Thursday, July 31, 2008
“Straight from the mouths of babes”
An original member of Ocean’s Eleven, João was forced to abandon the gang when told he had to lose the headlamp
When asked what his dad does for a living, 5 yr. old André Serpa beams proudly and answers “Daddy does magic!” 34 yr. old, YDreams Project Manager João Serpa laughs as he recalls his son’s reaction to watching him set up some of the cool apps, which João personally had a hand in developing, for the Braganza Science Center.
Before coming on board in January 2005, João and YDreams went back a long way. He first met company CEO, and co-founder António Câmara while getting his undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering at the New Lisbon University. “Prof. Câmara encouraged most of his students to take part in GASA, a research group he helped found in the early 90’s”, recalls João, “I joined GASA in ’95. The place was a little “geeky”, slightly anarchic, and given it was the mid-90’s, had an almost primitive access to the Internet, but it was an exciting place to be, and perfect for working on my mathematical modelling and delving into the brave new world of physical interfaces”.
In the meantime, João left GASA to pursue other projects, but late in 1999, Prof. Câmara encouraged him to apply for scientific research projects. He received funding, returned to GASA and embarked on research for EU projects and his PhD thesis in numerical modelling and tangible interfaces applied to environmental simulation.
Between 2001 and 2005, João lent a helping hand by collaborating with YDreams on proposals, brainstorming sessions, and programming for interactive installations that led to the Virtual Sightseeing scenic viewer and I-Garment. Taking on the role of Project Manager at YDreams seemed like a natural progression in his career given his history. But that wasn’t the only reason; turns out João loves working with people, as much as he enjoys ubiquitous computing and interactive interfaces, so Project Management seemed like the natural course.
As far as free time goes, João can be found ‘tinkering’ with the project he is most proud of: his son André. He also makes time for reading, music, sports and loves partying hard and travelling to off the beaten path locations!
We say, do as the kid says, and “keep making magic”.