The GTI present at the 12th Fira Recerca en Directe

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A small room in the chapel of the historic building in the Universitat de Barcelona (UB), hosted the twelve edition of the Fira Recerca en Directe, during the 8th , 9th and 10th of April (this year). The exhibition was organized by the Parc Cientific de Barcelona, the UB and the collaboration of the Obra Social La Caixa. It aimed at contributing to the scientific culture of our society, opening a public space where the scientific researchers could share their knowledge to a non-expert audience.

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Freeplay, a Spontaneous Activity

One research line at the GTI (lead by Josep Blat and Andrea Rosales) has been studying about the relationship between interactive technologies and children’s development. Freeplay is a non-structured activity where children spontaneously experiment with their imagination, incorporating amazing ways of using everyday objects, which is positive for creativity and children’s development.

However, an increasing number of children nowadays are having difficulties in enjoying this kind of play during everyday activities, specially because of the generalized use of entertaining systems based on screens, the rising number of extra-curricular activities (linked to academic goals), and the over exposition to structured games and guided entertaining.

 

WearableSounds, Contributing to Physical, Creative and Social Play

Apart from the screen based entertaining, the GTI has been researching about how to use sensing and reactive technologies for designing devices that triggers physical, creative and social play.

In consequence, the designing focus has been placed on objects without a clear functionality, objects that are open to different interpretations in order to stimulate creative ways for experimenting and finding new uses and original activities. The GTI had developed a series of playful accessories, such as WearableSounds; devices that can be worn and enables the persons to play with sounds produced by the movement of the body.

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The audience was delighted to enjoy with the creative experience, by choosing a place in their body to wear the sensors, selecting a sound to experiment, and to move freely. Some researchers (such as Juan Tirado and José Lavilla) invited the audience to bring new ideas for using these devices in everyday life; a clever way to make an important contribution for improving the prototypes, while motivating the audience to become co-researchers and co-designers.

 

Nine Groups Move Their Labs to the Exhibition: Research on First Person

Different research groups from other scientific institutions joined the event. One team from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), the CREAL (Centro de Investigación en Epidemología Ambiental) showed how they are measuring the levels of pollution on Barcelona city, using mobile technologies.

Another topics were: the Gaia satellite and its role in understanding our galaxy; the Actiquim expedition for discovering new species in the Antartic; Simulating extinct species by using computational tools; researching about cancer and other diseases such as Ataxia and Friedreich.

 

More information available at http://www.pcb.ub.edu/homePCB/live/ct/p1826.asp