Three projects developed by PhD students from the MIT Portugal Program (MPP) have just been named winners of TecInnov Thales, a contest sponsored by the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), from the Lisbon University. TecInnov supports the most innovative projects developed by IST students. The proposals submitted by MPP students Pedro Fraga, Carlos Henriques and Paulo Cambra were awarded with funding to develop the projects. These are focused on themes related to energy, mobility and sustainability, key areas of MIT Portugal.
The results achieved in this initiative, which is in its second edition, are the proof of the strong investment made by the MIT Portugal program on areas such as Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technological Change, especially in recent years. According to Pedro Arezes, National Director of the Program "these achievements show the growing effort made by the MIT Portugal Program to strengthen the component of innovation and entrepreneurship in its Doctoral Programs, which is confirmed by the distinction of its students in numerous national competitions and by the creation of more than 20 startups since the program started. "
Pedro Fraga was awarded a 5.000€ prize for his project ASIST (Autonomous System for Inspection of Structures). The MPP PhD student in Leaders for Technical Industries designed a solution to address the difficulties and challenges presented in the inspection of critical infrastructures. ASIST is an integrated solution made of an autonomous drone, a database, a Ground Console and an automatic anomaly detection software, which promises to significantly reduce inspection costs alongside an increase of the reliability and quality of results. ASIST, with a wide range of modern sensors, will automatically detect faults in their early stages of development, that could otherwise go unnoticed, before they become a serious problem with possible implications for the safety or structural integrity of the infrastructure.
The main goal of the proposal submitted by Diogo Henriques, MIT Portugal Program Sustainable Energy Systems PhD student, aims to develop and test an indoor air quality monitoring system to infer occupancy rates, comfort and energy efficiency in buildings and transports, eg. class rooms and buses. This project was awarded 3.960€ for prototyping and proof of concept in the envisioned usage cases.
Finally, the team which includes the student Paulo Cambra of the MPP PhD in Transportation Systems, presented the BikeRider project which received a 3.820€ prize, thanks to a navigation mapping system of cycling routes which allows users to find the most suitable starting point/destination routes. The goal is to set up a cycling profile by collecting data from bicycles and cyclists based on their perception of comfort and safety of the route. Establishing these profiles will hopefully allow to help increase the use of bicycles in urban environment.
This is not the first time that students of the MIT Portugal Program stand out in this competition. In the 1st edition, on April 2017, two teams of MPP students were ranked in the two top places. Mário Alberto Vieira of the EDAM-LTI PhD presented the project AAL2Life (Ambient Assisted Living Integrated Solution) which raised 4.800€ and another work also developed by Paulo Cambra entitled WalkBot (Automated survey of accessibility data pedestrian), received 4.970€.
The competition was launched last year by IST to select the best projects with a maximum prize of 5.000€ per project and a total of 20.000€, in the following areas: Decision-making support, big data, sensors, monitoring/management of crowds, methods to support orientation, interpretation of cognitive descriptions of scenery, methods of graphical interface with humans.