:
New product, technology and process development
Modelling and simulation
Designing and building prototypes
Industrial automation
Project management

BSI ISO 9001:2008 certification

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EII has ISO 9001:2008 certification and audited by BSI. EII operates a Quality Management System which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008 for the following scope:

The marketing, sales and delivery of new product and service development and delivery from concept through product design realisation to pre-commercial supply through, multi disciplinary technology projects.