Vítor Santos Costa (CRACS) and Gustavo Carneiro (UTM)

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INESC TEC at the European Researchers’ Night

On 28 September, the University of Porto (U.Porto) organised in Porto the “European Researchers’ Night – NEI 2012”, which was dedicated this year to the theme “The Body”. INESC TEC joined this initiative, which took place simultaneously in more than 30 European countries. At this event, those who visited the Reitoria building of U.Porto had the opportunity to get familiarised with some of the research projects and innovative products developed at the Associate Laboratory.


The first intelligent surveillance robot in the world was developed by INESC TEC’s Robotics and Intelligent Systems Unit (ROBIS), Telecommunications and Multimedia Unit (UTM) and Information and Computer Graphics Systems Unit (USIG), and caught the attention of all visitors who kept trying to interact and communicate with the robot.

“The general public and children in particular were very interested and even fascinated by the robot. These are the researchers of the future and considering that the main objective of the NEI 2012 was to divulge projects, I believe that it was very successful", states João Lisboa Pinto (ROBIS), a member of the team presenting the Surveillance Robot. Nelson Rodrigues considers that the audience gave a “warm welcome” to the robot. “In that relaxed environment it was really interesting to demonstrate the interaction between machines and humans", he adds.


Another project presented by INESC TEC was the “Semantic Pacs” software, which is used in the breast cancer field. Designed by INESC TEC’s Telecommunications and Multimedia Unit (UTM), the project “caught the eye of women mostly”, according to Inês Domingues. The “WalkinSense”, a device developed by Tomorrow Options (an INESC TEC/FEUP spin-off company), was also presented at this edition of NEI 2012.

INESC TEC’s Optoelectronics and Electronic Systems Unit (UOSE) provided a “hands-on” experience to the most curious visitors. “The audience was invited to perform optical fibre fusion similarly to what the telecommunication installers do at our homes”, states Diana Viegas, a researcher at UOSE. The members of UOSE also presented a temperature monitoring system using Bragg networks developed by FiberSensing (an INESC TEC spin-off company). According to Diana Viegas, “this was a wonderful experience which made it possible show visitors what our work is about”.

NEI 3  

Besides INESC TEC, many other scientists from the most prestigious research centres in Portugal participated in this event, displaying the work that they develop daily. According to researcher Inês Domingues, this was also an opportunity to understand “the real impact that these projects have on the population”, something that “is quite encouraging for us as researchers”.

But the NEI 2012 was more than demonstrations and experiments outdoors. The initiative also included a set of concerts where the musicians’ bodies were studied thermographically. Visitors also had the opportunity to visit the different museums at the Reitoria building of the University of Porto.