pixel Students from FCT-UNL make it to the the finals of the European Innovation Academy | Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

Students from FCT-UNL make it to the the finals of the European Innovation Academy

Students from FCT NOVA developed the PlayDXTR, a project that aims to promote the intelectual development of children.

PlayDXTR na European Innovation Academy 2014

400 students from different countries got together with the purpose of developing several projects in the area of innovation technology. This program, organized by Tallin University in Estonia, Berkeley and Stanford in California, USA, aims to be an accelerator in three weeks. Classes, mentors and several competitions and international knowledge made it worth to travel to the French Riviera.

Sara Carmali and Vasco Caetano, students from the Integrated Master in Civil Engineering at NOVA School of Sciences and Technology, developed in this program a “project that had, as the main purpose, the improvement of the life of children, promotion of  their intellectual development and make it possible for parents to detect in advance any clinical problems (dexterity or cognitive) that their children may have. Although this is not our area of study, we are interested in expanding our mind and acquiring knowledge in different areas, especially in the health area, that approach the cognitive and neurologic abilities”.

PlayDXTR is a pedagogic toy, in the format of a cube made of a physical intelligence associated with two apps that are personalized, with “KidApp” meant for children and “ParentApp” meant for parents. In terms of its architecture and design, the toy consists of a group of 27 cubes (3,5 cm3 each) with four magnetic edges in which electronic equipment is embedded that allows collecting data associated to the form on how the child plays, allowing creativity through simple and complex tasks. It works like a skill trainer that challenges the dexterity and cognitive abilities: children get instructions on what to do with the cubes, depending on their age, and data is collected and stored while they are playing. The information is stored and may be followed through the “ParentApp” by parents, allowing these to follow and intervene in case it is necessary.

This program was promoted in Portugal by the Entrepreneurship’s Office from Universidade NOVA de Lisboa.

Vasco Caetano mentioned that “this program fits perfectly in our academic project, for the challenges it involves and also for providing new competences, getting to know other academic and professional realities and, overall, to spread our horizons, a process that was very driving and rewarding to all of us”.

On a final note, Sara Carmali emphasized that “after three weeks of intense work as a team, not only do we feel that we were able to accomplish our idea and our defined objectives, but also we were able to grow as individuals. It is for sure an experience that we recommend to any of our colleagues”.