icity Lab Talks: digital research solutions

The current data economy pushes companies to increase the intangible asset portion of their balance sheets, but this requires more digital innovation than ever before, with the high-risk level typically associated with it. An effective way for companies to de-risk digital innovation is collaboration with universities, from consultancy to structured consortia for subsidized innovation projects.

However, finding the right lab with the specific R&D expertise required is no easy task. This is why icity.brussels(*) launches a series of webinars dedicated to the ULB and VUB research units active in the digital domains, to highlight the value they can bring to you through their knowledge, services, technology and skills.

These webinars will be organized around three main topics:

DAY 1  |  The Digital Process – Focus on Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things

DAY 2  |  The Digital Value Chain – Boosting digital innovation in Cybersecurity, Information Systems and Industry 4.0

DAY 3  |  Smart Living and Life Balance – Human-focused digital innovation: Smart City, Mobility, Sustainability, e-Health and Well-Being.

(*) icity.brussels is an initiative from ULB, VUB and SIRRIS to boost digital innovation for companies, funded by the ERDF and the Brussels Region

Day #3 – 6 October 2022

Smart Living and Life Balance – Human-focused digital innovation: Smart City, Mobility, Sustainability, e-Health and Well-Being



Earlybird Registration Now Open

Register now for free for Day#3 of the icity Lab Talks (6 October 2022) dedicated to Smart Living and Life Balance through our partner website Insightz.io.



Please find below more details on the labs that will showcase their technology, knowledge and services during these third “lab talks” dedicated to the Smart Living and Life Balance.

9.00 Introduction - Claudio Truzzi - Head of icity.brussels (ULB/VUB/Sirris)
9.15 "The balance between innovation and reality on the ground - a case study of virtual reality in the care of dementia and cognitive disorders" - Sébastien Serlet - REHAL-IT (ULB Spin-off)

The spin-off

REHAL-IT is a spin-off specialising in neuroscience and virtual reality. It is currently financed by Wallonia and its First Spin-Off (FSO) programmes. Its objective is to make new technologies accessible to health professionals so that they can benefit their patients. The result of close collaboration between various companies and the Université Libre de Bruxelles, REHAL-IT is surrounded by specialists in various fields (game design, neuroscience, etc.), in order to guarantee a unique and realistic experience.

In order to meet these objectives, the spin-off relies on the R.O.G.E.R. project.
R.O.G.E.R for Realistic Observation In Game and Experiences in Rehabilitation is a virtual reality software in which an individual with cognitive disorders can be evaluated or rehabilitated according to his needs, while maintaining a scientific methodology and offering gamified scenarios.

The presentation

The news technologies are a run for the impossible. More modern, more technology…
Sometimes, it’s important to stop the run for developing a new activity, a new field of possible. Make virtual reality just because is the new technology; ok but, is it efficiency?
In the case of care of dementia, use the biggest new technology with virtual reality with a helmet, is not a good idea. Why? Because the customers have not the possibility to use this.

The speaker

Sébastien Serlet, CEO of REHAL-IT – Neuropsychologist

9.45 "AI-based audience management and environment control: how to quantify and improve gatherings experience" - Olivier Debeir - Laboratory of Image Synthesis and Analysis (ULB)

The lab

The Laboratory of Image Synthesis and Analysis (LISA) is involved in research and teaching in topics of applied sciences such as pattern recognition, image analysis, computer graphics and virtual reality.In the field of pattern recognition and image analysis, LISA develops AI solutions for various applications, mainly for biomedical and medical imaging from the classical object recognition and segmentation to more complex training strategies dealing with noisy and /or sparse datasets.The image synthesis branch of the lab develops novel method for complex image interpolation. Being involved in the MPEG AR consortium, the LISA develops reference techniques for free point of view TV.

The presentation

The eco-monitoring project aims to monitor the quality of the internal environment in a room. Simple environmental measures such as temperature, humidity and pressure as well as CO2 are regularly recorded and logged on a central database. The project aims also to monitor the usage of a room by counting the people present in the room, to achieve this purpose, an embedded deep learning machine vision system is set up, and to be compliant with GDPR regulation, no image is recorded or sent, all the process is done locally.

The speaker

Olivier Debeir, Pr Head of the Image research unit of the LISA

10.15 "Innovative applications for sustainable transport and energy systems" - Jelle Smekens - MOBI EV (VUB)

The lab

MOBI is the innovative research hub for electromobility in Europe, and aims to make a strong contribution to a more sustainable society. With more than 100 specialists, we form a multidisciplinary team that supports the transition to a more environmentally friendly and electrified mobility and transport system. A unique mix of technical, environmental and socio-economic skills is the strength of our research group. MOBI is the technological expertise center in many areas ranging from electric and autonomous driving, to innovative batteries, intelligent drive systems and energy management, power electronics and charging infrastructure. In addition, we provide knowledge regarding business planning and consumer behavior, and look at the integration of electric vehicles in energy communities and smart grids. This broad approach enables MOBI to develop sustainable and innovative solutions and electrification strategies that are broadly supported by all parties participating in the electric (autonomous) fleet of the future.

The presentation

More info to come

The speaker

Jelle Smekens, Senior researcher and business developer at MOBI

10.45 "The lifecycle of data science & data-intensive applications" - Dimitris Sacharidis - Data Science and Engineering Lab (ULB)

The lab

The Data Science and Engineering (DSE) Laboratory is part of the Engineering School of ULB. DSE is conducting cutting-edge research in the broad field of data science and engineering. It currently consists of three full-time professors, E. Zimanyi, D. Sacharidis, M. Sakr, 10 PhD students, and four administrative/technical support staff. The laboratory’s research focuses on: big data technologies, data analytics workflows, and mobility data science. More specifically, DSE has a long experience in teaching and researching technologies for big data management and analytics workflows, and participates in pan-European projects, most prominently, the Erasmus Mundus joint Master program in “Big Data Management and Analytics” (BDMA), and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “Data Engineering for Data Science” (DEDS). Moreover, DSE has a strong focus on managing mobility-related spatio-temporal data, as evidenced by the development of MobilityDB, and the organisation of key events in the field, including a prestigious Dagstuhl Seminar.

The presentation

In this talk, the speaker will introduce the newly founded Data Science and Engineering Lab at ULB, and present its activities, interests, and ongoing collaborations with academic and industrial partners.
He will give an overview of the lifecycle of data science and data-intensive applications and highlight the main areas where we have experience, presenting our main contributions. He will also talk about the projects and application domains that the lab targets.

The speaker

Dimitris Sacharidis, Professor

11.15 "New applications of Machine Learning and High Throughput solutions to tackle human cell alterations" - Matthieu Defrance - (IB)² (VUB/ULB)

The lab

The Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels (IB)² was founded in 2013, bringing together researchers from computer science, life sciences and medicine, both from ULB and VUB, involving, in total, six different faculties. The main objective of the institute is to generate scientific excellence in bioinformatics, computational biology and systems biology.

(IB)² achieves this by being a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment open to all who wish to work on fundamental and applied scientific questions for which novel bioinformatics and computational biology approaches need to be developed.

The (IB)² is recognized as a ULB-VUB joint research group (JRG) since 2014, with renewal in 2018, and has grown to over 70 members, including principal investigators (PIs) and young researchers.

The presentation

After presenting the Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels (IB2), this talk will focus on a specific research domain that covers human health and machine learning techniques developed to extend the current medical diagnostic capacities. It will cover both the technologies and computational methods used to explore the genetic and epigenetic alterations of human cells.

The speaker

Matthieu Defrance, Associate Professor and Director – Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels (IB)²

11.45 "Leveraging artificial intelligence in biology: from protein design to the understanding of genetic variants" - Fabrizio Pucci - Computational Biology and Bioinformatics group (ULB)

The lab

The Computational Biology and Bioinformatics group is specialized in structural and evolutionary bioinformatics and computational systems biology. In the latter topic, the team utilizes the formalism of deterministic and stochastic differential equations to model a variety of biological systems, such as the dysregulation of the human renin-angiotensin system upon SARS-CoV-2 infection, or the relation between intrinsic noise and complexity of generic systems.

In the field of structural bioinformatics, the team’s research is mainly centered on the development of knowledge-based, physics-driven, software tools for predicting and analyzing protein structure, stability, interactions and function, and on the application of these computational tools to biological systems of interest in collaboration with experimenters.

The presentation 

In the presentation Fabrizio Pucci will show how the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics group has combined artificial intelligence techniques with computational biophysics in order to a) design new proteins in silico, with improved biophysical characteristics (such as protein solubility and binding affinity) and optimized for a wide range of biotechnological applications; b) analyze and interpret human genetic variants, explain how they lead to rare and complex diseases, and design new therapeutic strategies in silico.

The speaker

Fabrizio Pucci, Senior Postdoctoral Researcher at the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics lab

12.15 "AI solutions in healthcare: the hospital of the future" - Wim Vranken - Bio2Byte (VUB)

The lab

The Bio2Byte group is primarily situated at the Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels, a collaborative interfaculty institute between the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. It is located at the the ULB side of the Pleinlaan/La Plaine campus on the 6th floor of the C building.

At the VUB, the group is linked to Structural Biology Brussels at the Bioengineering sciences department, as well as the departments of Computer Science andChemistry at the Faculty of Sciences, plus to the Biomedical sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy.

The presentation 

The amount and complexity of health-related data is exploding. Academic research can provide novel solutions to interpret these data, while hospital requirements to protect patient data and confidentiality are increasingly stringent. In the VUB/UZB TumorScope project we strive to overcome this barrier and stimulate innovation in the AI-driven interpretation of patient-related data. This talk explores the opportunities and challenges encountered with this project.

The speaker

Wim Vranken, Associate Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Join us for the next talk








Day#1 – March 10, 2022

Focus on Artificial  Intelligence and  Internet of Things

Day#2 – June 9, 2022

Boosting Innovation in Cybersecurity, Information Systems and Industry 4.0

Day#3 – Oct 6, 2022

Human-focused  digital innovation:

Smart City,  Mobility, Sustainability,
e-Health and