Daily blog: 25 November – Innovative institutions

Our second day in Sao Paulo started really early with 5:30 as ’wakey-wakey’ time. After a bus ride that many used to get some additional sleep, our first company visit brought us to CPqD. CPqD simply stands for Center of Research and Development.

On our arrival, we were greeted by Tania Regina Tronco, who works in innovation management. A short introduction video followed by a presentation provided us with information on the institute and its scope of work. A second presentation by a senior researcher provided a deeper insight into their research on optical networks. It was interesting to hear that while CPqD itself operates as a non-profit, the research is market-oriented and aims to develop spin-offs that bring their innovations to customers.

When the presentations of CPqD were finished, our chairman and supervisors held the usual presentation of the study tour and the University of Twente. Normally, the participants use this time to relax after the other presentations, but today it got an interesting twist. At the end of the presentation a typical picture of the dutch tulips is shown. Where we all started to think it is a cliche, it actually appears that nearby Sao Paulo there is a village called Nederland, which actually has fields with tulips like the one of the picture. I think we can speak for everyone, when we say that was a surprise!

Afterwards, we received  a tour of the building, during which we got to see the engineering labs where prototypes are developed. These prototypes are later passed on to the industry for further development and commercialisation. Most of us were quite impressed that they had several hundred meters of optical fibre available for testing their devices.1

Because the first company visit ended ahead of schedule, the bus took us to a short stop at a nearby mall, where we had the opportunity to grab some ice cream or local SIM cards.

After this quick refreshment, we went to the Centro de Tecnologia da Informaco (CTI), the Centre for Information Technology. Here, several presentations related to our study trip themes were held by a variety of professors. This was followed by a tour through their labs, where we got to see their process for 3D-printing protheses. The software for generating 3D models from cat scans was developed in-house and is now available open source. One of the protheses can be seen in the picture below.

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In general, today’s impression of the institutes we visited was quite positive. While not all of us were able to completely grasp the impact of CPqD’s work, the ones who did ensured us that it was impressive. At CTI, we were immediately taken by the fact that they used Ubuntu as their operating system and the level of organisation and coordination between the presentations. After these interesting visits we all enjoyed a nice dinner in Sao Paulo. Let’s hope all the remaining company visits will be this interesting!