QuasiOS is a Startup on a Mission to Beat Microsoft, with a Newer, More Secure Operating System for Robots

@Redaktionen

Three young computer scientists from the University of Southern Denmark are rethinking the security in modern operating systems. For now, their work will benefit robots at Universal Robots, but the end goal is to take on Windows and Linux.

Three young computer scientists from the University of Southern Denmark are rethinking the security in modern operating systems. For now, their work will benefit robots at Universal Robots, but the end goal is to take on Windows and Linux.

This article is made in collaboration with ‘Digital Tech Summit‘ – one of the amazing partners making the magazine ‘From University to Unicorn 2021’ possible. You can read the full magazine here.


“When I was a kid, something in me wanted to beat Microsoft, and I’ve thought about it ever since.”

He laughs as he says it, but there is a sincerity to Jørn Guldberg’s words. A childhood fascination with computers led to a computer science degree at SDU in Odense, all the while driven by a personal goal to develop something that could start a computer. He succeeded, together with two fellow students, although the first self-developed operating system was a primitive one.

After handing in his Master’s thesis this summer, Guldberg has come a little closer to achieving his dream. He and fellow students Patrick Jakobsen and Jakob Kjær-Kammersgaard founded the company QuasiQS, whose mission—amongst other things—is of course to beat Microsoft. In reality, the startup is developing a protocol for a more stable and secure operating system, which will initially be put into use in robots and similar IoT gadgets.

“Our technology enables us to send encrypted messages to the robot without also obscuring the identity of the sender of the message. This is an approach to permissions that is very different from the current operating systems out there, and it provides a different kind of security, which is great for people who work with robots. With our technology they don’t have to worry about the robot starting before they’re ready because someone starts or updates it through the network,” Guldberg explains.

Although the three founders started their business during the summer holidays, they’re already working with Universal Robots (among others), who spotted the potential in their security solution for robots. And, according to the founder, they’re only just getting started.

“Security is a good place for us to begin because we have some new ideas and solutions to add to the pot. But it’s unlikely we’ll stop at robots. The operating systems we’re developing could also be beneficial to servers and individual laptops, just to name a couple of examples. But right now, we’re focussing on making a difference to the security and stability within Industry 4.0 [The Fourth Industrial Revolution]” says Guldberg, who, beside his co-founder title, is also the director and Kernel Developer at QuasiOS.

Although the operating system from QuasiOS is still in the early stages of development, with their new protocol, the SDU founders are really rethinking digital security. “If there is a ransomware attack, which can shut down a whole network, our solution ensures that such an attack can only reach one computer,” explains Jørn Guldberg.

A happy collaboration

The three founders of QuasiOS were already well underway with the development of their operating system whilst they were studying at University of Southern Denmark, and were assisted in this process by ‘SDU Entrepreneurship Labs’.

“When we started, we all thought we were getting a bit ahead of ourselves, because at the time it was more of an idea than an actual product with potential. But, looking back, I think it was the right time because we’ve advanced so quickly, and our headstart meant that we were ready to go all in with the company as soon as we finished our degrees,” says Guldberg.

The university has continued to play a role in QuasiOS’s development even after the three founders graduated. The new protocol, which is the foundation of the security for their future operating system, is being developed in collaboration as part of a research project at the university. It involves Universal Robots as a partner and is financially supported by both the Center for Cyber Security and SDU itself.

“The research is based on our theses, where we set out some basic security principles which differ from those of most operating systems. Essentially, what we’re trying to do is modernise digital security. A lot of today’s systems are still based on what was developed in the 70s and 80s, back when people had no idea how crazy it would get. That’s why we want to approach things differently,” Guldberg concludes.

The three founders behind QuasiOS.

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