15. October 2019.

First cycle of Smart STEM workshops organized by NANORI Center

The “Smart STEM workshops” organised by the NANORI centre, are part of the European Capital of Culture Rijeka 2020 project within its flagship initiative “27 Neighbourhoods – The Campus Neighbourhood”. The first cycle of the “Smart STEM workshops” was held on June 12th, 2019 in the building of the University of Rijeka departments on the Trsat campus. The aim of the workshops is to offer to the children of preschool and school age, as well as to the wider public, means to get acquainted with STEM technologies on a real mechatronics device – a STEMI robot, to offer them the possibility to widen their knowledge on the scientific method, on laboratory work and on the importance of science for the personal development and the active democratic civil society, but also to offer an opportunity to familiarise with the university campus and the University in general. Popular scientific lectures were thus held, covering the topics on smart technological solutions, the use of light in biomedicine and therapy, on immunology and on the role of STEM in democratic society. All involved scientists have several years of experience in scientific and teaching work and the popularization of science, and they have thus presented in a fashionable way the following topics:

  • basis of micro- and nanotechnologies (Prof. Saša Zelenika, D. Sc.)
  • basis of photodynamic therapy – the medical treatment by using forms of light (Assist. Prof. Nela Malatesti, D. Sc.)
  • the immune system and the fight of this system with bacteria, viruses and parasites as well as the benefits of the vaccines (Assist. Prof. Ivana Munitić, D. Sc.)
  • the philosophy of the mind (can robots have a mind?) as well as the terms of authority and the questioning of the authority (Assoc. Prof. Luca Malatesti., Ph. D.)

After the presentations, the visitors had the opportunity to participate in an online quiz (by entering on the spot their responses via their mobile phones) and immediately check what they had learned/remembered! In this way, the professors had an insight into who of the participants has put into the exercise the most effort, and thus became a candidate for the prize: the STEMI robot.

In the practical part of the activities, the attendees had occasion to visit the Laboratory for Precision Engineering and the Micro- and Nanosystems’ Technologies where Saša Zelenika and Ervin Kamenar explained how an atomic force microscope, 3D printing and 3D scanning work, how to measure by lasers and what exactly are the devices aimed at energy harvesting. Marin Trošelj, one of the founders of the STEMI company, has taught the attendees how to control the STEMI robot via a smartphone app! Ivana Munitić with her associates introduced the participants of the workshop with the parts of the human body and their function, as well as with the immune cells and how they operate.

The second of the planned four cycles of the “Smart STEM workshops” is expected in September 2019, and the most active participant will finally be awarded in March 2020 with the foreseen prize – the STEMI hexsapod robot!