“Is this all done at Técnico?” – this was the student most common question after visiting the Técnico main exhibition stand, at the International Science Festival (FIC.A), this Thursday, October 14. The Técnico Solar Boat prototype was the highlight of this day and attracted dozens of curious people.
FIC.A celebrated Science, curiosity and creativity through an innovative and free program. The festival brought together academic, scientific, technological, diplomatic, governmental and non-governmental entities. The activities were designed to attract different generations. Morning and early afternoon activities were more addressed to schools.
Participants were invited to travel through the numerous activities spread around the Marquês de Pombal Palace gardens, located in Oeiras. Técnico led some of the activities aimed at schools and hands-on activities aimed at all visitors.
The FST-Lisboa and TL Moto prototypes, the Fusion Robot (ISR-Lisboa), the first Portuguese nanosatellite (IT), the platform developed by the Social Innovation Lab at Instituto Superior Técnico – SILAB, the Técnico Fuel Cell, GameDev Técnico, INESC-MN‘s Spintronics demonstrations, CEG-IST projects, technology (IT) and bioengineering (iBB) experiments, represented Técnico in the Festival.
The different age groups had the opportunity to participate in the activities organized by ROB9-16 and learn more about programming, cryptography, welding and biodiversity.
“I would like to study at Técnico”, says the secondary school student Rita Fernandes, who visited the Técnico exhibition stand and clarified her doubts with NAPE students. “Técnico is a very prestigious school and the graduate employability is very high”, she adds. “I’ve already collected information about Aerospace Engineering courses, but this one at Técnico really meets my expectations, maybe because it focus on many Space-related subjects”, she stresses.
Social Robotics and Artificial Intelligence captivate children’s and adults’ attention
Timothy Caulfield (Canadian), producer of NETFLIX’s “A User’s Guide to Cheating Death”, Thomas Lovejoy (North-American), father of biological diversity, Barry Fitzgerald (Irish), author and communicator who explores the science behind the super-heroes, Amy Stewart, New York Times bestselling author, and Naomi Oreskes, professor of the History of Science at Harvard University, were some prestigious speakers who shared their knowledge and research work, along with many Técnico scientists.
The INESC-ID researcher Filipa Correia gave a lecture on social robots and showed some examples that can be found in Técnico laboratories. “A social robot uses its sensors to interpret people’s social behavior or its actuators to act socially”, she said.
“One thing is certain: technology will always evolve faster, and with more unexpected results than in the past”, said Arlindo Oliveira, Técnico professor and INESC- ID researcher, at the start of a lecture on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The Técnico professor talked about the applications and implications of AI, its evolution over time, especially in the last two decades: “There has been a growing interest in this area, in particular the emergence of the deep neural networks “.
Professor Arlindo Oliveira highlighted “AI has many subfields and includes search algorithms, reasoning, the entire area of natural language processing, visual perception, interaction, robotics, and above all machine learning”. Different lines of research are being explored: the synthetic approach that involves producing intelligence in “a way that is not a copy of the human brain”; and “more bioinspired approaches aiming to reproduce brain data as closely as possible”, he added.
The Técnico professors Zita Martins (Centro de Química Estrutural – CQE), Maria do Rosário Partidário (Center for Management Studies – CEG), Tânia Ramos (CEG), Hugo Silva (IT), Tiago Fernandes (iBB) and Yasser Omar (IT), also participated at FiC.A.