MIT Portugal PhD student wins the Road Safety Innovation Award by ACP with an alternative solution to road humps

Francisco Duarte, a PhD Student in Transportation Systems of the MIT Portugal Program at University of Coimbra, was honored today with the first prize at the initiative promoted by Automóvel Clube Portugal in a partnership with BP Portugal, National Council of Rectors and National Innovation Agency. The 10 000€ prize will later be invested in the venture’s prototype and is currently under construction. It is expected that the laboratory tests will take place early next year and that the project pilot will be implemented in the second half of 2017. The project entitled VENEX presents a speed reduction system that induces the deceleration of vehicles without causing damage, noise or any discomfort to the passengers.

The VENEX - Vehicle Energy Efficient Extractor – equipment acts as in a similar fashion to a carpet that when placed on the floor actively reduces the speed of the vehicles by extracting kinetic energy, with a minimal impact on the automobile. Contrary to existing systems, this one absorbs the vehicles’ energy and makes it slow down safely, without any action of the driver and even without being perceptible since it causes no discomfort. By acting directly on the vehicles, this solution can be effective in different places such as crossings, intersections, roundabouts, residential areas, schools and hospital areas, among others where it is crucial to control the speed limits. Drivers who move within the legal velocity limits will not be penalized, and the energy will just be withdrawn according to the necessity of each place.

Currently, road safety is an issue of global importance, especially due to the number of traffic-related victims, which increases annually and has high social and economic costs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.24 million people lose their lives annually in road accidents, and the number of seriously injured exceeds 7.8 million. In a study carried out in Portugal in 2012, the economic costs related to traffic accidents goes up to 2.5 million euros, which represents about 1.54% of the country's GDP. A large number of accidents occur in urban areas, involving especially pedestrians. WHO has pointed out several measures to promote the decrease of the number of accidents, and being speed reduction the first and most important. Several solutions have been developed but the one that has the best results to date are still road humps, managing to decrease the number of pedestrian accidents by more than 40%.

In the media: ObservadorCorreio da ManhãAntena 1;  Jornal Económico , Notícias ao Minuto,  Destak onlineTechitt.

Entrega Prémios ACP Francisco DuarteFrancisco Duarte with Carlos Barbosa (ACP) and Luís Costa e Silva (BP)

pdf Portuguese PR (476 KB)

Guimarães awarded the B.Bus project as the most innovative

1st edition of the DesignDAY aimed to find creative solutions
in the urban mobility sector to implement in the Municipality of Guimarães

B. Bus won the first Guimarães Green Urban Challenge and introduced a new concept of buses for bike users. The contest took place on September 12th and signaled the DesignDAY 2016, an initiative promoted by the MIT Portugal Program, the University of Minho and the Municipality of Guimarães. B.Bus was awarded with a 1500€ prize and its implementation will now be assessed by the city of Guimarães.

The team B.Bus proposed a new method to transporte bikes inside buses which will allow residents of the surrounding villages of the Municipality of Guimarães to bring their bikes into the City area. The method presented may also be adapted to serve as a mobile bike rental station, an idea that earned the distinction of the jury consisting of members from the University of Minho and the Municipality of Guimarães.
The proposal was developed by a multidisciplinary team which included Flávia Barbosa, mechanical engineer and student of the MIT Portugal PhD program in Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing (EDAM) at the University of Minho, Pedro Baptista an undergraduate student in Product Design from the University of Minho and Raquel Figueiredo an MIT Portugal PhD program student in Sustainable Energy System at Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa.

The competition was attended by 30 participants from the entire country with different profiles, from Undergraduate to PhD students, with training in engineering, architecture or design. The challenge presented a unique format since the contestant didn´t need to submit an idea or project when registering. During the day they were able to plan and design their projects in a specific environment that helped them bringing into life new concepts and creative solutions.

In addition to the winning project, two others were awarded with honorable mentions: Cycloud an innovative bicycle lock system with an integrated reward platform, was submitted by Luis Galamba de Carvalho, Nina Costa e Rita Rodrigues, from the MIT EDAM Doctoral program at the University of Porto;

“Bicla do Rei” consists on an integrated mobility platform for the Guimarães region and was developed by Ahmad Alshaghel, Sophia Moraes e Diogo Cunha postgraduate students from the University of Minho in Materials Engineering, Ergonomy and Technology and Digital Art.

The DesignDAY is an initiative that aims to create a platform of emerging ideas that will be evaluated and possibly adopted by the Municipality of Guimarães to contribute to a more sustainable and efficient development. This first edition was dedicated to the urban mobility sector, regarding the City´s upcoming application process to the European Green Capital 2020. Urban mobility and the development of sustainable solutions in the transportation sector remain a huge challenge for modern cities. The continuous growth of population in Cities, the non-sustainable development of transportation systems and the increasing number of automobiles, are a serious environmental, social and economic issue.

For more information about the event please go to:

pdf PR__DesignDAY_2016

Equipa vencedora B.BusProjet B.Bus team awarded by members of MIT Portugal Program, the University of Minho and the Municipality of Guimarães

MIT Portugal Program has a new national director

Pedro Arezes,  Professor of Ergonomics and Human Factors in the Production and Systems Department of the School of Engineering of the University of Minho, was named  National Director of the MIT Portugal Program  at the organisation’s annual conference. Pedro Arezes succeeds at Paulo Ferrão and together with Bruce Tidor, Director of the Program at MIT, he aims to prepare a competitive proposal allowing the program to progress into a third phase in 2018. 

As MIT Portugal celebrates its 10th anniversary, Pedro Arezes cites a need to identify future new areas of research: “MIT Portugal has cultivated new ideas through a close interaction between academia and industry. At the moment we have 3 big projects underway and 30% of their funding comes from private Portuguese investment.  We aim to  continue to work together with universities and industry to identify areas of research likely to have a  strong socioeconomic impact in Portugal and abroad”.

Higher Education is also highlighted by Pedro Arezes: “The biggest advantages of our partnership are enjoyed by our students. We are proud to see MIT Portugal PhDs and Masters’ graduates working in companies and universities in and outside Portugal. We are training students with skills to be competitive professionals anywhere in the world, from the United States and Iceland to Singapore and New Zealand.

Pedro Arezes is a full Professor of Human Factors Engineering at the School of Engineering of the University of Minho and he is a Visiting Fellow at AgeLab’s MIT and Harvard University. He has been leading the MIT Portugal Program EDAM area at University of Minho since 2015. 

Pedro Arezes

In the media

PúblicoRTP Online Minho Online ; Diário DigitalDestakCorreio da Manhã ; Correio do Minho ; RUM - Rádio Universitária do Minho Online ; Porto Canal - Mentes que Brilham 

Portuguese Entrepreneurs to Participate in MIT's International Workshop on Innovating

Innovation copyThe MIT Portugal Program is sending twenty Portuguese entrepreneurs to the MIT campus in Cambridge, Mass., to attend this year’s annual “International Workshop on Innovating.”  From June 13-17th, a group of selected graduate students and entrepreneurs will be immersed in a residential, hands-on program designed for participants from Europe and from MIT. The week-long workshop aims to expose participants to critical elements that lead to an understanding of innovation as a highly interactive endeavor akin to real-world problem solving.

The event is organized by a group of scholars and entrepreneurs led by Douglas Hart, Joao Bigotte, and Nuno Arantes-Oliveira, and is supported by the MIT Portugal Program. One of the aims of  Program is to enhance the innovation ecosystem and support novel educational approaches across Portugal by using MIT’s expertise and excellence in education, research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. According to MIT-based Program Director Bruce Tidor, “Through this workshop, the Program is offering Portuguese entrepreneurs an opportunity for an early immersion into innovation and entrepreneurship that aims to maximize knowledge transfer, strategic decision making, and the translation of technology-based ideas into economic value.”

Participation in the workshop also reinforces MPP’s unique approach to the introduction of innovation into doctoral programs. Portugal-based acting Program Director Pedro Arezes noted that “sixteen of the Portuguese participants are students and researchers affiliated with MIT Portugal, who are planning to start entrepreneurial activities in the near future, along with young entrepreneurs who have started or are in the process of starting their businesses.” Throughout the week, instructors and participants will jointly transform the classroom into a studio for innovating and for fusing theory and practice through interactive lectures, in-class exercises, hands-on out-of-classroom experience, and selected guest lectures.

Building Global Innovators Program Invites Applications

Building Global Innovators (BGI) is looking for its next batch of tech-based entrepreneurs. BGI is an intense global innovation accelerator powered by the unique collaboration of the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE), the MIT Portugal Program, Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, and the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship. The accelerator invites ambitious entrepreneurs and global startups working on a technology-based solution to a global problem to apply. The four research areas of interest are: Medical Devices & Health;  IT, Smart Cities & Industry 4.0 solutions, Enterprise IT & Smart Data; and Water Economy. First call is open until April 30, 2016. 

BGI is directed toward aspiring entrepreneurs and tech-based startups and/or spin-outs (max. 5 years old). In 2015, BGI joined the 100 Top Tech Accelerators featured in the Hot Topics Accelerator 100, the Top 20 EU Accelerators by Fundacity, and the EiT Digital Network. 

In its 7th edition, BGI will accept up to 16 ventures, four at each track.  The teams will be competing for a 100.000€ venture capital investment awarded by Caixa Capital, and an in-kind support valued at €1 million, comprised of a structured 9-month program with over 1,150 hours of expert mentorship & business development per team. The teams will also be involved in acceleration bootcamps at IUL-Lisbon (all teams) and MIT-Boston (selected teams), and can expect continued alumni support for up to 5 years upon graduation. This is a great opportunity to earn international exposure to the top members of the global entrepreneurial and innovation community.

To date, BGI has nearly 70 active alumni companies, which have raised over 73 million euros in financing (69% from venture capital), and created more than 450 high tech jobs and over 14 million euros in accumulated revenues.

Online applications for the 1st phase are open until 30th April, 2016 (first come, first served). The 2nd and last call are open until 5th June, 2016 (remaining vacancies).