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Three tech projects, linked to the health and livestock sectors, awarded funding from the Government of Catalonia

  Foto:  Unsplash/NordWood Themes

Foto: Unsplash/NordWood Themes

The projects receiving support from the Knowledge Industry programme include apps to measure the shape of the cornea and fight chronic pain and a platform to optimize livestock feeding

A technology replacement app for ophthalmology, two apps for treating chronic back pain, and a technology for optimizing livestock nutrition. The Government of Catalonia has approved funding for these three UOC projects from the Knowledge Industry programme, in its "Llavor" ("seed", in English) category. This programme has been created to support ideas that are at an early stage of technological maturity.


An app for measuring the shape of the cornea

In ophthalmology, the corneal surface is usually measured with a corneal topographer. This device projects concentric rings onto the cornea and records the reflection obtained with a digital camera. It then calculates the cornea's shape when processing the image. MoCoTo – Mobile Corneal Topographer – is a project led by David Merino, a researcher at the Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications, and David Gañán, from the  SmartLearn research group. Using a mobile phone as a corneal topographer, an app has been developed that records the reflection of a pattern on the cornea, enabling its shape to be calculated. "The technology reduces the cost involved in buying a corneal topographer, thereby optimizing treatments, and offers greater convenience to patients and sight professionals", Merino explained.


Apps that make pain easier to bear

"Chronic pain is a very common health problem, and particularly affects the lower back and the neck. Psychosocial interventions are very effective for this type of ailment but they are not always accessible", explained Beatriz Sora, a researcher from the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences and the  eHealth Lab group. The Government of Catalonia has funded development of two apps, promoted by the team coordinated by Sora, as a low-cost solution compared with face-to-face interventions and which can be applied in real time, when the pain appears. Positive Thinking App is a platform that helps patients identify negative thoughts using interactive tags, "challenging questions" and rewards to reformulate thoughts in a more positive direction. The second app, Distract App, uses distraction techniques to reduce the sensation of pain. It consists of a series of customizable activities that draw from different audio, video and text resources to help patients take their attention off their pain.

Beatriz Sora is accompanied in this project by Jordi Conesa and David Gañán from  SmartLearn at the Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications; Rubén Nieto and Gemma Ruiz from the eHealth Lab research group at the Faculty of Health Sciences; Antoni Pérez-Navarro from the Internet Computing & Systems Optimization (ICSO) research group at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3); and Francesc Saigí from the Interdisciplinary Research on ICT (I2TIC) group at the Faculty of Health Sciences.


Optimizing animal nutrition on livestock farms

"Optimizing farm animal feeding systems can save an average of 22 days of work", said the researchers from the UOC's ICSO group. To do this, the team led by Ángel A. Juan, the group's principal investigator, is promoting IOFeed, an industrial platform for smart livestock nutrition. This project is being carried out with the Batallé group, specialized in swine production in Catalonia, and the technology firm INSYLO, specialized in farm management.

The goal is to provide a solution for lengthy silo inspections, inaccurate order calculations, high transport costs and large-scale feed waste. The system consists of four steps: real-time control and access to silo inventory, using smartphones or any connected device; automatic order filling so that farmers can request restocking from feed suppliers for immediately replenishment; feed production planning, using historic data, animal husbandry plans and current stock levels to predict the quantity of feed that will be consumed at the farms; and optimization of inventory and delivery costs, enabling feed suppliers to determine optimal stock levels at the farms and the correct delivery times and sequences.

Theses projects have been co-funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).