After a long drive from Ubatuba, we arrived at the hostel Residenza Mantovani in Sao Paulo at approximately 1:30 AM. Everyone tried to get some sleep from all past cultural activities before we would continue the study tour in the early morning.
The 24th of November started with another bus drive to the first institute in Sao Paulo: FIT – Instituto de Technologia. FIT works together with Flextronics to create innovative solutions for the consumer market. In the opening lecture, the different areas of expertise were discussed. Most of these areas where closely related to our research tracks, which made it very interesting to see how they would apply the kind of research we did to actual products.
After the introduction, we received a tour around the facility. We were given an insight in the different parts of the institute and saw a few demos. In the RFID lab for example, we got an overview of the possibilities of using RFID tags in both consumer products and business processes, such as logistics or manufacturing. One of the products consisted of a wine shelf, where a monitor would display information about a certain wine bottle when it was taken off the shelf, as well as displaying the current amount of bottles in the inventory. Another product did essentially the same thing but with books. In the automation lab, they showed us a portable heart monitor which could detect irregularities in a person’s heart rate and predict a heart attack 5 hours in advance.
After the tour we had lunch at the local cafeteria. Much like at Embraer, this gave us the option to mix with the workers at FIT. When everyone had gathered enough energy again, we continued our trip to USP, the University of Sao Paulo.
At the university, we were first greeted by professor Moacyr Martucci, who gave us an introduction of USP. As it turns out, the university is much larger than most of us expected. With over 80.000 students and hundreds of employees, it is one of the biggest universities in Latin America. He also talked about the international collaboration with other institutes in Europe and the importance of these relations. Creating a collaborative international PhD program was one of the items on his agenda as we discussed the advantages and challenges of such a program.
Next up, Gabriel Marão and João Neves from the IoT Forum (Internet of Things) gave a presentation about the current state of activities in the area of Internet of Things. They stressed the importance of IoT for the future and how they are currently trying to improve its focus in universities and research institutes. After this presentation, we attended a workshop where Leonardo Campos and Jorge Rady talked about respectively Internet of Things and Big Data & Security. Both talks gave an introduction to the subject and explained what the university does in these fields.
Since we had some time left after the presentations, we went on a small tour around one of the buildings on the university campus, which was a very interesting experience. While we waited for the bus to arrive, we had the chance to see some of the classrooms and one of the auditoriums.
When we arrived back at the hostel, most of us grabbed some food in the local restaurants and went to bed early since the next day we had to get up early again. Some of us however took this opportunity to find a store that sells mobile sim-cards so they could make cheaper calls and use cellular internet. This proved to be quite difficult though, mostly because of the language barrier, but also because most stores where out of stock on the preferred card. Some failed, some succeeded, but in any case this day was an interesting experience.