The UPC, at the Smart City Expo World Congress 2021

The UPC at the Smart City Expo World Congress 2021
November 12, 2021
December 1, 2021


The UPC, through CIT UPC, presented its technological capabilities and the latest projects developed by the University’s groups and research centres at Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) 2021, which took place from 16 to 18 November.

In the 2021 edition, technological capabilities were presented in the areas of enabling technologies, energy and the environment, the urban environment, life and inclusion, the economy, infrastructure and buildings, and security and protection. In addition, several prototypes were presented: a sensor device that monitors human gait, system for smart ventilation and detection of the level of purification of indoor air, and a CargoBike with software developed as part of the SmartHubs project.

CIT UPC stand at the Smart City Expo World Congress

The sensor device that monitors human gait, which was created by the Communication Circuits and Systems Research Group (CIRCUIT), is incorporated into shoes in a way that is as non-invasive as possible. It records gait pattern over a period of time or continuously based on acceleration information. The pattern that is obtained represents a gait signature that is unique for each individual. This information can be sent to a doctor, if necessary, who can detect potential imbalances between one leg and the other (to correct them with a prosthesis, for example) or potential present and future pathologies (flat feet, joint inflammation, osteoarthritis, etc.). The project, developed in collaboration with the Althaia foundation, was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

The system for smart ventilation and detection of the level of purification of indoor air was designed by the research group Bioinformatics and Biomedical Signals Laboratory (B2SLab) of the Research Centre for Biomedical Engineering (CREB) and the company AMPER S&C IoT. It can be used to define new indoor air quality metrics, to identify the right time and way to ventilate. Ideally, spaces should be ventilated naturally, so that fresh air from outside can mix with indoor air. The system that has been developed takes into account CO2 measures of indoor and outside air quality, the number of suspended particles and the concentration of volatile compounds. The applications of the system are highly diverse, especially in rooms with a high density of people, such as schools or care centres. This design is part of the VIDA project and has an Innotec-2020 grant from the Government of Catalonia’s ACCIÓ agency.

In response to the need to reduce the use of single-occupancy vehicles, to fight against the climate emergency, a pilot test has been launched in the Mira-Sol Centre complex (in Sant Cugat del Vallès), to promote intermodality between bicycles and trains in a strategic point of the city, located next to the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (Railways of Catalonia, FGC) station. In the pilot test, called Hub Sant Cugat and carried out in the context of the European project SmartHubs, a space will be opened with a Bicibox service (safe parking for bicycles). The space will have 24 parking spaces and the first Bicibox space for shared cargo tricycles (that can be requested on loan for last-mile delivery of goods). In addition, 12 lockers with plugs for charging bicycle batteries will be installed, a repair bench and a pump. This space also includes a cargo bike, that is, a bicycle with a container for transporting shopping.

This is a project that involves the participation of CARNET, Sant Cugat City Council, Barcelona Metropolitan Area (BMA) and the FGC, with the support of EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) in which CIT UPC and the UPC are involved. 

On 17 November, the CIT UPC organized the day “UPC’s innovative projects to improve citizen’s lives”, on its stand in the fair. Projects were presented in areas such as health and care for the elderly, industry 4.0, mobility and sustainability of cities, from the perspective of the circular economy or advanced materials.

Participants in the day included various UPC researchers. Elisabet Roca, from the Laboratory of Social Studies of Civil Engineering (LESEC), presented the European project DIGNITY, DIGital traNsport In and for socieTY; Vicenç Puig, from the research centre in Monitoring, Safety and Automatic Control (CS2AC), explained the project SECUTIL: Security of Cyberphysical Systems from an Automatic Control Perspective; Xavier Moncunill and Arnau Arumi, from the research group in Communication Circuits and Systems Research Group (CIRCUIT), presented a sensor device for monitoring human gait; Francesc Pardo, from the Group of Construction Research and Innovation (GRIC), spoke about sustainable strategies for deploying smart city solutions: case study in San Sebastian; Inés Aquilué from CARNET/UPC and Mariona Conill, from the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (BMA), explained the Smarthubs project in detail; Xavier Álvarez del Castillo, from the Centre for Advanced Technologies in Mechanics (CATMech), introduced the project Bio-Road. A sustainable road through the Colombian Andes; Jordi Fonollosa, from the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB), explained the system for smart ventilation and detection of the level of purification of indoor air; and finally Adriana Martínez Reguero, from the research group Construction Materials and Roads (MATCAR), described the results of the European project Paperchain, which has already been completed.

At the same time as the Smart City Expo World Congress, Tomorrow Mobility was held. This event included the Autonomous Driving Challenge, a competition in which students from various Spanish universities develop software so that car models can move along a track autonomously, by means of their sensors. This event was organized by CARNET, the research and innovation hub for future mobility promoted by the UPC, SEAT and Volkswagen Group Research, and coordinated by CIT UPC.

UPC rector Daniel Crespo took part in the other parallel event at the Fira, PuzzleX, along with Soraya Hidalgo, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Fundraising at the UPC, both with talks under the title Welcome Remarks. The aim of PuzzleX is to promote what are known as frontier materials to resolve some of the current challenges of society.

The event was co-funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund as part of the ERDF’s Operational programme for Catalonia 2014–2020.