During March and April, PLUX received its first ESR under the scope of the Eternity Project, ESR8 Nathalia Batista. Given the nature of PLUX’s devices, this secondment was intended to develop electromagnetic compatibility experiments with electronic devices used for acquiring biological signals from the human body. The purpose was to gather information on how these devices would behave when complex signals, such as multitone and digitally modulated signals are an interference source. As a result, to acquire valuable knowledge to define new EMC immunity test methods in SME’s, Nathalia worked with PLUX’s ESR Tiago Nunes under the supervision of Professors Hugo Gamboa and Hugo Silva.
In the very early days, we had a meeting to discuss the research development purpose, the initial steps and possible challenges that we would encounter to start with the experiments. The ETERNITY research team from UPC (University Polytechnic of Catalonia) also participated in the internal meetings to discuss the secondment achievements and plans.
As PLUX is not an EMC facility, the first step was to find a way to protect the testing environment against external interferences, for instance, 50 Hz interference. For that reason, we had to develop a test bench that would enable us to carry out the experiments with no influence from unwanted signals. The EUT (Equipment Under Test) for the EMC was the BITalino (r)evolution Board which is a product developed by PLUX. It consists in an electronic board used to acquire biosignals with different sensors, such as Electromyography (EMG), Electrocardiography (ECG), Electrodermal Activity (EDA), Electroencephalography (EEG), Accelerometer (ACC) & Light (LUX).
Referring to the EMC testing and seeking the objectives of the research, different interference signals were generated to test the BITalino response to the selection of disturbances. Interference signals such as multi tone with RFID, Power Line, Lamps, LEDs, Square Wave and Sawtooth waves from Fourier series. Additionally, some digitally modulated signals were also tested, such as QAM and QPSK. The results of the experiments performed during the secondment and afterwards are expected to be published soon.
Tiago: After these two months, how do you look back on the time you spent here with us?
Nathalia: Besides the research development, the experience of spending two months at PLUX was definitely fruitful and insightful. The day to day work, the contact with other researchers and employees helped me to learn different skills and stay focused on the objectives and motivated to achieve the goals.
Tiago: Coming from UPC to PLUX, you were led to work in the environment of a SME. Would you say this experience gave you skills that complemented the ones you’ve acquired in Barcelona?
Nathalia: For sure! I learned a lot about electronics! At UPC, we work on testing the electronics that are already designed. At PLUX, I could understand how to build an electronic device from the first phase of PCB designing and to weld each component. It was a very challenging and interesting task!
Tiago: What would you say the biggest challenge was? The research activities we carried out during this time or the cake challenge you had to overcome right on the first week?
Nathalia: Aside from the daily tasks, in the first week, I was challenged to prepare a cake to share with all colleagues. The challenge was to prepare a cake with a true Brazilian recipe! And, of course, I accepted the challenge and shared a cake of ‘Fubá com Goiabada’ with all the colleagues.
Tiago: I know you have been in Lisbon before but not for this long. How was your experience living in Portugal for two months and in Lisbon specifically?
Nathalia: Living in Lisbon reminded me of some places and food in Brazil. I also met friends from Brazil that was living in Portugal. Since it was so long time that I was living in Spain, the period in Portugal warmed my heart since I could find many things similar to my home country. Finally, I loved to have this experience and this opportunity. I’m so glad and thankful for having shared this time with the PLUX team and to have learned so many things with these awesome people.