Within the 22nd edition of the program “Ciência Viva no Laboratório - Ocupação Científica de Jovens nas Férias”, IT organised once again two internships, in Lisbon and Covilhã, with the aim of capturing the interest of high-school students for telecommunications. In both courses students were immersed in the research and development being done at IT, allowing them to “get into the skin” of telecommunications engineers and learn more about their daily activities.
In Lisbon, between 2-6 July, IT and IST hosted for the 7th time the INTELE (Introduction to Telecommunications). The trainees visited the laboratories, attended experimental sessions and set up "kits" for FM broadcast receivers and optical communications. As in previous editions, the hands-on activities like the assembling of the kits and the direct contact with the techniques of manufacture and testing of printed circuits were big favourites. Other activities such as the session “Desmistifying the Internet”, learning the theory about electromagnetic waves or the visit to the Faraday Museum also gathered the general enthusiasm of the young trainees.
In Covilhã, between 25-29 June IT and the Faculdade de Engenharia – University of Beira Interior (UBI) jointly organised the course “Initiation to Electronics and Telecommunications”. The trainees learned about the innovative applications of electronics and communication networks being developed in IT, as well as the main research and technological challenges for the development of mobile and wireless communications in the century XXI. In the activities that took place in the laboratory, trainees put theory to the test with the assembly of electronic kits, basic techniques of printed circuit production, experimental realization of received power measurements, binary output and other relevant measures in 4G and 5G mobile systems.
The main goal of the project SheepIT is to improve an ancient and ecological weeding practice, consisting in the use of animals, usually ovines, to graze the vineyards, eliminating the unwanted weeds and fertilizing the soil. As sheep tend to feed also on grapes and lower branches of the vines, causing significant production losses, project SheepIT is developing an autonomous mechanism that aims to control the sheep’s posture and location. The goal is to keep them within designated areas and prevent them from eating fruits and vine branches. Whenever the system detects an incorrect posture it emits a sound followed by an electrostatic stimuli. Associating the sound with the stimuli makes the sheep revert the behavior as soon as they hear the sound. After 3minutes they stop trying to eat above the defined height. And within 15minutes they just eat what they´re supposed to and the electrostatic stimuli ceases. The system relies on IoT concepts to monitor and control the animals. Data concerning the behavior and physical condition of each animal is sent, in real-time, to a cloud platform. This allows human operators to oversee the flock status, namely browsing the collected data about animals and equipment. It also allows deploying algorithms to process the data and detect abnormal situations, such as health conditions, lost animals or predator attacks, generating automatic alarms when such events occur.
The system architecture was designed in order to provide a flexible and adaptable solution regardless of the vineyard’s size and shape. Moreover, the human intervention is maintained at a low level, being only indispensable for setting up the devices. The system includes a portable electronic collar, carried by the sheep, responsible for monitoring and controlling its behavior; fixed beacons, installed in vineyards, responsible for interconnecting the network devices, defining the virtual fence placement and supporting the collar’s relative localization; a gateway device, that aggregates data from all the beacons and uploads it to the cloud; and a cloud application, responsible for gathering all the collected data and make it available to the user.