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first steps

Talents of the future

Sciences and engineering fair stimulates scientific vocations

The trek between a good idea and a good scientific project is a long but highly stimulating one. This was what students from public and private secondary and technical schools discovered when they took part in the 1st Brazilian Fair for Sciences and Engineering (Febrace), promoted by the Integrable Systems Laboratory of the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (Poli-USP). The fair had the objective of stimulating new scientific and technological vocations by means of carrying out creative and innovative projects, as well as drawing public and private schools closer to the universities.

“We want to see the students discovering new things and reinventing scientific solutions for carrying out the projects”, said Roseli de Deus Lopes, Febrace’s general coordinator. 93 of the 150 projects entered were chosen. The rules required them to be presented in writing as well, including an estimate of costs. The criteria took into account creativity, innovation, scientific knowledge and clarity of presentation. The rigorous selection – and the assessment of the ventures – is one of the differentiating elements of Febrace, compared with the other fairs for sciences. Six projects were chosen to represent Brazil at the International Science&Engineering Fair, which will take place from May 11 to 17 in Cleveland, United States, and which gathers together students about to go to university from over 40 countries.

Rogério Batista de Campos, aged 14, from Guajará-Mirim in the state of Rondônia , traveled three days to present his work: a device that simulates the tracks of turtles on sand to inhibit and thwart the action of predators. The most fêted stand was the one of four students from the Jardim Europa State College, in Goiânia, Rodrigo de Araújo Dutra and brothers Wellington, Nickson and Denys Cezar Cabral, who developed a model for a recycling industry and community education. They took six months to collect recycled material and to prepare the project, which includes a mechanical hand to pick up toxic waste, and a model of a works for processing domestic waste that uses the sun and the wind as sources of energy.

The components included an old walkman, the keyboard of a cash register, a deodorant tube, a curtain rail, a mirror frame, a TV antenna and some plastic dolls. The work will be going to the American fair, together with the robot fish created by Francisco Salles de Almeida Júnior, aged 20, and Nei Alcântara Júnior, aged 17, from the Electronics Technical School of Ipaussu (SP). They spent R$ 410 to create a prototype of the aquatic robot, which is 95 centimeters long and weighs 3 kilos, and picks up things from the underwater bed.

Another prize-winning project was the one by Pablo Tinoco da Silva, aged 16, from the Emmanuel Leontsinis Application College, of Rio de Janeiro. He developed a pavement with surfaces with saliences and signs in braille to orientate the visually handicapped. “It is a simple solution to help handicapped people to move around without the help of another person”, he explained.