Past Research Projects

ASPIRE: Graasp for Open Evidence-Based Research in Digital Education

Denis GilletHagop TaminianKim Lan Phan Hoang, and Juan Carlos Farah

Graasp is an open-access, GDPR-compliant cloud platform for digital education developed and hosted at EPFL in the framework of national and international initiatives. It is exploited worldwide by universities and schools for blended active learning or digital knowledge sharing and has currently over 165’000 users. A driving feature of the platform is that—provided consent—it is possible to collect data regarding teacher and student (learning analytics), which can be used not only for pedagogical awareness and reflection, but also for evidence-based research. ASPIRE is empowering researchers, beyond the current platform stakeholders, to access data generated within Graasp. The project is carried out collaboratively by EPFL, HEIA-FR, and HEP-BEJUNE, covering as such 7 cantons and two linguistic Swiss areas in order to facilitate a national-wide adoption. In addition, the project combines research competencies in human computer interaction, software engineering, data science, and education.

Smart eTrolley: Lightweight vehicles for Intermodality Areas and Transportation Hubs (GVA, SBB)

Denis Gillet, Ezequiel González Debada, Adeline Ung, and Yves Piguet

Commuting in large train stations or airports could be challenging for passengers such as tourists not knowing the place and their ways, elderly people with low mobility or high stress in crowd, parents traveling with children and luggage, or young people with sport equipment. This project investigate future solutions relying on lightweight vehicles such as connected and autonomous luggage trolleys to tackle these intermodality challenges.

DriveForAll: Coordination of Connected and Automated Vehicles at Roundabouts

Ezequiel González Debada and Denis Gillet

Keywords: Connected and Autonomous vehicles, Collision Avoidance, Dynamic Coordination, Optimal Control, Reactive Control, Trajectory Planning

MINES ParisTech was sponsored by industrial partners Safran, Valeo and PSA Peugeot Citroën to launch an international effort on the future of ground autonomous driving. International academic partners are EPFL, UC Berkeley and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

MOOLs: Massive Open Online Laboratories

Denis Gillet, Christophe Salzmann

Keywords: Remote Labs, Cyber Physical Systems, ICT for Development, SDGs

This project supports countries in the Global South to implement digital solutions for higher education integrating (in a common engineering MOOC) remotely accessible laboratory equipment and learning analytics dashboards (as rich, pedagogical structured, open educational resources). It is co-financed by the swissuniversities Development and Cooperation Network (SUDAC) oriented towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN and carried out in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences in Wallis (Prof. Fariba Moghaddam).

Go-Ga: Go-Lab Goes Africa

Juan Carlos FarahDenis Gillet

Keywords: Inquiry Learning, Online Labs, Learning Analytics, Open Educational Resources, Digital Education

Deploying contextually engaging digital science, technology, engineering and mathematics educative content in Africa by adapting the proven Go-Lab ecosystem to local needs. The open access Go-Lab ecosystem includes a sharing platform , as well as an authoring and learning platform. Partners in Africa are CcHUB in Nigeria, EtriLabs in Benin, and eLimu in Kenya. Read more.

Next Generation Stakeholders and Next Level Ecosystem for ColLaborative Science Education with Online Labs (Next-Lab)

André Nogueira, Denis Gillet, Juan Carlos Farah, Maria Jesus (Chus) Rodriguez Triana, Mélissa Riesner, Alex Wild, Andrii Vozniuk, ​​​​​​​Adrian Holzer

Keywords: Learning Environments, Social Media, Learning Analytics, Human Computer Interaction, Online laboratories, Collaborative Learning, Inquiry Learning, Recommender Systems, Peer Assessment, 21st Century Skills

Next-Lab intends to change the educational landscape of science and technology education in Europe on a very large scale. The project offers through its repository (Golabz) a unique and extensive collection of interactive online labs that can be straightforwardly and efficiently combined through its digital education platform (Graasp) with dedicated support tools (learning apps) and multimedia material to truly form open, cloud-based, shareable educational resources with an embedded pedagogical structure. Next-Lab offers extensive opportunities for localisation and personalization together with analytics facilities monitoring students’ progress and achievements. Next-Lab builds on the highly successful (FP7) Go-Lab project that already offers online labs, inquiry learning apps, and authoring facilities for inquiry learning. To amplify the existing impact to the next-level innovation stage, Next-Lab extends the Go-Lab ecosystem with tools for the learning of 21st century skills and cover secondary and also primary education, to ensure an early positive attitude towards science and technology.

SDSS-V: Developing a high accuracy, cost effective robot-positioners system for cosmology spectroscopic surveys (SLOAN)

Matin Macktoobian, Denis Gillet, Dominique Tao, and Laleh Makarem, in collaboration with Jean-Paul Kneib (Laboratory of Astrophysics)

Keywords: Astrobots, Collision-free Positioning

The next generation of large-scale spectroscopic survey experiments such as SDSS, will use thousands of fiber positioners packed at a focal plane. In order to maximize the observing time, the end-effectors of all positioners handling the fibers need to be actuated in parallel from the previous to the next target coordinates. Independent trajectory following are not feasible as the end-effectors share part of their operating space with their neighbors. In this project, we are investigating motion planning approaches based on a novel decentralized navigation function for collision-free coordination of fiber positioners.

Agile Social Media Platform for Humanitarian Action and Capacity Building

Denis Gillet, Adrian Holzer, Alex Wild, Andrii Vozniuk

Keywords: Knowledge management, Non-governmental organizations, Ad hoc social media platforms, Capacity building, Humanitarian action

React was carrying out joint research and deployment activities with humanitarian organisations (MSF, Handicap International, …) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to devise the next generation social media platforms and mobile applications for field operations and capacity building in developing countries (P166 Course).

Global Online Science Labs for Inquiry Learning at School (Go-Lab)

Denis Gillet, Christophe Salzmann, Adrian Holzer, Sten Govaerts, Maria Jesus Rodriguez Triana, Alex Wild, Andrii Vozniuk, Wissam Halimi, Li Na, Evgeny Bogdanov

Keywords: Personal Learning Environments, Social Media, Web Apps, Human Computer Interaction, Online laboratories, Inquiry Learning, Cognitive Scaffolds, Communities of Practice

The Go-Lab Project opened up remote science laboratories and their online models (online labs) for the large-scale use in education. Its technical framework – the Go-Lab Portal – offers students the opportunity to perform personalized scientific experiments with online labs, whereas teachers may enrich their classroom activities with demonstrations and disseminate best practices in a web-based pedagogic community. At the same time, owners of the labs may promote their scientific activities providing open interfacing solutions to easily plug-in their online labs and sharing them in the online labs federation.

Responsive Open Learning Environments (ROLE)

Denis Gillet, Sandy El Helou, Evgeny Bogdanov, Na Li, Freddy Limpens, Maryam Najafian, Stéphane Sire

Keywords: Personal Learning Environments, Social Software, Web 2.0 Service Mashup, Human Computer Interaction

ROLE’s cross-disciplinary innovations delivered and test prototypes of highly responsive Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) environments, offering breakthrough levels of effectiveness, flexibility, user-control and mass-individualisation. Our work also advanced the state-of-the-art in human resource management; self-regulated and social learning; psycho-pedagogical theories of adaptive education and educational psychology; service composition and orchestration; and the use of ICT in lifelong learning. Significant benefits arise for learners, their communities, employers, TEL developers and society. ROLE offered adaptivity and personalization in terms of (1) content and navigation and (2) the entire learning environment and its functionalities. This empowers each user to generate new tools and functions according to their needs, and can help them to establish a livelier and personally more meaningful learning context and learning experience.

The STELLAR Network of Excellence

Denis Gillet, Sandy El Helou

Keywords: Technology Enhanced learning, Engineering Education Research

STELLAR represented the effort of the leading institutions and projects in European Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) to unify our diverse community. This Network of Excellence was motivated by the need for European research on TEL to build upon, synergize and extended the valuable work we have started by significantly building capacity in TEL research within Europe, which is required to allow the European Union to achieve its goals via the Bologna Agreement and the execution of the Lisbon Agenda. STELLAR moved beyond the earlier networks by setting a new and critical foresight agenda for Technology Enhanced Learning. The Network was executed via a series of integration instruments designed to increase the research capacity of European TEL at all levels. STELLAR’s instruments will act upon the backbone of an interlocking set of 3 Grand Research Challenge actions, themed as Connecting People, Orchestration and Context.

e-Infrastructure (CRUSSWITCH)

Denis Gillet, Adrian Holzer, Yao Lu

Keywords: Personal Learning Environments, Federated Recommender Systems, Social Media, Cloud Aggegation

This project deals with the extensions of the Swiss e-Infrastructure for self-organized and competence-oriented learning environments. In view of the vast amount of contents, data resources and tools, learning becomes increasingly complex. Students are expected to get orientation on their own, and to determine and elaborate adequate, individual learning methods. In this framework, the Graasp social media platform for collaborative learning and knowledge management is extended with learning analytics, social media channel and cloud resource aggregation features. The challenge of managing multiple digital identities is also takled.

MOOLs: Maghrebi Open Online Labs (CODEV)

Denis Gillet

Keywords: Online Labs, Social Media, Web Apps, Green Energy

This project aims at developing and disseminating Massive Open Online Labs (MOOLs) methodologies and infrastructures in cooperation with Tunisia and Morocco, with a special focus on providing remote labs related to the production of green energy. Web apps enabling the access to such remote labs from social media platforms and MOOC platforms for secodary schools and academic institutions are developed.


Denis Gillet, Sandy El Helou, Li Na, Zhou Lei, Christophe Salzmann

Keywords: Personal Learning Environments, Recommender Systems, Social Media, Human Computer Interaction

This project carried out jointly with the Universities of Geneva and Fribourg aims at promoting the adoption and assessing the benefits of Personal learning Environments in higher education institutions to support formal, informal and self-directed learning. It also aims at promoting open sharing practices among teachers by enabling federated search and recommendation between institutional repositories and learning management systems.

Jumpers (a CTI project with Jobzippers)

Denis Gillet, Sandy El Helou, Yao Lu, Christophe Salzmann

Keywords: Recommender Systems, Social Media, Human Computer Interaction

This project aims at designing, validating and implementing a user-driven multi-relational and personalized recommender system for JobZippers, the European career center network. The customers targeted by this system are university graduates and employers. The main commercial innovation lies in intelligent recommendation relying on contacts established by students and graduates during the course of their studies with professionals, professors, mentors and peers with similar profile and professional interests. The main scientific innovation lies in advanced multi-relational and contextual recommendation algorithms.

6th sense

Denis Gillet, Christophe Salzmann, Damien Perritaz

Keywords: Quality of Perception; Wearable Systems; Augmented reality; Adaptation

The 6th sense project aims at investigating advanced context-aware and adaptive end-to-end technologies to develop next-generation wearable supervision systems for industrial plant operators. It is carried out in collaboration with the University of Fribourg and the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland. The 6th sense project is supported by the Hasler Foundation in the context of its man-machine interaction research program.


Denis Gillet, Sandy El Helou, Evgeny Bogdanov, Stéphane Sire

Keywords: Enhanced Learning; Communities of Practice

Palette is an ‘Integrated Project’ financed by the IST (Information Society Technology) programme of the European commission dealing with knowledge sharing and appropriation within communities of practice.

Collaborative learning has an increased potential when it occurs in the context of a Community of Practice (CoP). Such communities have several components that distinguish them from formal organisations and learning contexts: it is recognised that they can be developed through the uses of network technologies. However, despite the rapidly increasing potential of these technologies (including web-based platforms, wireless communications, mobile devices and extensive use of multimedia contents), a lot of progress remains to be done in order to support individual learning process, as well as knowledge and identity building in them. The goal of Palette is to elaborate, implement and promote the use of an extensible set of interoperable services that appropriately address the needs of these communities.


Denis Gillet, Yassin Rekik

Keywords: Enhanced Learning; Interaction; Internet

PROLEARN is a ‘Network of Excellence’ financed by the IST (Information Society Technology) programme of the European commission dealing with technology enhanced professional learning. The ProLEARN mission is to bring together the most important research groups in the area of professional learning and training, as well as other key organisations and industrial partners, thus bridging the currently existing gap between research and education at universities and similar organisations and training and continuous education that is provided for and within companies.

Real-time Interaction over the Internet

Christophe Salzmann, Denis Gillet

Keywords: Interaction; network; adaptation; end-to-end; remote experimentation; Internet

Real-time Interaction over the Internet enables users to efficiently interact with physical equipment at a distance. An efficient interaction provides the remote user with the best possible feedback such that the drawbacks inherent to the distance are minimized and with sufficient information to reproduce the state of the distant equipment and its operational conditions.


Denis Gillet, Christophe Salzmann, Yassin Rekik, Anh Vu Nguyen Ngoc, Karim Zeramdini, Frederic Geoffroy, Gamaliel Amaudruz

Keywords: Interaction; network; adaptation; end-to-end; remote experimentation; Internet

The eMersion project aims at promoting a pedagogical trial-and-error paradigm. It relies on new opportunities for engineering trainees to carry out extensive experimentation in their education curriculum based on a Web environment for remote experimentation.

Sensor Fusion, Tracking, and Collision Avoidance in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

ReactDenis Gillet, Steven Roelofsen; DISAL: Alcherio Martinoli, Sven Gowal, Benjamin Fankhauser

Keywords: Collision Avoidance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The overarching goal of this collaborative effort is to allow Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to fly autonomously while avoiding obstacles, including potentially collaborative aircrafts in their neighborhood. In this framework we are developing methods for merging information gathered using multiple exteroceptive sensing modalities (vision, radar, and TCAS with transponder systems), keeping track of flying obstacles using such merged information, and planning and execution of collision-free trajectories.

Hierarchical Traffic Coordination of Automated Guided Vehicles

Denis Gillet, Laleh Makarem, Alexandros Charalampidis, Hajir Roozbehani, Sylvain Rudaz

Keywords: Intelligent Transportation Systems, Autonomous Agents, Automated Guided Vehicles

Electric Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) operating on roads have a high potential for reducing CO2 emissions and traffic congestion in intermodality areas. However and despite years of research and development, actual deployment is still limited. In this project innovative solutions are investigated for overcoming limiting factors, especially those related to platooning, overtaking, crossing, and energy supply. Advanced maneuvering solutions relying on hierarchical control structures and dynamical optimization will lead to an increase in vehicle density and speed.

MicroCoGen: Micro Cogeneration with a Scroll Turbine coupled with a Pellet Burner (funded by the State of Vaud)

Denis Gillet and Laleh Makarem, in collaboration with Jürg Schiffmann (LAMD) and ENEFTECH

Keywords: Optimal Control, Co-generation, Green Energy

Micro-cogeneration of electrical and thermal energy has a high potential for the development of distributed production units as part of energy grids. In this collaborative project, The React Group is investigating optimal approaches to maximize the energy production through dynamic coordination of the underlying components (pellet burner, scroll turbine, heat exchanger, and storage).

Population-Based Modeling and Semi-Autonomous Insulin Delivery for the Treatment of Diabetes

Denis Gillet, Grégory François, Alain Bock

Keywords: Diabetes, Insulin Delivery, Modeling, Population-based Estimation, Stochastic Modeling, Optimal Control, Predictive Control

This project aims at developing a model-based control system to ease the treatment of patients with Type 1 diabetes. Different model types and parameters estimation strategies are considered and evaluated. The models account for meal types, physical activities, stress, as well as other patients’ conditions. These models are validated using clinical data. It is also envisioned to exploit the models for semi-autonomous insulin delivery with wearable optimal or predictive control devices.


Denis Gillet, Philippe Müllhaupt, Yvan Michellod

Keywords: Exoplanets; Differential Delay Lines

The Automatic Control Laboratory and the Robotic Systems Laboratory colaborate with the Geneva Observatory in the framework of the PRIMA ESO project to develop a Differential Delay Line for the PRIMA/VLTI facility at ESO. The goal of this new instrument is to contribute to speed up the implementation of this astrometric facility with respect to ESO’s current plan and to enable an early start of high-precision astrometric observations for extra-solar planets detection.

Hierarchical Optimization of Solar Thermal Systems Using Online Weather Forecasts

Denis Gillet, Thierry Prud’homme

Keywords: Optimal Control, Hybrid Systems, Solar Thermal Systems, Hot Water Production, Heating Systems, Weather Forecasts

In this project, systems that use solar energy to provide the users with hot water are considered. An auxiliary heater is used when the solar energy is not able to meet the users’ requirements. The goal in this projects is to maximise the part of solar energy in final energy balances at the same time maximising the comfort. This is described by an optimal control problem and is solved using dynamic models of heat exchangers and the building. These models have been developed and the parameters have been identified on two pilot plants located at the Ecole d’ingenieurs d’Yverdon (EIVD). The one-day weather forecasts, provided on-line by the Swiss Meteorological Institute (SMI), are also used. Two systems are under investigation in this project. The first one is a solar domestic hot water system. The second one is called a combi-system, which provides the users with hot water in addition to heating the building.