Aarhus University heading major new European Internet of Skills project
A new project funded by the Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme aims to develop technology and upscale the talent pool for the Tactile Internet, also known as the Internet of Skills – a key component in the digital world of the future
Associate Professor Qi Zhang from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Aarhus University is heading the new international, interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral project TOAST, that will train doctoral candidates and develop and upscale technologies for the future Tactile Internet, also referred to as the Internet of Skills.
The project has received funding of DKK 20.4 million (EUR 2.74 million), and it gathers 11 European universities and organisations. The project is a major initiative for the Tactile Internet, which includes the communication of touch, allows physical interactions and connect people's skills, regardless of distance.
"The primary focus of TOAST is to nurture the interdisciplinary research required to develop the Tactile Internet, and that’s not just about communication networks. We need a wide range of technologies and areas of application to make sure that the whole system works," says Qi Zhang.
In simple terms, the Tactile Internet is a future internet where you can physically interact with remote environments without actually being physically present, as it were. Via human system interface, remote robot, bi-directional haptic control, and communication networks, you can perform complex tasks in distant or inaccessible environments as if you are actually there, even though you are doing what you are doing many kilometres away. For example, tele-operations or simply just the feeling of shaking someone’s hand.
The Tactile Internet allows physical interaction across distance and access to manipulation skills and expertise, thus sharing skills around the globe faster and more efficiently. The Tactile Internet is expected to be a key component in the digitalised world of the future.
The Tactile Internet requires researchers with interdisciplinary knowledge such as haptic communication, networking, edge computing, machine learning and human perception.
The TOAST project funded by the Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme Doctoral Network aims to train creative and entrepreneurial doctoral candidates with interdisciplinary competencies and enable them to carry out research within the Tactile Internet.
"The project offers a unique training programme for ten PhD students at different universities and organisations in Europe. At Aarhus University, we’re recruiting three PhDs for the project, with primary focus on edge intelligence. As we know, communication networks often experience issues such as communication latency and packet losses, in particular, when communicating over large distance, which can jeopardize the stability and transparency in control and even cause cyber-sickness. To ensure immersive user experience in the Tactile Internet, under the physical constraints in communication networks, we need to leverage artificial intelligence at Edge to compensate imperfect communications and make a joint optimisation of communication and computation,” says Qi Zhang.
Besides Aarhus University, the following are also involved: The Technical University of Munich, the Technical University of Dresden, the University of Siena, CentraleSupélec at the Paris-Saclay University, the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the National Centre for Scientific Research at the University of Lorraine and the companies Wandelbots GmbH, Ericsson AB, Orange S.A. and WEART.
Associate Professor Qi Zhang
Research Group: Network Computing, Communications and Storage
Aarhus University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Tel.: +45 41893253