Sm4rtLab allows virtual and remote control of optics devices

One of its kind in the world, the new virtual laboratory Sm4rtLab at the University of Eastern Finland combines the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud services, virtual reality and augmented reality, allowing physical laboratories to enter a virtual world. As a result, scientists can now operate research equipment remotely, and students have access to a completely new kind of learning environment.

Sm4rtLab can be used for teaching and research from anywhere in the world. The virtual laboratory is rooted in the idea of providing new kind of support for research, as well as in creating a novel teaching and learning culture that makes use of the latest technologies and augmented reality. Traditionally, scientific research is divided into theoretical and experimental research, but Sm4rtLab is now dissolving these boundaries. Modelling looks realistic, and the physical measurements in the background can come from a real or a simulated device.

“We wanted the laboratory equipment to look real. There are several remotely operated laboratories in the world, but we are now presenting the first virtual laboratory that looks like our real laboratories. The opportunities provided by a virtual laboratory are endless. In the future, Sma4rtLab can be used in research dealing with hazardous and radioactive substances, to dismantle a bomb, or in space exploration,” says Professor of Photonics Pasi Vahimaa from the University of Eastern Finland.

Sm4rtLab also opens up new avenues for collaboration, as it allows universities and businesses to co-purchase costly equipment, for example. Furthermore, Sma4rtLab can also benefit schools.

“Here at UEF, we will be using Sm4rtLab as a learning environment for our own students, but secondary schools could also benefit from it. Pieces of real laboratory equipment can be very pricey, but by using Sm4rtLab, schools could save on costs and make their photonics teaching affordable and available to everyone. We are dealing with a completely new way of teaching,” Professor Vahimaa concludes.

According to CIO Juha Eskelinen from the University of Eastern Finland, Sm4rtLab is combining the needs of a researcher and teacher in a very interesting and versatile way. The latest learning technology used in the Sm4rtLab concept enables a teacher or a researcher to address a wide audience utilising O365 Skype for Business, multiple HD cameras and the remote control functionality of the laboratory.

“By utilising modern cloud services and IoT technologies, we are able to create a service concept that can be extended to large number of laboratories and wide range of disciplines. In addition, we have mixed reality version of the laboratory already running in Microsoft Hololens,” Eskelinen says.

For further information, please contact
Professor Pasi Vahimaa, tel. +358 50 400 1594,

CIO Juha Eskelinen, tel. +358 400 607 548,

Sm4rtLab video:

Sma4rtLab website:

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