avanchair project

When your Vision shapes your Future: SPII & Avanchair

When your Vision shapes your Future: SPII & Avanchair 1443 1211 Spii
crowdfunding avanchair
Avanchair’s crowdfunding campaign

June 13th, 2021 was a very special day.

Maybe you didn’t realize it, but on that day the life of 130 million people worldwide may have taken a turn for good.
That’s how many people would benefit from Andrea Depalo’s invention, Avanchair, according to the Wheelchair Foundation.

On that day, indeed, his “smart” wheelchair reached its crowdfunding goal on Eppela.

Now a new chapter begins: Avanchair needs to move from “dream” to “reality”.

And we at SPII are happy to be part of it, lending our knowledge and experience in Human-Machine Interfaces to this amazing project.

Not only because it will help millions of people overcome their disability and live a better life.

But also because Avanchair is an original and beautiful manifestation of our Mission and Vision.

And when you let your Vision shape your Future, great things happen.

When innovation is born

wheelchair classic
Some of the everyday actions disabled people need help with – before Avanchair

Andrea Depalo is an Italian entrepreneur who had a dream: help people with a disability like himself move more freely.

A dream that started to become a Vision some years ago, when he first pictured the idea of Avanchair.

A wheelchair that could help its users perform a number of movements, thanks to a motorized seat that can move vertically and horizontally.

With this simple but essential innovation, the persons using the chair can get closer to a car, a bathroom, a bed or any other surface they may want to move to, empowering them to be more autonomous and free during their everyday life.

An innovation that is simple…but also enormously complex.
It needs, among the rest, a human-machine interface that is essential, easy to use, precise and effective.

Something we at SPII know well about.

The initial connection between Andrea and SPII was totally random: by chance, the entrepreneur lives maybe 300 meters away from the company’s headquarters, in Saronno.

So at the very beginning of this journey, few years ago, we met, we exchanged opinions, we gave him suggestions about the technological side, we pledged our interest to the project.

During the following years, Andrea went on “building” his idea: he found sponsors, partners such as Enel, and the project grew stronger and stronger.

And now, with the crowdfunding campaign successfully concluded, it’s closer than ever to becoming a reality!

There is still much to do before some actual work together can begin, but we knew from the very beginning there was something there – a bond, a connection.

A shared Vision.

intelliarm and avanchair
The HMI from Intelliarm could be similar to the one of Avanchair

When a shared Vision is born

If you have read our story so far, you know that our company has always been strongly tied to the train industry. As the market leader for components and safety devices for railway and industrial applications, we have always been very focused.

But we also had something else, something that made us look further away and beyond our industry.
Something that would later become our motto, synthesizing our Vision and Mission in a sentence:


Wheelchairs are not SPII’s specialty for sure…but mobility is.

Wherever we can” is not only a slogan, is a way of being: it’s the way we look at the world, the recipe we use to navigate decisions. It’s how we want to be, and how we want other people to be.

Mobility is in our DNA – as it is sustainability, diversity, inclusion. All values we strongly saw from the very beginning in Avanchair.

When, in recent years, SPII had to rely more than ever on its resilience, we decided to look deeply into our company’s soul, with an effort to grow with the times and stay relevant to society’s needs.

What emerged is well summarized in our About Us page:

  • It’s a Vision that sees a human being at the center of an automated and robotized world;
  • and it’s a Mission that sees us providing the best possible solutions for the interaction between humans and machines, through technology, style and ergonomics.

This consciousness is what led us so far, what informs our decisions and the projects we work on.

It’s what allowed us to build an innovative solution like IntelliArm, which was awarded with a RedDot for its design.

It’s what led us to support Elli&Rini with their last creation, PIANETA. Or to partner with ItalDesign and work on a solution like V-Desk to integrate AR into the industrial process.

And it is what makes us want to contribute to Avanchair: because we see technology as a tool to improve people’s health, happiness and freedom.

So what is a better fit for SPII than a robotized wheelchair, which leverages automation to allow its users to be all of the above?

Interview to Andrea Depalo, Avanchair’s founder

Our expertise goes well beyond trains: it goes wherever we can.

And we want to help allow people with disability do the same.

Are you curious to know how the Avanchair project evolves?
Keep in touch with us and follow the dedicated website and Facebook page.

See you next time,
Ilaria Cazziol

banco di manovra mosca 2020



On 21/09/2020 the new train of the Moscow Metro 2020 was presented. It entered service in the autumn of the same year.

Here you go one of the most beautiful train in the world: the new underground train of the Russian capital “Moscow 2020”.

Moscow 2020 is a latest generation train, completely innovative and has our driver desk inside!

During the official ceremony, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said:

“We started renovating the rolling stock of the Moscow Metro in 2010 and now we have one of the youngest fleets among the metropolitan systems in the world” […]

“Today we welcome the new Moscow 2020 train, which clearly surpasses its predecessors thanks to its parameters. […]
The Moscow Metro is considered as an example by the designers. Our wagons, built in the 70s, are still used in Europe today. The new generation “Moscow 2020” will certainly serve as an experience for Europe and America “.

The driver desk was designed according to the following guidelines: innovation, modernity and comfort.
Entry to the driver’s cabin is permitted using an individual access card which also activates the complete traffic control and safety system.
The new generation train driver desk is more ergonomic and has almost twice as few buttons thanks to the large touchscreen monitors.

The ceremony was also attended by the Locomotive Engineer Instructor Andrej Blochin: “The desk is avant-garde, modern, much more ergonomic than the previous ones, the software incorporates that of smartphones, which allows the train driver to make decisions faster, in complete safety “.

The deputy head of the project Arcadiy Sajzev was also interviewed and he underlined the importance of combining tradition and innovation, with a look at the future version of “Moscow 24”.

Spii is proud to be part of this great project and to be on board the trains of the future!

See you next time,
Simona Gianoli & Valentina Marrese



Il sistema somatosensoriale comprende un’enorme varietà di sensazioni, non solo vibrazioni o pressione, ma anche dolore, temperatura e posizione e movimento del corpo nello spazio. Questo sistema include almeno 12 tipi specializzati di recettori. Ognuno di questi invia informazioni diverse al cervello, informazioni su cui facciamo affidamento per eseguire anche le azioni più semplici. Questi recettori si trovano su tutta la superficie del corpo e anche al suo interno (si pensi che l’adulto medio ha 3 milioni di recettori solo del dolore!). 

In teoria, il feedback tattile comprende tutte queste sensazioni. Tuttavia, simulare il sistema somatosensoriale nella sua interezza è una sfida enorme, rispetto ad altri sensi come la vista o l’udito.

In pratica, il feedback tattile si rivolge sempre ad un sottoinsieme specifico del sistema somatosensoriale. Un gran numero di dispositivi tattili (dai controller di gioco ai telefoni cellulari) comunica esclusivamente tramite i recettori presenti sulle mani, ad esempio.

Ma cos’è il feedback aptico?

Gli esseri umani hanno cinque sensi, ma i dispositivi elettronici comunicano con noi principalmente utilizzandone solo due: vista e udito.

Il feedback tattile è dunque l’utilizzo del tatto nell’interfaccia uomo-macchina ed è entrato per la prima volta nei joystick di gioco alla fine degli anni ’90 su cui è presente ancora oggi.

Possiamo parlare di una vera e propria modalità di comunicazione piuttosto che di una tecnologia o di un’applicazione specifica.

Come funziona il feedback tattile?

Il feedback tattile consiste nel simulare il tocco o l’interazione con qualcosa nella vita reale, creando vibrazioni di precisione. Nella nostra vita quotidiana, ricorriamo ampiamente alla modalità aptica quando interagiamo con l’ambiente che ci circonda. Senza capacità di manipolazione e rilevazione aptica, tale interazione sarebbe estremamente limitata.

Per decenni l’esperienza sensoriale legata alle interfacce uomo macchina nel mondo ferroviario racchiudeva solo l’interazione visiva. Oggi in SPII, in un’ottica futuristica ed innovativa, vogliamo creare il canale di collegamento tra l’HMI e l’utente finale, garantendo la percezione del comando appena eseguito tramite feedback aptico.

I nostri pannelli aptici sono progettati in conformità con la EN 50155 e testati secondo le norme ferroviarie EN principali (EN 61373, EN 50121). Siamo in grado di offrire una vasta gamma di soluzioni standard o su misura aumentando l’affidabilità dei dispositivi di Input.

Il pannello con feedback tattile, consente inoltre di aumentare il livello di sicurezza, garantendo non solo una conferma visiva della decisione presa dall’utente finale, ma anche una tattile al fine di creare una esperienza nuova e migliorativa.

Un tipo di interfaccia che non nasce solo dall’esigenza del mondo Railway, ma vuole essere in grado di proporsi a diversi campi di applicazione tra cui gru, macchine movimento terra, settore marittimo.

Il nostro desiderio è quello di innovare e trasmettere i cambiamenti tecnologici indispensabili oggi portandoli ad un nuovo livello.

“È il cambiamento, il cambiamento continuo, il cambiamento inevitabile, che è il fattore dominante nella società odierna. Nessuna decisione sensata può essere più compiuta senza tenere conto non solo del mondo come è ora, ma di come sarà… Questo, a sua volta, significa che i nostri uomini di stato, i nostri imprenditori, i nostri uomini comuni, devono orientarsi verso un modo di pensare fantascientifico.”

Isaac Asimov

See you next time,

Valentina Marrese



The somatosensory system involves an enormous variety of sensations, not just vibrations or pressure, but also pain, temperature, and the position and movement of the body in space. This system includes at least 12 specialized types of receptors. Each of these sends different information to the brain, information we rely on to perform even the simplest actions. These receptors are found all over the surface of the body and also inside of it (just think that the average adult has 3 million pain receptors alone!).

In theory, tactile feedback encompasses all of these sensations. However, simulating the somatosensory system in its entirety is a huge challenge, compared to other senses such as sight or hearing.

In practice, tactile feedback always addresses a specific subset of the somatosensory system. A large number of touch devices (from game controllers to mobile phones) communicate exclusively via receptors on the hands, for example.

But what is haptic feedback?

Humans have five senses, but electronic devices communicate with us primarily using only two: sight and hearing.

Tactile feedback is therefore the use of touch in the human-machine interface and entered for the first time in gaming joysticks in the late 90s on which it is still present today.

We can talk about a real mode of communication rather than a specific technology or application.

How does haptic feedback work?

Tactile feedback consists in simulating the touch or interaction with something in real life, creating vibrations of precision. In our daily life, we make extensive use of the haptic mode when we interact with the environment around us. Without the manipulation and haptic detection abilities, this interaction would be extremely limited.

For decades, the sensory experience linked to human-machine interfaces in the railway world included only visual interaction. Today in SPII, in a futuristic and innovative perspective, we want to create the connection channel between the HMI and the end user, ensuring the perception of the command just executed through haptic feedback.

Our haptic panels are designed in accordance with EN 50155 and tested according to the main EN railway standards (EN 61373, EN 50121). We are able to offer a wide range of standard or customized solutions increasing the reliability of the Input devices.

The panel with tactile feedback also allows to increase the level of safety, guaranteeing not only a visual confirmation of the decision made by the end user, but also a tactile one in order to create a new and improved experience.

This type of interface is not born only from the need of the Railway world, but it wants to be able to offer itself to different fields of application including cranes, earthmoving machinery, the marine sector.

Our desire is to innovate and transmit the technological changes that are essential today, taking them to a new level.

“It is change, continuous change, inevitable change, which is the dominant factor in today’s society. No sensible decision can be made more without taking into account not only the world as it is now, but how it will be … This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our entrepreneurs, our ordinary men, must orient themselves towards a science fiction way of thinking.

Isacc Asimov

Do you want to learn more? Click here!

See you next time,
Valentina Marrese

Imagine what the future could be

Imagine what the future could be 2560 1881 Spii

The world is moving fast. Maybe too fast.

Too fast for us to slow down and check if the direction is right. We keep going, following the tracks someone else has laid down for us.

What if we stopped? What if we started again from scratch? What if we reimagined the future?

Imagine more what it could be...

We tried to do that, and this is what happened:

Welcome to a new future!

Welcome to a drivers’ cab that is truly designed for drivers.

Welcome to a human-machine interface that is easy to get. Just a basic configuration based on specific functions.

A solution that is simple to install. A plug-and-play system, that you just need to switch on to be ready to go.

Welcome to a really comfortable seat, with designed according to how the human body naturally works. Because safety comes also from ergonomics.

A design that is unlike any other.
Free space, minimalism, comfort: these are the keywords that drove us, with the intention of allowing the greatest possible field of view for the driver.

Welcome to the age of beauty, where attractive products work better.

Welcome to the future….no, to the present.

Intelliarm is real.

Imagine what it could be more…

See you next time!
Silvio Zuffetti

Immagina come potrebbe essere il futuro

Immagina come potrebbe essere il futuro 2560 1881 Spii

Il mondo si sta muovendo velocemente. Forse troppo in fretta.

Troppo veloce per rallentare e controllare se la direzione è giusta. Andiamo avanti, seguendo le tracce che qualcun altro ha tracciato per noi.

E se ci fermassimo? E se ricominciassimo da zero? E se reinventassimo il futuro?

Immagina come potrebbe essere….

Abbiamo provato a farlo…e questo è quello che è successo:

Benvenuto in un nuovo futuro!

Benvenuti in una cabina di guida realmente progettata per i conducenti.

Benvenuto in un’interfaccia uomo-macchina facile da ottenere. Una semplice configurazione basata su funzioni specifiche.

Una soluzione semplice da installare. Un sistema plug-and-play, che devi solo accendere per essere pronto.

Benvenuti in una seduta davvero confortevole, progettata in base a come funziona naturalmente il corpo umano. Perché la sicurezza viene anche dall’ergonomia.

Un design diverso dagli altri.
Spazio libero, minimalismo, comfort: queste le parole chiave che ci hanno guidato, con l’intento di consentire il maggior campo visivo possibile al guidatore.

Benvenuti nell’era della bellezza, dove i prodotti attraenti funzionano meglio.

Benvenuti nel futuro….no, nel presente.

Intelliarm è reale.
E’ qui. Adesso.

Immagina cosa potrebbe essere ancora…

Alla prossima puntata!
Silvio Zuffetti

Watch where you put your feet!

Watch where you put your feet! 1473 1051 Spii

How many hours a day do you stay seated? The answer could be: many, perhaps too many! Sitting at the computer, reading a good book, watching TV or driving a train, it is essential to maintain a correct posture to limit the damages and pain resulting from a wrong position.

What can we do to encourage a correct posture, therefore the balance and coordination of the whole body, both in an upright and sitting position? Human-machine interfaces are certainly one of the factors on which we can act to ensure the comfort and well-being of our body, essential for enhancing the lifestyle and work. The right tilt angles and the right distance from a monitor, for example, can make all the difference.

Just think that our feet alone have 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, nevertheless they don’t always get the attention they deserve.

Hence the position of the legs and feet plays a central role in the work and driving stations, especially when certain pedals and foot-controlled sensitive surfaces are present.

Designed with passion, curiosity and courage, the SPII footrests allow the adjustment of the position by means of manual and / or automatic controls according to the user’s biometric data. They can host different types of pedals and controls; Surface shapes, sizes and materials are customized according to the application. In addition, heating systems, contact pressure measurement functions and human presence detection systems can be integrated.

The technology used takes into account the most demanding operational requirements and allows high standards of reliability and durability over time.

Style, Design and Ergonomics are defined according to the specific application always with the human factor priority and the requirements of the referent market.

The interface with the vehicle is customizable and configurable, via electrical connections, and / or communication protocols (Can Open, ethernet, Profinet etc). Moreover, the most suitable safety level, including SIL certification, can be defined for each single function.

“Who works with his hands is a worker. Who works with his hands and his head is an artisan. Who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”  Saint Francesco D’Assisi  

Do you want to learn more? Click here!

See you next time,

Valentina Marrese

Attento a dove metti i piedi!

Attento a dove metti i piedi! 1473 1051 Spii

Quante ore al giorno rimanete seduti? La risposta potrebbe essere: tante, forse troppe! Seduti al computer, a leggere un buon libro, a guardare la tv oppure a guidare un treno, fondamentale risulta mantenere una postura corretta per limitare i danni ed i dolori derivanti da una seduta sbagliata.

Dunque cosa possiamo fare per favorire la corretta postura, quindi l’equilibrio e la coordinazione di tutto il corpo, sia in posizione eretta che seduta? I dispostivi uomo macchina sono certamente uno dei fattori su cui possiamo agire per garantire il comfort ed il benessere del nostro corpo, indispensabili per il miglioramento dello stile di vita e di lavoro. I giusti angoli di inclinazione e la giusta distanza da un monitor, per esempio, possono fare la differenza.

Basti pensare che solo i nostri piedi hanno 26 ossa, 33 articolazioni e più di 100 muscoli, ma non sempre ricevono le attenzioni che meritano.

La posizione delle gambe e dei piedi gioca pertanto un ruolo centrale nelle postazioni di lavoro e di guida, in particolare dal momento in cui siano presenti pedali e superfici sensibili azionabili con i piedi.

Le pedane SPII, studiate e progettate con passione, curiosità e coraggio, consentono la regolazione della posizione con comando manuale e/o con comando automatico in funzione dei dati biometrici dell’utilizzatore. Possono accogliere diversi tipi di pedali e comandi; Forme, dimensioni e materiali delle superfici vengono personalizzate in base all’applicazione. Possono inoltre essere integrati sistemi riscaldanti, funzioni di misura della pressione di contatto e sistemi di rilevamento della presenza.

La tecnologia utilizzata tiene conto degli usi più gravosi, e permette elevati standard di affidabilità e durata nel tempo.

Lo Stile ed il Design vengono definiti in base all’applicazione specifica, così come tutti gli aspetti ergonomici.

L’interfaccia con il veicolo è personalizzabile e configurabile, tramite connessioni elettriche, e/o protocolli di comunicazione (Can Open, ethernet, Profinet etc). Per ciascuna funzione è inoltre possibile definire il grado di sicurezza più opportuno, anche con certificazione SIL.

“Chi lavora con le sue mani è un lavoratore. Chi lavora con le sue mani e la sua testa è un artigiano. Chi lavora con le sue mani e la sua testa ed il suo cuore è un artista.” San Francesco D’Assisi

Vuoi saperne di più? Clicca qui!

Alla prossima puntata,

Valentina Marrese

Semplicità ed affidabilità: i binari su cui viaggiano i display del futuro

Semplicità ed affidabilità: i binari su cui viaggiano i display del futuro 1000 600 Spii

“Che fine ha fatto la semplicità?” chiedeva Charles Bukowski “sembriamo tutti messi su un palcoscenico, e ci sentiamo tutti in dovere di dare spettacolo”.

A partire dagli anni 60 un termine è entrato a far parte della vita di tutti i giorni: “display” o “monitor”, ovvero periferiche di visualizzazione di computer, calcolatrici ed altri dispositivi.

Due facce della stessa medaglia

L’evoluzione tecnologica degli ultimi decenni ci ha spinto a circondarci di oggetti con l’unico obbiettivo di “semplificarci la vita”. Tuttavia, la tecnologia sembra andare proprio nella direzione opposta; le aziende, nell’era della competizione, sono sempre alla ricerca di nuove funzioni, di soluzioni sofisticate e complesse. Ma, come abbiamo visto, l’obbiettivo dell’utente finale è la semplificazione del proprio lavoro nell’utilizzo dei vari sistemi di interfaccia.

La principale caratteristica dell’interfaccia uomo macchina per eccellenza, il display, è proprio quella di inglobare in sé tecnologie sempre più articolate pur mantenendo la semplicità del loro utilizzo. Ebbene sì! Nonostante numerose siano le tecnologie a supporto e al servizio di questi monitor, la loro funzione è rimasta pressoché invariata: presentare informazioni su di uno schermo in maniera visiva o tattile.

Noi di SPII, grazie alla nostra presenza globale, siamo vicini ai nostri clienti e agli operatori ferroviari di tutto il mondo, e mettiamo a disposizione le nostre competenze di Tecnologia, Ergonomia e Stile.

Le caratteristiche

I nostri HMI hanno l’aspetto di un classico display ma racchiudono in sé le funzioni di un vero e proprio computer touch screen. Sono caratterizzati da un altissimo grado di configurazione (meccanica, hardware, software, connessioni) e dalla possibilità di personalizzare lo stile in funzione dell’applicazione senza rinunciare alla semplicità nell’utilizzo, nell’installazione e nella manutenzione. La semplicità è creatività ed eleganza allo stesso tempo.

Nel pieno rispetto delle stringenti normative dei vari settori e certificati SIL, i nostri prodotti di elevata qualità offrono elevate performance ed affidabilità in qualsiasi ambiente. Siamo attenti ai bisogni dei nostri clienti e, allo stesso tempo, utilizziamo materiali ecosostenibili al fine di salvaguardare l’ambiente.

“La semplicità è l’ultima sofisticazione.” Cit – Leonardo Da Vinci

Vuoi saperne di più? Visita il nostro sito!

Alla prossima puntata,

Simplicity and reliability: the tracks of the displays of the future

Simplicity and reliability: the tracks of the displays of the future 1000 600 Spii

“What happened to simplicity?” asked Charles Bukowski “we all seem put on a stage, and we all feel obliged to put on a show”.

Since the 1960s, a word has become part of our everyday life: “display” or “monitor“, that is, visualization peripherals for computers, calculators and other devices.

Two sides of the same coin

The technological evolution of recent decades has pushed us to surround ourselves with objects with the sole aim of “simplifying our lives“. However, technology seems to be going in just the opposite direction; companies, in the era of competition, are always looking for new functions, sophisticated and complex solutions. But, as we have seen, the goal of the end user is to simplify their work in the use of the various interface systems.

Which is the main feature of the human-machine interface par excellence, the display? It’s precisely that of incorporating increasingly complex technologies while maintaining the simplicity of their use. Well yes! Although there are various technologies supporting and serving these monitors, their function has remained almost unchanged; to present information on a screen in a visual or tactile way.

At SPII, thanks to our global presence, we are close to our customers and railway operators all over the world, and we make available our expertise in Technology, Ergonomics and Style.

The features

Our HMIs have the appearance of a classic display but contain the functions of a real touch screen computer. They are characterized by a very high degree of configuration (mechanics, hardware, software, connections) and the ability to customize the style according to the application without sacrificing use, installation and maintenance ease. Simplicity is creativity and elegance at the same time.

In full compliance with all the strict regulations of the various sectors and SIL certified, our high quality products offer high performances and reliability in any environment. Of course, we pay attention to the needs of our customers. But, at the same time, we use eco-sustainable materials in order to protect the environment around us.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Cit – Leonardo Da Vinci

Would you like to know more? Visit our website!

See you next time,