Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge 2016 selects the best scientific ideas



An interface for 3D medical image manipulation and a robotic platform able to develop complex tasks in the marine environment are the winners of the 7th edition of the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge.

The Closing Event took place on October 26, with awards to the six finalists (three in each category).

Best Ideas in the PhD category

1st Prize (3.000€): Miguel Duarte (University Institute of Lisbon) - "Bringing Artificial Intelligence for Swarm Robotics Systems to the Real World"

Earth’s waterbodies are the basis for a lot of economic activity. Maritime missions are, however, expensive to carry out. While complex unmanned vehicles have the potential to reduce the cost, they are still expensive to acquire and operate. Miguel Duarte proposes the use of swarm robotics systems, which are composed of many simple and inexpensive units. In his work, he studied and applied novel control synthesis techniques to enable swarm robotics systems to be used in the real world.

2nd Prize (1.500€): Helena Pereira (University of Coimbra) - "Non-Invasive Assessment of Cardiovascular Condition using Vibro-Accelerometric Devices"

Helena Pereira’s research set out to explore new instrumental paradigms for cardiovascular condition evaluation that could support, at a later stage, an efficient clinical tool in the detection and control of individuals at cardiovascular risk. The main directions established to accomplish this aim were: developing an innovative generation of electromechanical based probes; building dedicated bench test systems; developing signal processing algorithms and running a set of bench/in-vivo tests.

3rd Prize (1.000€): Marco Santos (University of Aveiro) - "The new concept model is instrumented active orthopedic implants"

A new concept model for instrumented orthopaedic implants is proposed by Marco Santos. A self-powered instrumented active implant controlled by clinicians capable of delivering personalized biophysical stimuli to target tissue areas was presented at the Closing Event. Such innovation is demanded as current implants are not able to ensure long-term implant survival. A new cosurface capacitive system was designed by the researcher for the implementation of novel and innovative personalized stimulatory therapies based on the delivery of electric fields to bone cells


Best Ideas in the MSc Category


1st Prize (2.000€): Pedro Parreira (IST-Lisbon University) - "Novel Spatial Interaction Techniques for Exploring 3D Medical Images"

Analysing 3D medical images and the anatomical structures they contain, demands visualization from any desired perspective. Although conventional methods use mouse and keyboard based controls, it can still be a difficult task, mainly because a 2D interface is used to interact with a 3D object. Pedro Parreira proposes in his work a spatial interface based on touchless hand gestures to control a 3D image giving the user control of the volume as if they were interacting with a real physical object.


2nd Prize (1.000€): Bernardo Marques (University of Aveiro) - "Physiology assessment tool using Virtual Reality"

Bernardo Marques used a Virtual Reality (VR) gamification approach to physiological assessment, by modulating the response of spider phobic individuals using levels with different VR stimulus exposure supporting hand interaction, with the virtual reality environment - spiders included. The individual’s reaction is acquired synchronously for post processing. The solution is affordable and portable for use outside the laboratory.


3rd Prize (500€): Jorge Lima (University of Porto) - "Argumentation in the Resolution of Passenger Problems using Mobile Devices"

The system presented by Jorge Lima allows any disrupted passenger in a airline company to participate in the resolution of his problem, such as delays, through a mobile application. Along with the server containing a multi-agent system the mobile application allows the user to receive and analyse several alternatives to his disrupted flight. There, he can argue with an intelligent agent if whether or not he likes the offered proposals, in order to get an optimal solution, both for the disrupted passenger and the airline.