PhD Students Shine in BfK Ideas

The Interactive Technologies Institute (ITI) is proud to announce the outstanding performance of our PhD students, Filipa Rocha, Isabel Neto, and Francisco Calisto, in the recent BfK Ideas competition. Their innovative projects, BATS and BreastScreening-AI, secured top positions in their respective categories, demonstrating the institute’s commitment to fostering groundbreaking research and development. Filipa Rocha also got an honourable mention for her project on the Os Melhores & As Maiores do Portugal Tecnológico 2023 awards.

BATS Project: Championing Digital Transition

The BATS project, submitted by Filipa Rocha and Isabel Neto, clinched first place in the Digital Transition category. Their project, known as Block-based Accessible Tangible Programming Systems (BATS), leverages block-based programming language, where developers create sequences of instructions by dragging and dropping blocks on a monitor. In this case, the blocks are adorned with 3D foam icons representing directional movement or speaking functions used to command a robot’s behaviour. Visually impaired children can control the robot through these blocks, like playing a drag-and-drop computer game.

The BATS learning tool prototype was tested remotely with five families of visually impaired children aged 6 to 12. Filipa Rocha established relationships with schools, associations, and families to bring her concept to life. The participating families even provided valuable feedback, suggesting additional blocks for training other concepts such as geography or mathematics. This collaborative approach demonstrates her commitment to making computational thinking accessible to all, particularly visually impaired and blind children. Filipa Rocha is currently pursuing her PhD at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, and Isabel Neto is pursuing her PhD at Instituto Superior Técnico and GAIPs Lab (INESC-ID).

BreastScreening-AI: Advancing Health, Biotechnology, and Food

Francisco Calisto (ITI/ISR) submitted BreastScreening-AI, a startup project that secured second place in the “Health, Biotechnology, and Food” category. The project is at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and AI in medical imaging. It aims to reduce the user burden of interactive technologies for healthcare professionals, patients, and people with disabilities across the design of future applications.

BreastScreening-AI has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare sector. The use of artificial intelligence in breast cancer screening is safe and can almost halve the workload of radiologists. This technology can improve prognosis and reduce mortality by spotting breast cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage. The recognition of BreastScreening-AI in the competition highlights the importance of AI in advancing healthcare and biotechnology. Francisco Calisto is a PhD student at Instituto Superior Técnico (ITI and ISR).

About BfK Ideas

BfK Ideas is an initiative of the Born from Knowledge (BfK) program, promoted by ANI – the National Innovation Agency. The program aims to valorize projects and companies based on the scientific and/or technological knowledge of their promoters. The BfK Ideas competition is designed to showcase, empower, and reward the best business ideas based on scientific and/or technological knowledge from each partner Higher Education Institution.

The ITI congratulates Filipa Rocha, Isabel Neto, and Francisco Calisto on their remarkable achievements in the BfK Ideas competition. Their success underscores the institute’s commitment to promoting innovative research and development that can make a significant impact on society and the economy.

About Os Melhores & As Maiores do Portugal Tecnológico 2023

The seventeenth edition of these awards distinguished researchers entrepreneurs, companies and institutions in different categories of Science and Technlogy. Among those categories was the Social Responsibility Award won by the initiative Seixal Criativo. However, Filipa Rocha’s project also got the jury’s attention, which led them to reward the project with an honourable mention in this category. Filipa Rocha has already won second place in the European Inventors Prize this year.