Campus and Community

TecStorm left a trail of innovation

Junitec organised the second edition of TecStorm where several innovations have been implemented, thus making the event even more successful.

Tecstorm, a national event organised by Junitec and inspired by hackathon events, took place from 2nd to 4th March at the Pavilion of Knowledge.

The 15 participating teams were quite heterogeneous, not only in terms of training areas but essentially in the way they manage their own pressure after the 48 hours of competition. The participants came from all parts of the country, but a great majority were Técnico students. The participation in this year’s edition were completely free, even for those who came from a long way. “We wanted to reach the whole country and all areas. We defined strategies so that everyone interested in this event could come. We supported all expenses related to the participation”, says Gil Coelho, TecStorm’s project manager. In total, 27 teams applied to the challenge but only the selected teams had the opportunity to develop a prototype using 3D printers, oscilloscopes, welding stations, Raspberry Pi and Breadboards.

There are several differences between TecStorm 2018 and last year’s edition. “We wanted to held TecStorm in the most incredible space, a place related to science and technology. We tried to see if there was any chance to organise the event at the pavilion of knowledge and we succeeded”, shares the TecStorm’s project manager. TecStorm2018 has two categories: “creative” and “social”. The first one gathers the presentation of high tech projects; the second one is implemented in partnership with Patient Innovation. The teams competing in this category had “access to real patients problems” and were challenged to choose and solve some of them. Besides the creation of a prototype, the participants had to prepare a business plan and a pitch for the final presentation. “In order to enhance the presentations and, as we have a lot of engineering students, we provide participants with training”, says Gil Coelho. “In addition, each team was also entitled to a mentoring session, which helped them to devise strategies”, he added.

The 5 teams competing in the “social” category presented their projects: a device that allows to track lost objects, systems that assess the need of changing diapers and that allow gas detection were some of the projects presented to a jury composed of Inês Sequeira, representative of Santa Casa da Misericórdia, Luís Jerónimo from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Juvenal Baltazar from Fundação Afid.

The projects presented in the “creative” category were related to sports, energy efficiency and health. The jury was composed of Teresa Fernandes, Head of Innovation at Farfetch, Telmo Coito, Marketing Product Manager at Vodafone, Jorge Portugal, General Manager at COTEC Portugal and Marco Galinha, CEO at Grupo Bel, who shared improvement strategies and future perspectives.

The winners were the project “Hack_a_game” in the “social” category and the team “A lebre” in the “creative” category. In both categories, besides the prize money, the winning teams will have access to Gulbenkian’s Bootcamp and Vodafone PowerLab.

The event was attended by the President of the Portuguese Republic, professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, professor Manuel Heitor, who encouraged the project and highlighted “the importance of such competitions once they are an opportunity for growth”. Gil Coelho closed the event saying “Tecstorm is the beginning of something and now it’s up to you to carry on.”