Last February 15 Dr. Guilherme d´ Oliveira Martins, Administrator of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, was in IT in Lisbon for the inauguration of the new QuTe Lab – Quantum Technologies Laboratory of the PIQT - Physics of Information and Quantum Technologies Group.
“Among other things, this laboratory is investigating free space quantum communications”, says Yasser Omar, Professor in the Department of Mathematics of IST and the coordinator of PIQT.
The QuTe Lab will serve the Gulbenkian Programme New Talents in Quantum Technologies, a innovative program that was developed jointly between PIQT and the Serviço de Bolsas da Gulbenkian. These scholarships are designed to support undergraduate and masters students (in Physics, Mathematics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, among others) from Portuguese universities in the development of a small study and research project in quantum computing, quantum communications, metrology and quantum sensors, or other related areas. Students don´t need to have previous knowledge in Physics of Quantum Technologies since the program guarantees they will receive all the necessary training.
From helping researchers prototype rehabilitation systems for patients with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to empowering companies in the creation of next-generation AI-based cardiovascular diagnostic systems, low-cost toolkit BITalino is having quite a transformative role within the medical community. No big news there, since the kit was designed in part to achieve these very same purposes.
However, it is actually spearheading an even deeper revolution, in which physiological sensing, before mostly bound to specialized clinical facilities, is now making its way into other areas. The examples are stacking up rapidly, and couldn’t be more diverse.
Body(e)scape (https://vimeo.com/136944173) by Luca Forcucci, Crystal Sepúlveda & Cheryl Leonard, is a live performance where otherwise unnoticed physiological sources, are relayed to the audience in the form of sounds that enrich the overall artistic expressivity of a dancer on stage.
In the field of AR, Artizan Novi Sad created ReactiFI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9YLrc5mVeM), an environment where designers can interactively sculpt models with some of the parameters dynamically controlled by inputs from their cardiovascular and sympathetic nervous system responses.
Barcelonese interaction design studio ProtoPixel, converted a whole room into an immersive biofeedback space dubbed The Glitch Chamber (https://vimeo.com/98075534), which “responds” in real time to the visitor’s excitement state in the form of audio and visual cues.
Perhaps one of the most iconic projects of them all has been the Most Open Test Drive in the World (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFtNSiSuYhg), a PR stunt by car manufacturer Smart, where drivers are matched with very nosy passengers and their physiological responses monitored to detect hints of deception when daring questions are asked.
A world of possibilities is unfolding for physiological sensing, well beyond the standard medical domain. IT is at the epicenter of this movement through the work developed by the Pattern and Image Analysis group, where several projects coordinated by Professors Ana Fred and Hugo Silva balance fundamental with applied research and promote initiatives of knowledge transfer to industry.
Photo: The Glitch Chamber