Smart cane, tattoo for diabetics and nitrous oxide recycling win Entrepreneurship at FCT NOVA


Last February 24, the winners of the Entrepreneurship Grand Final of NOVA School of Science and Technology were announced. The 2023 edition allowed about 1000 students, over the course of five weeks, to accelerate and materialize an idea into a market solution with the support of 22 professors and about 50 mentors from the national entrepreneurial ecosystem.

"It is a pleasure to see the imagination of our students, and to witness what they can achieve based on the sciences and engineering that are taught in this house", says José Júlio Alferes, Dean of FCT NOVA.

The big winner was the Easy Walk project. The team designed a device that uses ultrasonic sensors to integrate with  traditional walking sticks and facilitate the mobility of blind people, detecting potential objects at any distance from the ground. With integrated GPS and a free application, the device additionally includes an SOS button for emergency situations. The solution was developed by students Ricardo Cutileiro, Beatriz Franco, Rita Nunes, Ricardo Carvalho and Gonçalo Santos.

The second place went to GlucoInk team. This team develoolped a low-cost solution that, through a tattoo, allows to analyse the glucose levels in patients with diabetes. In 2019 it was reported that there are more than 400 million people with diabetes worldwide, and the current systems for monitoring glucose levels in patients are invasive or high cost and inaccessible to most people. The project aims to develop a tattoo that changes colour depending on the user's glucose level. It lasts up to six days and is painless for the patient. The team was formed by students Daniela Vargas, Alice Dias, Renato Bonito, Carolina Lopes and Tiago Cortez, from the Master's degrees in Micro and Nanotechnology, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomaterials and Nanomedicine.

NitroHacks was also one of the winning projects of this year's edition. Developed by a team of Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Micro and Nanotechnology students (Rodrigo Marques, Ana Filipa Carvalho, Beatriz Lobo, Joana Torcato and Margarida Laires), this is a solution that aims to respond to the problem of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas and one of the leading causes of the worsening of the greenhouse effect. This team has designed the prototype of a membrane that captures this gas, improving the environment and facilitating access to raw material opportunities such as fertilisers and helping to promote the circular economy.

"Education today should seriously consider entrepreneurship as a fundamental characteristic. The conception of technological and sustainable business ideas and the ability to communicate these ideas through a 3-minute elevator-pitch are skills that contribute to preparing our students for a competitive market,"explains Fernanda Llussá, Professor at the Department of Aplied Social Sciences, who coordinates this edition together with Aneesh Zutshi, professor at the Department of Mechanical and Industrail Engeneering. "At FCT NOVA we believe that entrepreneurship and soft skills are crucial, and that is why we have a Curricular Profile where these skills are developed in all master courses", adds Aneesh Zutshi.

"In this course unit students learn to generate value from knowledge",says Eurico Cabrita, Vice-Dean for Innovation and Research.

The three winning teams of this edition were distinguished with monetary prizes, worth 2,500 euros for 1st place, 1,500 euros for 2nd place and 750 euros for 3rd place. Prizes were also awarded by the five companies that sponsored and supported the programme this year.

  • ASSECO selected Immunosticker, a new vaccination solution. Immunosticker is a hydrogel sticker with micro needles. By sticking the sticker on the skin for a period of approximately five minutes, the active ingredient of the vaccine is transmitted to the person. This solution is primarily targeted at more impoverished countries where there is a lack of medical personnel in more isolated areas. The stickers are easier to carry and administer than current traditional vaccines;

  • Jerónimo Martins chose the Food Biotechnology project SELLFRESH, an intelligent yoghurt package that depending on the colour of the package indicates if the product is in condition to be consumed, apart from not interfering with the characteristics of the food and being biodegradable;

  • Finally, NTT DATA and EY opted for the Civil Engineering project Volight Glass, which proposes an intelligent glass that seeks to overcome the issue of excessive light incidence. The proposed solution consists of the junction of a photovoltaic glass and a smart glass - while the photovoltaic absorbs light and transforms it into energy, the smart glass adapts the opacity of the glass according to the light projected onto the window. This solution not only replaces a series of curtains, but also saves energy.

Easy Walk, winner of the first prize, was also considered the best project by NOS, in the section of prizes awarded by companies.

This year the best promotional videos promoted by the participating teams were also distinguished,with the BioSyringe team being the great winner. You can see the winning video here.

"This event is a long celebration, the result of the students's long and hard work", says António Grilo, chairman of the Department of Engineering and Industrial Mechanics.

The jury of the Entrepreneurship Programme was composed of Rui Tomás (Jerónimo Martins), Miguel Lúcio (ASSECO), Pedro Fonseca (NTT DATA), José Pedro Teixeira (NOS) and João Pestana Pires (EY).

José Júlio Alferes, Dean of FCT NOVA

Eurico Cabrita, Vice-Dean for Innovation and Research


António Grilo, Chairman of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engeneering

Aneesh Zutshi e Fernanda Llussá, coordinators of this edition of Entrepreneurship 

David Olim, CEO FootAR

Emma Paulo, President of in.NOVA

The Juri 


Dispositivo ultrassónico para invisuais vence programa de empreendedorismo da FCT NOVA, O Almandense