An unfamiliar city, a difficult language, reserved people and an outdoor temperature of minus 11 degrees: “Starting out in Münster was hard for me,” recollected Gabriel de Mattos Strada, who is used to sunshine and openness in his home country of Brazil. And yet after six months of practical research training in our Software Engineering Lab, the student was sad to leave.
Drawing, printing, measuring – and of course testing while jogging (top photo): many tests were needed before Gabriel had found the perfect design for the sensors. (Photograph: Jens Peters)

The 20-year-old already knew a few words of German before coming to Münster – he comes from a region of southern Brazil that was popular with German emigrants in the 19th century. An intensive language course in Münster enabled him to expand his vocabulary considerably: “I really want to be able to speak good German – after all, it has the reputation around the world of being the ‘language of engineers’,” explained Gabriel. This is why he was thrilled when Professor Dr. Reinhart Job, who was visiting Brazil at the time, suggested in 2017 that he do practical training at our higher education institution.

Gabriel is studying Biomedical Engineering, and therefore fits well into Professor Dr. Gernot Bauer’s interdisciplinary research group. This team conducts research on the interaction between runners and digital devices such as smartwatches in the Software Engineering Lab. Gabriel primarily supported the PhD student Matthias Seuter with his biomedical expertise. “The aim was to develop sensors that are attached to various places on the arms and legs, and that transfer movement data to the smartwatch. I had to find out which points on the body are suitable for this and which material causes least discomfort for the athlete.” Gabriel had to make countless drawings on paper and on the computer, as well as numerous moulds from the 3D printer, before he was able to create the perfect silicone prototype. “To test the sensors, I attached them to my body and jogged along the corridor and the harbour,” related Gabriel, laughing.

Drawing, printing, measuring – and of course testing while jogging (top photo): many tests were needed before Gabriel had found the perfect design for the sensors. (Photograph: Jens Peters)
Drawing, printing, measuring – and of course testing while jogging (top photo): many tests were needed before Gabriel had found the perfect design for the sensors.
Gabriel liked working in the interdisciplinary team and was impressed by the lab’s equipment, including the 3D printer. (Photograph: Victoria Liesche)
Gabriel liked working in the interdisciplinary team and was impressed by the lab’s equipment, including the 3D printer.

Things also went well for him outside work – many other international students were also staying in his hall of residence, and the activities organised by our International Office meant that he got to know lots of people quickly. “There was always someone who I could do things with, including many trips.” The highlight was four days in Iceland: “My dream destination! Iceland’s landscape is simply incredible, like in a fairy tale,” Gabriel enthused.

The Medical Technology student enjoyed delving deep into the research topic. (Photograph: Victoria Liesche)
The Medical Technology student enjoyed delving deep into the research topic.

And as the temperature rose in Münster, the more he was impressed by the city: “It was wonderful to see how the Germans enjoy summer outdoors! During the recent hot spell, I went swimming in the canal or enjoyed barbecues at the Aasee lake every day after work. In Brazil, many people are holed up indoors, where it’s air conditioned!”

By Victoria Liesche


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