Tackling the challenges for Mars Exploration- Dava Newman

MIT Portugal Director Dava Newman was recently in Portugal to celebrate the 41st of the Universidade do Minho. The MIT Professor, who was been nominated by the White House to be NASA’s deputy administrator- the space agency’s No. 2 leadership position, had a chance to talk to several media about the research being conducted to explore Mars and the challenges that lay ahead.

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Paulo Melo awarded at the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge 2014

Paulo Melo PhD Thesis “A Novel Functional Electrical Stimulation System and Strategies for Motor Rehabilitation” won the Best ideas contest in the PhD Category at the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge 2014. The awarded thesis was supervised by Miguel Tavares da Silva and co-supervised by Jorge Martins (IST) and Dava Newman (MIT) and was developed within the DACHOR, an MIT Portugal Project, funded by FCT. During his PhD, Paulo Melo, a Instituto Superior Técnico Alumnus under the MIT Portugal Program, developed a systems to aid Drop foot patients.

Paulo de Melo, Pydi Ganga , Dirk Elias (Presidente (Frauhnofer Portugal), Gilberto Bernardes. Photo from Frauhnofer Portugal.

Drop foot patients are among one of the groups that has largely benefited from Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) over the last decades. On his PhD Thesis, Paulo Melo developed a new method to model the dynamics of the electrically stimulated muscles, opening the way to an even more integrated, patient specific model-based approaches to correct drop foot.

The Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge is an idea contest promoted by Fraunhofer AICOS with the objective of motivating and rewarding research of practical utility, through the attribution of a scientific prize to MSc/PhD Students and Researchers from Portuguese Universities in the areas of ICT, Multimedia and other related Sciences.

The Challenge consists in awarding the best ideas based on graduation theses that were developed having ‘Research of Practical Utility’ in mind. By this we mean ideas based on theses concepts that clearly demonstrate a concern with the direct applicability of its results in Industry.

Best ideas in the PhD Category:

1st Place – “A Novel Functional Electrical Stimulation System and Strategies for Motor Rehabilitation”
Paulo de Melo

2nd Place – “earGram: Composing Music by Selection”
Gilberto Bernardes

3rd Place – “Transparent and/or flexible low-cost electronics with a-GIZO TFTs”
Pydi Ganga

In the Media

P3 ; JPN ; IST

DACHOR - a step closer to commercialisation

On a interview to the Newspaper Diário de Notícias, the researchers that had develop  DACHOR under an MIT Portugal project are already thinking about the best way to take it to the market.  DACHOR is still a prototype, but positions itself as a unique Ankle-Foot Orthosis to aid individuals with reduced mobility and neuromuscular disabilities of the locomotion apparatus, providing not only the support for general gait disabilities but also the rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal.

DACHOR was a MIT Portugal Program project funded by Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and led by Instituto Superior Técnico in partnership with MIT, University of Minho and the company Plux.

DACHOR was awarded with the 1st place at "Ser Capaz" - Investigation and Technology Annual grant promoted by the non-profit organization Associação Salvador.

More on DACHOR.

In the Media:

Diário de Notícias 

Researchers develop a Rail Bike Adaptor to promote tourism at Tua

RBAcarlosbarbosaCarlos Nuno Barbosa, PhD student at University of Minho (UM) under the MIT Portugal Doctoral Program in Leaders for Technical Industries (LTI), has been developing a Rail Bike Adaptor (RBA) with the collaboration of other MIT Portugal students: Jorge Marques from UM and João Figueiredo, Miguel Oliveira and Lídia Teixeira from FEUP.

The idea was first presented to the students by the professor Eduardo Beira, then at UM and currently at Técnico Lisboa.  The aim was to create a product with a light structure and with an aesthetic quality that allowed the combinations of two bicyclists side-by-side on the same platform in order to ride the railways that are no longer in use.

In a broader sense, the RBA project has the potential to promote and value the endogenous economic, social, cultural and environmental resources being very attractive for end-users as for companies interested in including the rail biking into their ‘portfolio’ activities at the same level as more common activities such as hiking, canoeing, etc. The existent prototype was already successfully tested on a rail of around 11 kilometers with 5 people on board. The users, of different genders and age gaps, have agreed that the RBA is very easy to ride.

RBA3The interaction with local authorities and companies has been essential for the RBA’s success that counts with the support of REFER, the public company responsible for providing the public service of managing the national railway network infrastructure in Portugal, and municipalities, that are in charge of protecting the railroads, either the ones in operation as the ones that are no longer used - and nowadays there are around 800Kms of abandoned railways tracks.

As the researchers continue to implement and promote the work in progress (e.g. improving the existent prototype into a more functional, portable, lighter and affordable), they are also drawing up plans to develop a new concept based on Skateboards.

RBA1This project was presented previously at the International Conference RailRoads in Historical Context: Construction, Costs and Consequences within the context of the FOZTUA Project, a joint interdisciplinary project between MIT (USA) and University of Minho (Portugal), sponsored by EDP and under the auspices of the MIT Portugal Program. More than 40 specialists attended this event to discuss both the history and the future of the Tua railroad and Tua Valley.




In the media:

pdf Diário do Minho Jornal das 8 (TVI) ; Porto Canal ; Universia Portugal ; Sic Noticias

Is Silicon Valley over? Gonçalo Amorim opinion article at Canal Superior

Gonçalo Amorim writes on a regular basis to the StartUp section at Canal Superior. On his latest contribution, the Executive Director of the Building Global Innovators (BGI) venture competition discusses that a successful startup no longer needs to be in Silicon Valley.

Faithful to this new paradigm, BGI has been offering unprecedented opportunities, such as a global network that allows its entrepreneurs to look globally and no locally,  but at the same time devise local strategies on how to deal with the market. This unique feature requires a unique lined up network of experience and people.

Read the full article here.