Covilha, Portugal

University of Beira Interior
Covilha, Portugal

The University of Beira Interior is a public university located in the city of Covilhã, Portugal. It was created in 1979, and has about 7,110 students distributed across a multiplicity of graduation courses, awarding all academic degrees in fields ranging from medicine and biomedical science to aeronautical engineering to mathematics. The university is named after the historical Beira region, meaning Beira Interior the most interior area of Beira, mainly composed by the district of Guarda and the district of Castelo Branco, in today's Centro region. Wikipedia.

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DistalMotion and University of Beira Interior | Date: 2017-07-05

This system is composed by mechanical telemanipulators, with master-slave configurations, working together with suitable solutions for image acquisition and display, which are able to transmit, with optional magnification, images from the surgical area to the surgeon. Therefore, the surgeons capacities and comfort are increased by enhancing the surgeons motor and visual skills as well as the ergonomics while doing different surgical tasks through access incisions on the patient body. Aside from offering improved performance during procedures involving microsurgical techniques, this system also brings safety, intuitiveness, and cost-effectiveness advantages over current alternatives. Due to the compatibility with current visualization systems for microsurgery, together with the light weight and the compact configuration of the mechanical telemanipulator, this surgical system can be very easily brought to and removed from the surgical area, which enables its intermittent use on several surgical procedures requiring microsurgical techniques. Therefore, it does not require drastic changes in the workflow and setup of current operating rooms and can be more easily adopted by several surgical teams.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRADEV-3-2015 | Award Amount: 31.03M | Year: 2015

The nations of Europe are distributed around some of the most complex and dynamic geological systems on the planet and understanding these is essential to the security of livelihoods and economic power of Europeans. Many of the solutions to the grand challenges in the geosciences have been led by European scientists the understanding of stratigraphy (the timing and distribution of layers of sediment on Earth) and the discovery of the concept of plate tectonics being among the most significant. Our ability to monitor the Earth is rapidly evolving through development of new sensor technology, both on- and below-ground and from outer space; we are able to deliver this information with increasing rapidity, integrate it, provide solutions to geological understanding and furnish essential information for decision makers. Earth science monitoring systems are distributed across Europe and the globe and measure the physico-chemical characteristics of the planet under different geological regimes. EPOS will bring together 24 European nations and combine national Earth science facilities, the associated data and models together with the scientific expertise into one integrated delivery system for the solid Earth. This infrastructure will allow the Earth sciences to achieve a step change in our understanding of the planet; it will enable us to prepare for geo-hazards and to responsibly manage the subsurface for infrastructure development, waste storage and the use of Earths resources. With a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) to be located in Rome (Italy), EPOS will provide an opportunity for Europe to maintain world-leading European Earth sciences and will represent a model for pan-European federated infrastructure.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IRSES | Award Amount: 707.70K | Year: 2013

This is a project for a partnership between leading Brazilian and European research groups in dynamical systems, a prominent subject in mathematics. An extensive consortium of European and Brazilian institutions will collaborate to provide world leading critical mass and support for research on the very forefront of the field. Work Packages reflect parallel priorities in the research. Transfer of knowledge is facilitated by two large conferences and five smaller workshops. The project has excellent strategic value in view of the development of closer ties in higher education and research between the European Research Area and Brazil.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2014 | Award Amount: 621.00K | Year: 2015

The construction sector, currently in crises in some countries due to the economic development model adopted during last decades, can again play an important role for the European economy to be more innovative by using fewer resources (raw materials and energy) and reducing environmental impact (emission of greenhouse gases and dust pollution). Access to raw materials and resource efficiency are at the forefront of the EU political debate and recycling is a main part of the solution of many strategic objectives. It addresses resource scarcity and enhances security of material supply, while contributing to higher energy efficiency and lower environmental impacts. Moreover, recycling offers significant investment, innovation and employment opportunities in the EU. In this context, this RISE programme aims to promote international and inter-sector collaboration through research and innovation staff exchanges, share knowledge and ideas from research to market (and vice-versa) for the advancement of science and the development of innovation within the recycling and valorization of mining and quarrying wastes which represent 27% of the EU total waste generated from economic activities and households, promote utilization of innovative geopolymeric materials in the construction sector, and foster a shared culture of research and innovation that welcomes and rewards creativity and entrepreneurship and helps turn creative ideas into innovative products, services or processes in the materials industry through recycling mining wastes, by taking advantage of the integrated knowledge acquired in the complementary areas of the RISE partners. In this scenario, this RISE action aims at taking advantage of the recent developments in the areas of materials science, processing engineering, structural engineering, infrastructure systems, arts and design and market perspectives, turning mining waste into valuable materials for infrastructure and building products.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENERGY.2012.7.1.1 | Award Amount: 5.26M | Year: 2012

A large share of the recent renewable energy sources (RES) installed capacity has already taken place in insular electricity grids, since these regions are preferable due to their high RES potential. However, the increasing share of RES in the generation mix of insular power systems presents a big challenge in the efficient management of the insular distribution networks, mainly due to the limited predictability and the high variability of renewable generation, features that make RES plants non-dispatchable, in conjunction with the relevant small size of these networks. The Smart Grid initiative, integrating advanced sensing technologies, intelligent control methods and bi-directional communications into the contemporary electricity grid, provides excellent opportunities for energy efficiency improvements and better integration of distributed generation, including RES such as wind and photovoltaic systems, coexisting with centralized generation units within an active network.SINGULAR investigates the effects of large-scale integration of renewables and demand-side management on the planning and operation of insular electricity grids, proposing efficient measures, solutions and tools towards the development of a sustainable and smart grid. Different network operation procedures and tools, based on innovative approaches of predictive electricity network operation, will be developed.A set of electricity network planning procedures and tools will also be developed to implement robust insular electricity network planning.The goal is the generation of effective solutions and information so that the integration of insular and highly variable energy resources is maximized. The operation and planning tools and procedures will be applied in different insular electricity grids in five countries across Europe for extensive demonstration, allowing the development of generalized guides of procedures and grid codes specific for future generation of smart insular electricity grids.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: AAT.2012.6.3-1.;AAT.2012.6.3-2. | Award Amount: 780.85K | Year: 2013

The CROP project introduces an innovative propulsion system for aircrafts based on the cycloidal rotor concept, using an integrated approach that includes the electric drive train, airframe integration and an environmental friendly energy source. The CROP system is supported on a multiphysics approach: 1. The high thrust is obtained by unsteady-based cycloidal rotor operation; 2. The development of low-weight electric power drives for the system; 3. Airframe re-design to accomplish optimum integration of the cycloidal propulsor; 4. Environmental friendly energy source based on hydrogen and photovoltaic cells. The strengths of the CROP concept are: - High thrust levels: by using unsteady airflows - Low weight: using an integrated design approach between airframe and cycloidal propulsor - Environmental friendly: because it is based on green energy power sources. The revolutionary CROP propulsion concept will introduce new air-vehicle concepts, overcoming traditional limitation on short take-off and landing, including hovering capability.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.82M | Year: 2016

This proposal was developed in the context of the medical need to tackle the clinical consequences of obesity-related diseases more holistically. Dysregulation of common molecular pathways that govern the physiological functioning of adipocytes, immune cells and prostate epithelium cells have been reported in immuno-metabolic disease (such as obesity) and several cancers. The individual projects described in the proposal will investigate regulators of these pathways with a focus on a recently described family of pseudokinases, namely tribbles proteins, which have a key role in controlling immunity, metabolism and cancer, and which here will serve as prototypical examples for integrative metabolocentric cancer research. Tribbles are envisaged to contribute directly to the development and progression of prostate cancer, the prognosis of which is substantially worsened in individuals with immuno-metabolic disease. We therefore propose a multidisciplinary research-training programme with an overall objective to uncover cell-specific aspects of tribbles-mediated control of immuno-metabolism and their impact on prostate cancer progression. We will approach this by integrating cell biology and sophisticated in vivo models of both immuno-metabolic disease and prostate cancer, complemented by specialist human disease biobanks, cutting-edge genomics approaches, plus a drug discovery pipeline. This will be carried out by an alliance of leading academic research groups and specialist SMEs with complementary backgrounds in inflammation, adipose tissue biology, tumourigenesis, genomics, translational models of human disease, medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. This will provide a unique opportunity for a cohort of PhD students to undertake Research Training at the interface of several disciplines and sectors, thereby gaining a diverse portfolio of R&D expertise and transferrable skills as well as exposure to several non-academic career pathways.

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that may arise from diet habits and is growing to epidemic proportions. Young male diabetic patients present high infertility/subfertility prevalence resulting from impaired reproductive function and poor semen quality. We aimed to evaluate the effects of a high-energy diet (HED) on glucose tolerance/insulin levels and correlate the observed effects on male reproductive function with overall testicular metabolism. After 1 month, HED fed rats showed increased glycaemic levels, impaired glucose tolerance and hypoinsulinaemia. Moreover, an imbalance of intratesticular and serum testosterone levels was observed, whereas those of 17β-estradiol were not altered. High-energy diet also affected the reproductive parameters, with HED rats exhibiting a significant increase in abnormal sperm morphology. Glycolytic metabolism was favoured in testicles of HED rats with an increased expression of both glucose transporters 1 (GLUT1) and 3 (GLUT3) and the enzyme phosphofrutokinase 1. Moreover, lactate production and the expression of metabolism-associated genes and proteins involved in lactate production and transport were also enhanced by HED. Alanine testicular content was decreased and thus intratesticular lactate/alanine ratio in HED rats was increased, suggesting increased oxidative stress. Other energetic substrates such as acetate and creatine were not altered in testis from HED rats, but intratesticular glycine content was increased in those animals. Taken together, these results suggest that HED induces a pre-diabetic state that may impair reproductive function by modulating overall testicular metabolism. This is the first report on testicular metabolic features and mechanisms related with the onset of a pre-diabetic state. © 2013 American Society of Andrology and European Academy of Andrology.

Silva B.M.,University of Beira Interior
Journal of medical Internet research | Year: 2013

Mobile Health (mHealth) proposes health care delivering anytime and anywhere. It aims to answer several emerging problems in health services, including the increasing number of chronic diseases, high costs on national health services, and the need to provide direct access to health services, regardless of time and place. mHealth systems include the use of mobile devices and apps that interact with patients and caretakers. However, mobile devices present several constraints, such as processor, energy, and storage resource limitations. The constant mobility and often-required Internet connectivity also exposes and compromises the privacy and confidentiality of health information. This paper presents a proposal, construction, performance evaluation, and validation of a data encryption solution for mobile health apps (DE4MHA), considering a novel and early-proposed cooperation strategy. The goal was to present a robust solution based on encryption algorithms that guarantee the best confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of users health information. In this paper, we presented, explained, evaluated the performance, and discussed the cooperation mechanisms and the proposed encryption solution for mHealth apps. First, we designed and deployed the DE4MHA. Then two studies were performed: (1) study and comparison of symmetric and asymmetric encryption/decryption algorithms in an mHealth app under a cooperation environment, and (2) performance evaluation of the DE4MHA. Its performance was evaluated through a prototype using an mHealth app for obesity prevention and cares, called SapoFit. We then conducted an evaluation study of the mHealth app with cooperation mechanisms and the DE4MHA using real users and a real cooperation scenario. In 5 days, 5 different groups of 7 students selected randomly agreed to use and experiment the SapoFit app using the 7 devices available for trials. There were 35 users of SapoFit that participated in this study. The performance evaluation of the app was done using 7 real mobile devices in 5 different days. The results showed that confidentiality and protection of the users' health information was guaranteed and SapoFit users were able to use the mHealth app with satisfactory quality. Results also showed that the app with the DE4MHA presented nearly the same results as the app without the DE4MHA. The performance evaluation results considered the probability that a request was successfully answered as a function of the number of uncooperative nodes in the network. The service delivery probability decreased with the increase of uncooperative mobile nodes. Using DE4MHA, it was observed that performance presented a slightly worse result. The service average was also slightly worse but practically insignificantly different than with DE4MHA, being considered negligible. This paper proposed a data encryption solution for mobile health apps, called DE4MHA. The data encryption algorithm DE4MHA with cooperation mechanisms in mobile health allow users to safely obtain health information with the data being carried securely. These security mechanisms did not deteriorate the overall network performance and the app, maintaining similar performance levels as without the encryption. More importantly, it offers a robust and reliable increase of privacy, confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of their health information. Although it was experimented on a specific mHealth app, SapoFit, both DE4MHA and the cooperation strategy can be deployed in other mHealth apps.

Proenca H.,University of Beira Interior
IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence | Year: 2010

Iris recognition imaging constraints are receiving increasing attention. There are several proposals to develop systems that operate in the visible wavelength and in less constrained environments. These imaging conditions engender acquired noisy artifacts that lead to severely degraded images, making iris segmentation a major issue. Having observed that existing iris segmentation methods tend to fail in these challenging conditions, we present a segmentation method that can handle degraded images acquired in less constrained conditions. We offer the following contributions: 1) to consider the sclera the most easily distinguishable part of the eye in degraded images, 2) to propose a new type of feature that measures the proportion of sclera in each direction and is fundamental in segmenting the iris, and 3) to run the entire procedure in deterministically linear time in respect to the size of the image, making the procedure suitable for real-time applications. © 2010 IEEE.

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