Have you ever imagined a football game played by robots? Well what may seem like a science fiction movie scene may soon be seen in the electronic games houses in the country.
The small technology based company Scientists Associated Technological Development (Cientistas Associados Desenvolvimento Tecnológico) should launch, in the beginning of 2006, the first units of the product ‘Sci-Soccer’ or simply, ‘Robot Football’.
From the Incubator center for Technology Companies (Cinet) of São Carlos, city in the interior of the Brazilian southeastern state of São Paulo, Scientists Associated is made up by young doctorates – the majority in their 30s and with strong knowledge in the computational mathematics and computer science.
Everything started when two of them decided to invest in theoretical knowledge as a competitive differential in the world of business.
The project of the game ‘Robot Football’ will be the first of four that are being developed by the company to reach the market. Since November 2003, the company is dedicated to study the development of a software and base platform constituted of an autonomous mobile robot which can be moved by a radio-modem.
The launching of the product came closer after Scientists Associated received a new financial contribution of US$ 419,200 from the State of São Paulo Research Foundation (Fapesp), from the Technological Innovation in the Small Company Programme (Pipe).
The resources will be employed in four projects developed by the company: Integrated Robotics System for the Areas of Education, Research and Entertainment – whose first product is the ‘Robot Football’; Computing System for Loss Reduction in Energy Distribution Networks with Virtual Reality Interface; Intelligent System for the development of antibodies based in the antigen structure; and Fluorescence Detection Systems for DNA Analysis.
Since May 2003 at the Cinet in São Carlos, managed by the Parqtec (Technological Parks Program), the Scientists Associated have gone through a good period adapting to the business world.
According to the general manager at Scientists Associated, Antônio Valério Netto, the company was born to unite academic research and business, but came across difficulties in the beginning of their activities, indeed due to the lack of the business touch by the majority of the scientists.
“To overcome this initial barrier it was fundamental to be in the incubator, which is the setting that allows you to try and even to make mistakes,” he says.
He recalls that one of the main challenges in the company was people management, since part of the technical body started acting at Scientists Associated with the entrepreneurial vision.
The ‘Robot Football’ and the other three projects that are being carried out by the company, explains Antônio Valério, already are the result of the experience acquired in the incubator. This is because, before investing in the project, Scientists Associated made market studies to identify the viability of each one of them.
“We formed a commercial intelligence group to identify some products that still don’t exist in the market or that aren’t being made by the big companies, since there is no sense in competing with the great corporations,” he says.
The Incubator center for Technology Companies of São Carlos was the first companies incubator founded in the country. It started its activities in January 1985, a few days after the Parqtec started operating.
The Parqtec is a pioneer project motivating the formation of technology-based incubators in Brazil. Since then, the organization graduated 62 companies in to the market.
Today, the Cinet, which has support from the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae), has another 14 technology based companies. According to the incubator’s manager, Luís Antônio Pereira, by finishing the new technological park, the incubator will have the capacity to meet another 56 projects.
Agência Sebrae, Anba