Creating and sharing knowledge for telecommunications

Toca-A-Ler: a tool to evaluate children´s reading ability online

on 05-06-2018

... In 2016 a research team from IT, in collaboration with the University of Coimbra and Microsoft, developed a technology capable of evaluating in real time the reading ability of elementary school students from the 1st grade. Now, teachers and educators can already access this teaching tool through the webpage “Toca-A-Ler” to evaluate their students' reading performance online ( “The Teacher can access his class's performance, allowing him to better manage the school year expectations, identify difficulties and correcting discrepancies between students”, says Fernando Perdigão, researcher of IT in Coimbra and the project coordinator.

This assisted learning technology is based on intelligent models of recognition and processing of children speech with neural networks. “It detects and quantifies the number of correct words, pronunciation, hesitations, speed reading, and other indicators, automatically calculating a global index of the student´s reading ability "explains Fernando Perdigão. The technology can also be used as a teaching tool or to detect problems such as dyslexia.

To develop this intelligent system, researchers recorded about 300 readings from children in elementary schools. The texts that were given to the students were composed of phrases and pseudowords - words that do not exist in the lexicon but are important to assess whether a student really knows how to apply the Alphabetical code rules when reading. In a second stage, in order to validate the system, more than 100 first grade teachers from all over the country were asked to evaluate the children´s performance.

IT joined the Técnico community on a journey through time

on 31-05-2018

... As it happens in every year, the 23rd of May is synonym with the Day of Técnico. Integrated within the celebration of the 107th anniversary of the Instituto Superior Técnico and its history, the event Keep in Touch 2018 gathered once again the Técnico community. Students, Professors, researchers, other members of the IST staff, employees of the companies of the IST SPIN-OFF Community and all the partner companies of the IST, as well as family and friends, were all invited to embark on a journey through time.

From the Leyden jar – the ancestor of the condenser, to computers used in the 70´s or the antennas of the first 4G prototype that were developed by IT in the early 90´s, these were just a few examples of what was in display at the Faraday Museum, testimonies of the many technological achievements of the past.

At the same time, the technology showcased by the departments of IST allowed the visitants to get excited about what´s ahead. At the IT stand there were some examples that showed how we can benefit from the growing interconnectedness between information and communication technologies (ICT´s) and health. Technologies such as a medical imaging application that uses Microwaves for mass population screening, or a complementary technology for PCG and ECG signal acquisition and processing. And with personalization becoming an evermore present concept in healthcare, there was also on display a novel data acquisition system that allows monitoring patients inside and outside of hospital environment for long periods of time. Always a big crowd-pleaser, the IT Multimedia Signal Processing group provided everyone how visited the IT stand the opportunity to engage in an immersive experience with a VR Demo. And of course, a visit to the ISTsat-1 demonstrator was also mandatory for a chance to know more about the first Cubesat developed by students with the support of professors and radio amateurs at the IST. Set to be launched in 2019, this CubeSat will be the first satellite fully developed by a Portuguese University.