The BioDynaMo Project

Powerful Tool For Understanding Brain Development


As you read this sentence, millions of neurons in your brain are frantically whispering to each other, resulting in communicating signals in unique ways. Understanding how this transmission occurs is crucial to understanding human brain development. Can modern neuroscience go beyond traditional exploration?


I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Roman Bauer, one of the collaborators on the The BioDynaMo Modeller was very enthusiastic when talking about computer simulations and neuroscience.
Roman Bauer feels that, in order to better understand the dynamics of the human brain we need a platform that encourages a community of users that exchange information. It must incorporate interaction, allow modifications and be extendable where users can easily adapt. Such an approach can be very demanding and his research involves modern computing approaches and IT-related collaboration.
ICT-based research
Along with Roman, working on BioDynaMo Modeller are a consortium of CERN Openlab, Newcastle University, Innopolis University, Kazan Federal University and Intel. CERN Openlab sponsored the Human Development Project to develop the Biology Dynamic Modeller, also known as BioDynaMo. Roman had presented the Human Brain Development in the foundation’s first global Collision Event 69192.7 that took place in Geneva. These Collisions are when scientists and entrepreneur’s join together to co-create realistic solutions for issues effecting humanity.


This will allow people from different backgrounds to learn from one another and exchange information in an open-source user-friendly community on human brain development. A collaborative ICT-based research network to allow global advancement in the field of neuroscience. Roman and his collaborators are preparing to reveal in 2017 the first version of scale software simulation.
Meet Roman Bauer

Roman Bauer is an MRC Skills Development Fellow at Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, England with a research focus on neural development. Roman received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Computational Science and Engineering from ETH Zurich, and a Doctoral Degree on neuronal self-organization.

With a deep desire to want to understand how the human brain develops and configures itself, and why this process sometimes goes wrong he uses computer simulations.

Touching upon the fields of biology, mathematics, physics and computer science to study the development of the human brain. After writing his Matera Examination through the study of the mind-body problem his interest strengthened and gave rise to questions such as whether we might have a soul and what the nature of our personality is. He was on a quest to ask these fundamental questions which created the fuel to start the journey to dig deeper.

He strove to understand not only the body, but the physical world in all its glory. Roman strongly believed that he could create a collaboration that could unlock the most hidden secrets of nature. He knew how brain activities can account for human behaviour ranging from blinking an eye to memorizing a book. His efforts resulted in a project—one that goes far beyond the observable.

Expanding our Understanding

Parts of the brain that were off limits will allow scientists to look inside the brain and monitor specific parts. The ability to see beneath the surface of the brain offers new, powerful ways to study brain function. It will help understand brain disease and disorders. Allowing targeted treatment of Alzheimer and cancer research as it will enable users to predict progression.


One of the first pictures of neuronal growth using BioDynaMO, 
showing two types of neurons.
The aim is to share knowledge, data and build large scale models and explore areas that no one even knew were there and expand our understanding of the most complicated biological structures.

Computers play a significant role in the research of neurological diseases so using computers with biological sciences to solve complex tasks will indeed increase acceleration in this field.

For more information, visit www. biodynamo.web.cern.ch. Or, or watch Roman's recent presentation at the Neuroinformatics Conference on You Tube.

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Maria Simonetti | December 2016

Latest News: Deep Games Workshops 2017

There has been some inquiry about the Deep Games Workshops in connection with the Call for Initiatives to Hack Health and Social Care.  For some clarity to everyone, just a brief status update to where we are in the planning.

Due to official reasons, the Deep Games workshops scheduled to take place in Geneva at CERN, and in Milan are in the process of being rescheduled for the early part of 2017. The dates, time and venues will be advised shortly.


We continue our promise of bridging the gap between mainstream health care and community health care by embracing a collective approach. Just a reminder, if you have a story about receiving or giving care and you think it can be replicated elsewhere, or you have a maker approach in designing DIY health instruments and devices, we want to hear from you. We're always interested in new initiatives. 

For other inquiries about the Call or the workshops, reach us at opencare@scimpulse.org

For updates on The Call  follow us on our social channels or Subscribe to our blog to be updated about what’s coming next.


Feel free to comment, if you have inquiry about the SCimPulse Foundation, its projects and support get in touch with us at foundation@scimpulse.org


Science! The Opera

Art or Science? 

They seem like opposites, one driven by data and the other by emotion. Have we bridged art and science? Both are inquisitive with a fearless approach to the unknown.  

Susanna Wong, External Collaborator at CERN, SIAE Composer and Art Director of POP Science Poetry Production says, Opera needs to be reinvented, because if it does not change, it slowly disappears”.  An opera performance is an extraordinary production using sight, hearing, imagination and sensibility of the audience where all human passions are at work. This art form needs a fresh perspective joining all the components and blending their expressiveness in a effort to understand, or should I say understand better, the world and how it works. 

The multicultural journey

Susanna was born in Ecuador, of Chinese origin, a naturalized Italian citizen, living in Geneva. Susanna’s multi-cultural background and natural passion for communication, music, dance, science and literature paved the way for curiosity. Her journey began in 2006 when she started mixing science and the arts together, developing POP Science poetry, an out-reach program of CERN funded by the European Union. An initiative that brought poets together with physicists to help share their fascination of science through poetry.

This project proved to be a success, which inspired her to think out of bounds. With her passion for the arts, and the intense feeling that the latest discoveries of science are meaningful only if people are aware of them and the research involved. Susanna was challenged, how can she make the connection?

Susanna’s inspiration stems back to her early adult years when she felt inspired by reading about the discoveries that were changing the world. She had a feeling of intrigue that scientists were grasping the change.She recognized it was not easy for scientists and researchers in the past, as they were considered absurd when they first introduced their findings to the world, but later found they changed humanity for the better.

Despite its unquestionable importance, we must recognize that science does not always lend itself to uncomplicated explanation. Facts are questioned, in favour of emotion and gut feeling.  What if we could explain these findings in a way that everyone could understand and at the same time reintroduce an old art form that represents the clearest embodiment of music, orchestration, elaborate performances, and grand stories?

Sounds of science

The OPERA Project - a mix of art and science to create a modern opera and a powerful channel to reflect and tell a story. Susanna’s vision is to realize a creative development with collaboration of artists, authors, musicians, actors, directors and choreographers to produce a production that will make opera come alive again in a most unusual way.
clipartpanda

Her mission is to express the two sides of understanding, one rational, the other emotional. Scientists and their emotions: highs and lows, the elation of making a breakthrough and the misery of not doing so. Modern physics being unfamiliar to most people, will have the platform to share idea through a creative collaboration.

Preserving the Opera

Science applauds the beauty of their concepts and equations. On the other hand, as humans we are intensely visual creatures. It will be extraordinary to use art to translate those concepts and equations into forms that are visual, and that wide audience can admire and enjoy.The production of Opera has diminished, mainly for the appearance of new forms of entertainment.

  “These rarely reflect the new vision of the world”, says Susanna Wong.

Image source Morguefile
Instruments, musicians and vocals together giving strength to the other: a new message, new insight and emotions are appearing. Exactly the same process that occurs during collaboration over scientific research. The Opera project will tell the story of inspired new discoveries and science with a 360 degree view. It will be written together by a global community of scientists, artists and choreographers.

The Opera project will be a collaboration with NASA, LIGO and IdeaSquare, CERN and International Opera Award in Italy. An integration of science, art and education in creative ways providing potential and the much needed framework for new ways of questioning and knowledge creation. 

As of now, this project is in the early stages of development.Subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter or Facebook while science through arts will revive the Opera and its heritage. 

Interested to know more? Or, to help realize this project, contact us at opera@scimpulse.org

echOpen-the hand-held ultrasound

Over the past decade with technological advances in ultrasound allowing what was once a large machine to become essentially a hand-held device. With this convenience, of ultraportable ultrasound scanners came the cost of several thousand euros. In the operating room, surgeons can in real time see inside the human body using advanced imaging techniques, but primary care givers, the healthcare professionals in those remote areas who are on the front lines of diagnosing illnesses, haven't had access to the same technology. How could we use technology to improve health care making it low-cost and affordable?

Smartphone Ultrasound

According to Olivier De Fresnoye, combining the use technology, community and a device that almost everyone has in his/her pocket, they should be able to do just that. Being able to produce a medical image that can then transport to a smartphone or laptop, making it an affordable hand-held echo-stethoscope. It’s a device that every health care provider will want to carry in their pocket - allowing for faster and more accurate diagnosis, which means faster and better medical care. Saving the lives of mothers who die in developing countries during their pregnancies and create more interactions between professionals and patients. Portable ultrasound machines are typically used in situations where the immediate space is limited and mobility is important, or the scanning must be done in the field. Making portability a key issue.

Let’s meet echOpen


Olivier De Fresnoye, Innovator and adviser spent many years working in International and Industrial companies before entering the humanitarian field in Southeast Asia. It was during this time that he acknowledged that with technology and an open community to connect people, most of the tools were already in place to empower healthcare providers. 

The idea started out as a discussion between friends: an engineer, a mathematician, physician and a radiologist. As the discussion started with smartphones it ended in a question: How could we use smartphone technology to improve health care, considering that now almost everyone have one?  This idea emerged as a combination of their passion for open technology and community engagement. Using technologies already in existence, with a bit of modification is economical and perfectly functional to make their idea come true. 

Open source hardware

echOpen is an Open Source and collaborative project led by a core of experts and senior professionals that aims to develop the first Open Source Hardware and low cost ultrasound probe connected to a smartphone or tablet. This initiative is aimed to healthcare professionals in emerging countries as well as in developed countries,
The collaboration of professionals are in an open space with an ecosystem of researchers, community members, professionals in ultrasound technology an, radiologists, echography and medical laboratories. Through collaboration their vision is being realized.

“We strongly believe that Open Source and affordable approach and principles in medical devices are the means by which quality healthcare can be provided to all”, says Olivier De Fresnoye



The echOpen initiative echOpen is supported by the Fondation Pierre Fabre, with the support that the concept could be used in Africa, where doctors lack medical imaging devices. Mr. De Fresnoye and his team is planning to design the first medical prototype by 2017 to launch clinical trials with their medical partners and produce the first product. The widespread innovative use of mobile technologies it’s allowing initiatives like echOpen to improve health and health care delivery.

This could be a game changer.  It’s quick and easy to use. It can expedite diagnosis. With some countries not having access to ultrasound, due to the cost or not being portable enough. This initiative could be putting imaging within the economic reach of healthcare professionals globally. 

Follow the SCimPulse Foundation to share and spread the stories and initiatives of participants in the Call to Hack Open Health Care.  Subscribe and be a member of the SCimPulse Foundation to stay informed of future developments and help pulse humanity forward




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CoreCareCollective-healthcare community

Research shows that being empowered in a debilitating situation has fundamental and beneficial effects on your immune system; enabling one to be more resilient and bounce back from treatments and setbacks better than others facing the same conditions. The initial shock of being diagnosed with Cancer can be mind-numbing. Once a doctor utters the word “cancer,” the rest sounds like a blur. No matter how clearly he or she spells out the truth, the terminology still feels foreign. It’s a language you don’t want to learn. Worried about what happens next or thinking about the impact on your life, along with the many emotions. This is the journey that Denise Sliepen and Carry Hendrix found themselves facing.  

Here is a portion of Denise and Carry’s story: 

“In 2015, we were diagnosed with different types of cancer. Ever since we were diagnosed until the end of our treatment we were more than convinced our body could fight this and we eventually would win the battle. We were a fanatic with sports and always focused on eating healthy. We immediately started to look for information on how to keep our body in the best shape during the chemo. During the first appointments we had at the hospital with a nurse specialized in cancer treatment, we received a lot of information on the treatment itself and its possible side effects. However, there was no information regarding healthy food, which products are best to eat during treatment or information on the possibility to continue exercising.

Our search started by using the internet to look up questions such as: Is it healthy to sport during treatment? What is the best food to eat? Should we be adding supplements to our daily meals? Who can help to keep my body in the best shape?

Through the dietician at the general practitioners office Carry received a list of products, which could effect the treatment and also some products to prevent loosing too much weight. We did not know if we had to expect a weight loss, because that is what we think chemo does to your bodies. We often forget is that we receive a lot of medicines to fight the treatment side effects, which have again their own side effects, such as potentially gaining weight (take for example prednisone, one tends to store a lot of body liquids that could cause weight increase).

The information from the GPs dietician was not sufficient, therefore we asked for the advice of a dietician at the hospital. During the first appointment we asked different kinds of questions, but we were shocked by the answers.”

Do all cancer patients struggle with the information being provided on nutrition and exercise during treatment? They realized healthy eating and nutrition support can improve a patient's quality of life during cancer treatment, but there must be platform to share this information. This was the stepping-stone to their initiative CoreCareCollective.

Let’s meet CoreCareCollective

Carry Hendrix and Denise Sleipen
CoreCareCollective
Being strong willed and wanting to know more about what they could do about changes to their diet and exercise to keep their bodies at the strongest during chemotherapy is one of the many questions they had. They were given information about treatment and possible side effects, but there was no information on healthy food, or which products were the best to eat or how to exercise safely during and after treatment.

How much nutrition advice can a doctor give during an appointment? Chances are, none. Most appointments last less than 15 minutes, which doesn’t leave time for a thorough diet assessment, but that doesn’t mean that physicians shouldn’t broach the subject at all. Where can they get this additional information?

This made them realize, if they have all these questions, there must be others who also want answers.  They searched the internet to find anything that could benefit them and offer support.  What if other people facing the same diagnosis had questions such as: How do I fight lingering fatigue? What should I eat to help prevent a recurrence? Should I Only Eat Organically Grown Foods?

What if we were to share the stories, share what works for them. Everyone impacted by cancer has a unique story and experience to share. From their discussions, their alliance saw the need for a platform that is open and supportive.

Support emotionally and socially

The CoreCareCollective initiative was created by Denise Sliepen and Carry Hendrix to support the emotional and social needs of people living with cancer. This initiative promises to create a professionally led network of cancer support dedicated to ensuring all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. This is a unique collective that brings people together to share their experiences, identify issues that impact their lives, access resources, and learn and support each other. A platform to empower people facing cancer with techniques, tools, tips and shared experiences that will help them in their own healing and move away from being helpless and traditional patients.

Every person who faces cancer has a story. The beating heart of CoreCareCollective is a space where the individual and collective voices impacted by cancer can be heard, shared and to understand the social and emotional needs of patients, families and caregivers throughout the cancer journey. A platform that will honour the individual experience and create a community of understanding that extends to the entire health care delivery system.

Denise and Carry are on a mission to improve how cancer patients receive care and to collaborate as they generate and build a powerful platform to help people engage with their cancer in a positive immune boosting way. It is the hope that every person and family battling cancer will reach out to the many others who want to help and get connected to a community that cares. 

Sharing the stories of the initiatives, each with a promising and innovative approach to reinvent healthcare.











WeHandU - restoration of motor ability

OpenCare consortium initiated a Call in June, 2016 to Hack Open the Care System. OpenCare is the promise of bridging the gap between mainstream health care and community health care to embrace a collective approach. The Call is preparing for OpenCare@CERN, November 7-9th, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. From movements to makers, by communities, for communities. With the closing of the Call approaching, we will be sharing the promising and innovative entries and their collaborators.  Coming from various backgrounds, all participants share the same vision, one size does not fit all when meeting the health care needs of the people.

Millions of people suffer from motor impairment, so why are so few effective devices available? Some inventions never make it to the market and people are offered standard mechanical solutions rather than exploring alternatives, says Rune Thorsen, one of the creators of WeHandU. Rune, together with Alexander Shumsky, decided to explore those alternatives. Instead, of the one size-fits all approach; they ventured into helping people invent their own solutions to improve their health and mobility, while assisting them with knowledge and skills to provide a gateway for reaching their objectives in a scientifically sound way. That is the approach of WeHandU, with advancement in technology, everyday people can produce highly sophisticated devices.

Let’s Meet WeHandU


Rune Thorsen, M.Sc.e.e, Industrial Ph.D. Senior Researcher at Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi ONLUS, Milan, Italy, has been with hospitals and universities in Denmark, Holland and England.
His speciality is rehabilitation engineering with focus on the restoration of motor ability in physically challenged people such as spinal cord injured and stroke victims.
We hope to be able to recruit people to demonstrate the feasibility of a WeHandU initiative. To reach a sustainable level and let the idea spread. Hopefully achieving a culture where people can get direct access to high technology resulting from research and development in various areas related to physical rehabilitation", says Rune Thorsen.


Alexander Shumsky, B.A. Designer at Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi ONLUS with the biomedical technology department is responsible for the development of the ergonomic component of an assistive device for restoring hand function.

Together, a fluent path was formed, driven by coincidences, opportunities and a passion for helping people in an open environment, blending technology with creativity.  This path led to collaborating with Constantino Buongiorno,  Engineer at WeMake. WeHandU, a collaborative space for creation of assistive devices where targeted participants are the centre of open-source projects. A platform where people with motor impairment can meet, collaborate and work together to create solutions contrary to the hospital experience. This model will explore ways to transfer research results directly to the end-user. Ideas will be challenged and transformed into methods and assistive technology for daily living. Most of today’s devices are designed for the typical, able-bodied user; for the most part and left to adapt as best they can.

WeHandU offers an alternative approach tailored to an individual’s needs and can be adjusted to accommodate varying capabilities. People with the same medical diagnosis can have a wide range of motor capabilities. People challenged by Multiple Sclerosis, stroke patients and persons with spinal cord injury will find help collaborating with clinicians as well as people with ‘soft’ skills in the socializing context of a makerspace. Together with physiotherapists, engineers and designers, researchers and healthcare professionals realizing solutions to personal needs in the form of assistive devices will be born. 

Cooperative makerspace

A cooperative makerspace to create devices for use in everyday life, improving or maintaining individual functional capabilities. WeHandU, will address the challenges of mobility and demonstrate how these challenges can be resolved by helping people's creativity in a social environment. Challenges people often meet is the need for adaptation of tools to be able to perform day-to-day task. As abilities change, WeHandU laboratory will be able implement such changes.

With rapid-prototyping tech, 3d printing and a host of other modern technologies allows creative people to create a bridge for effective low-cost collaboration. WeHandU, a community endowed with both care problems and care solutions, equipped with collective smarts and open knowledge, promises to give new hope to paraplegic patients. This maker-lab, with a peer-to peer approach,  will not only represent the research world but also create a user experience, with an open-spirited approach. 


We are starting a series to share and spread the stories and initiatives of participants in the Call. Subscribe and be a member of the SCimPulse Foundation to stay informed of future developments and help pulse humanity forward. 











The Radical Re-design of Business: Are You Ready?


People Powering Digital Innovation

Industries are reforming in creative ways, challenging companies to blend talents, ideas, and technologies in a radical wave of innovation.

Everywhere you look, companies are using and creating a supercharged stream of innovation that is creating opportunities. Thriving in this digital era of promise means increasing the speed of innovation and collaboration. The main energy for this is not some magical technology-it’s talented people.  There is a sense that you prosper only when surrounded by a lot of resources that make it possible to succeed. Think of it as your garden, where you need fertile soil, seeds, and other ingredients to make things grow.


A successful business evolves rapidly. While innovative businesses needs experimenting and collaboration. They must attract resources of all sorts, partners, suppliers and producers of materials and developers to create a cooperative network.  Virtually every business sector is being impacted by digital. Process and experiences are being reshaped by new technologies.  In response to these changes, companies are rethinking how they do business. How can we unlock novel innovation and create resilience in society?


Discover Hephestos

Hephestos, an initiative of Massimo Mercuri and Marco Manca, founders of the SCimPULSE Foundation and CERN collaborators that have participated in the initial stages of this project, and WeMake (MakerSpace), with Massimo leading the co-creations team. Hephestos, a digital fabrication eco-system platform that enables and paves the way for a new radical business model.

Its goal is to set up transparent organisations to share standards and protocols, to connect the dots of design specifications and leverage an existing product management. A platform that will bring the same transformation that World Wide Web brought to our everyday life. Hephestos enables a pervasive and widespread fabrication system that will impulse employability and share resources.

“We believe the experience of this organization with previous consortiums like the World Wide Web Consortium have great value to assure the impact this initiative and increase the odds of transcendental benefits for humanity, says Massimo Mercuri”


Hephestos suggests that a company be viewed not as a member of a single industry but as part of a collaboration platform that crosses a variety of industries. Companies can co-evolve capabilities around new innovations: They work cooperatively and competitively to support new products, re-create new devices, meeting needs, and eventually incorporate the next round of innovations.

“Talent Clusters”
  Drives innovation

The digital era will rely on machines, but winning will require — perhaps more than ever — talent pools that can thrive in an increasingly digitized economy. Navigating this shift will be one of the defining moments. It’s time to get serious about how our organization’s most important asset- its people-will work in this exciting digital age. 

Digital businesses recognize that they need platforms and the entrepreneurial talent pool around them as engines for continuous information exchange, insight generation and value creation.  

Advantages for an Entrepreneur

For an entrepreneur who chooses to build a business in a digital ecosystem, participation can offer significant advantages, i.e. market entry costs reduced, access to customers and location independent, and that is just the beginning. An increase in income than they might not have had as independents due to lack of reach or community. It will allow scarce skills to be abundant, digital eco system can harness experts and aspiring professionals for a wide variety of products and services. 

Hephestos, a digital collaborative platform will help redefine organizations and widen its value to member companies; communities make the digital ecosystem model well suited for entrepreneurial journey. Hephestos shows opportunities for leaders in business, craftsman and other creators that will influence organizations’ strategies and operations for years to come.  

Accelerate Learning

The craftsman’s critical eye and creative mind is vital to evaluating new possibilities to make things that enable humanity to flourish in these challenging times. But this requires us to think and act as craftsmen and apply our to understanding our non-linear world, which is in part shaped by open, complex and seemingly vague systems that are highly interdependent of each other.

For expression of interest or collaboration on Hephestos, “the make or build database” come visit our website www.hephestos.io or send a message to hephestos@scimpulse.org

Please don’t hesitate to comment, ask questions, and leave feed-back. Subscribe to our blog, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.







Preventing Overweight and Obesity: Explore the Environment

It’s not news that obesity among children is widespread and continues to be a leading health concern in the United States, and the same is happening in many countries around the world. What may come as a bit of a surprise is that it's even happening in Mediterranean countries, especially among children.

Italy famed for its healthy lifestyle and Mediterranean diet, is the second highest next to Greece tackling weight issues and obesity in children. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), warned that the rate of overweight children could be a key issue for Italy in the coming years.

New Initiative for Childhood Obesity in Italy

While the rest of the world is encouraged to copy the traditional Italian menu by swapping junk food for fruit and vegetables, it seems Italians are forgetting the lessons they taught everyone else. Are traditional home-made meals and snacks losing out to low-cost, calorie-packed fast food, coupled with less physical activity?  Healthy food is easily available in Italy and the opportunities for physical activity are ample. Why are the figures for obesity so high?

Dr.Annamaria Acquaviva, nutritionist, dietician, mother and co-creator of the BATMAN initiative is on a mission. The BATMAN project, a study carried out with the support of the IORInstitute of Oncology of Romagna, the National Association of Dietitians and in collaboration with the ScimPulse FoundationThe project aims to help families of children with overweight and obesity through a nutritional path that conveys the knowledge of proper nutrition useful to the child; at the same time identifying the obstacles and difficulties faced by families with children 3-10 years in achieving a healthy way of life. 



Insight Into Preventive Strategies

Despite many health interventions, in Italy 21% of the children are overweight with 10% categorized as obese. These numbers are alarming which complelled Dr. Acquaviva to delve further. Children diagnosed with illnesses that were associated with the elderly, she knew something had to be done. “Unfortunately many times the interventions of nutrition education and health promotion are not sufficient to implement lasting change in lifestyle. The goal is to provide tools for parents to foster the child's health, keeping in mind the adult's point of view, which provides us with valuable information to overcome the possible critical interventions and propose actions really useful and practical “says Dr. Annamaria Acquaviva, dietitian and pharmacist in charge of the project".



Healthy Lifestyle

Dr. Acquaviva, together with her passion for tasty cooking and a healthy lifestyle believes the two can work together. Annamaria started her journey as chemist, but it was prevention instead of cure that intrigued her.  It’s no secret that prevention is a big buzzword in healthcare, or that a healthy diet is a cornerstone of preventative care. With obesity on the rise and more people concerned with the link between diet and overall quality of life, this initiative is welcomed.

Nutrition-the science of food  

Long-term, healthy behaviour changes are most successful when the entire family gets involved. Weight is a common topic at dinner tables, whether revealing itself in open discussion or unspoken actions. It’s an intricate subject every family deals with differently, some through restriction or portion control practices and others not at all. Dr. Acquaviva’s initiative promises distinct set of essential insight, expertise and skills needed to inform, inspire, and ultimately reshape Italy’s appetite. An approach to develop strategies for the prevention of excess weight gain targeting the factors contributing to obesity is the first step in combating the problem. The key to changing health behaviours, explore the environment that gives to them. 

If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on the ScimPulse Foundation blog, head over to our Facebook page, or message us in Twitter. 


Putting Shared Value Into Practice

In the non-profit sector, social responsibility takes many forms. Transparency in social impact, ethics and communication are key to making a non-profit organization and its projects successful. Building an organization committed to the highest ethical standards demands more than just following the law, it requires fostering practices that create an environment of transparency, accountability and integrity.

Mara Manca, humanist at heart, a fellow at the Scimpulse Foundation and researcher on the OpenCare project achieves that with a practical approach. She implements processes to create an atmosphere that is transparent, interactive and creates it in terms that everyone could relate to in their everyday lives. She makes it easy for everyone to see the vision of the project and what they hope to gain, and the risks involved.

Transparency and accountability

OpenCare is constantly working to ensure ethics and transparency. The challenge, is to keep it as simple and understandable as possible, while maintaining a legal standpoint. The solution is not obvious, it’s complicated by the changing landscape. Mara tackles the challenge with a transparent approach that is beneficial to the project.

Mara came in contact with OpenCare through conversations with Marco Manca, Chairman of the Scimpulse Foundation, during a group discussion. At that point, her natural inquisitive nature was tempted, she was driven to know more. She was excited by the challenges and naturally her interest grew and she engaged in deeper conversations about the goals and mission of the project.

Mara was inspired by the thought of contributing to a social evolution with its out-of-the-box radical thinking. It was an amazing opportunity to help put a dent in humanity and contribute tangible efforts. Through her constant engaging conversations she decided to join the team at the Scimpulse Foundation.

Mara was becoming part of this idea of bringing forward innovation that makes sense to the community. Imagine a new form of care with the same communities that are struggling to do so every day.   
This was a chance to wrap her mind around challenges she may have never experienced as she tries to out-smart the giants that have created the current model of care. OpenCare is an opportunity to make this process visible in medical innovation while every government in the EU is struggling with care demands.  Since working with OpenCare, Mara is seriously reflecting on the nature of mankind. Now she looks beyond health, care and disease and past the superficial beaucratic layer and discovers there is the possibility to do more.

“It is a fragile strategy to decide to ignore what happens to those in need when the need seems far away, Mara Manca.”

Mara experiences frustrations in her work, but the frustration is there because she believes the project can achieve its goals, change and improve the approach to a problem. She works with like-minded people that share the same value and mind-set and with that combination anything is possible.Opencare - not just another funded EU project, its innovations is based on everyone contributing to its mission and sharing its future developments. Currently, Mara is mapping the norms on value sharing and the value chain of the Open Care community.

Want to learn more about the OpenCare project? Join the community for the latest thinking and shared value updates. Follow OpenCare on Twitter!

Maria Habets | May 2016

Irene is helping the Blind See with Sound



A new initiative promises help for blind and visually impaired gain more mobility, independence and confidence.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are a quarter billion people in the world with vision impairment. Of those, more than 80 million are completely blind. That is twice the population of Canada.

Developing a technology that could sense and reconstruct reality for blind people can be one approach. But, a technology that enables blind and vision impaired to mediate their perception of their environment and interact with their surroundings is actually empowering then to be independent from aid devices.

Many blind and partially sighted people of all ages are unable to lead independent lives because they are not getting the support they need. The needs of people who lose their sight are many and varied and the support provided must be personalized if it is to meet individual needs. Teaching the blind to see with hearing using echolocation would be a way to make the largest impact, beyond the use of sight.  The benefits of acquiring this skill changes the way you interact with your surroundings on a daily basis. It decreases limitations and opens the door to new opportunities.

The Journey begins

Irene Lanza, Management Engineer, CEO of SoundSight Training, knows it’s possible. Irene came in contact with the Scimpulse Foundation while participating in the Challenge Based Innovation program of IdeaSquare at CERN in Geneva. The challenge was to design something that enabled blind people to perceive the surrounding environment. It was then the idea was planted.  Many opted for a mobile device approach, something else called the attention of Irene. Teaching the blind to echolocate themselves?

Through this experience, Irene had the opportunity to interact with the visually impaired. Through working with mothers of blind children and getting to hear their stories, setbacks and concerns the more Irene wanted to do something to support and empower them. Guidance of blind and visually impaired people is a clear unmet need. However, most blind and visually impaired people want to go out and enjoy independent mobility.

The environment in which we live is becoming increasingly complex. Even a journey across a city  requires a range of skills including being able to avoid obstacles on the pavement, to walk in the right direction, play a sport and the list goes on. These tasks may seem trivial, but for someone with a vision impairment, this is a challenge and a skill that needs to be learned. SoundSight enables the development of a hearing talent that compensates for the missing eyesight.

See With Sound

SoundSight Training was developed to enable the blind to see with sound. Together, with Henrik Kjeldsen and Dr. Marco Manca the first prototype of an echolocation training system, was created.

It’s a virtual reality environment based on audio. The training is completed with practice in the real world until the student becomes fully independent from the simulation. Further explanation of how can be found here. SoundSight attracted the attention of the Italian government and a number of organisations and advocates that offered its support.  Among them were, Cecilia Camellini, Champion Paralympic Swimmer. When asked what she thought of SoundSight, “with training and effort athletes can improve performance.” 

Experience the world more independently

SoundSight Training is a spinoff of the Let Me See Project, the first from the ScimPulse Foundation  I.M.mortal research program. It was a 3 year journey that started from a workshop and now partners with governmental organizations to impulse the idea forward beyond the prototype stage. Now it has its own heartbeat. SoundSight Training designed to helping people explore the world more independently.

“This software has the potential to enrich the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired. Everyone can learn this skill, it’s accessible to everyone and when we design for greater accessibility, everyone benefits.” says Irene Lanza.   

Improving performance, challenging yourself, to overcome limitations, all of this effects humanity’s growth, expansion and well-being. The challenges for the visually impaired are enormous, so immense are the ramifications for those now living without sight, and so exciting is the initiative on the horizon.

For more information about SoundSight initiative, please visit www.soundsight.ch











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